Airbus sales top £16bn in two days at Paris Air Show

June 22, 2011

European planemaker Airbus has outsold American rival Boeing by a large margin in the first two days of the Paris Air Show, notching up orders worth around £16bn ($26bn), mainly of its revamped single-aisle A320neo whose new engines will deliver fuel savings of 15%.

The tally of single aisle A320neo airliners sold yesterday by the European planemaker, which has a workforce of 4,000 at Filton, included 50 to leasing company CIT Aerospace ($4.6bn), 40 America's JetBlue Airways ($3.4bn), 25 to Garuda of Indonesia ($2.1bn) and six to Taiwan's TransAsia Airways worth $600m.
Today's sales news is expected to be dominated by a record $16bn deal to sell a further 150 A320neos and 30 of the existing A320s to Indian airline IndiGo. This could still be eclipsed later in the week by a 200-plane order from Malaysia's AirAsia.
Meanwhile Boeing is coming under pressure from its customers to decide whether to put new engines on its rival 737 or go for an all-new design. Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary, one of the 737's biggest customers, yesterday called for a quick decision – urging Boeing to go for the new design rather than just another revamp.
Hedging his bets, however, Mr O'Leary has signed a co-operation agreement with Chinese planemaker Comac. to advise on the development of a 200-seat version of its new C919 aircraft, a 147-seat passenger jet which is due to enter into service with Chinese airlines in 2016. 
The first air show sale of the giant $375m Airbus A380 is expected today, according to remarks made by Louis Gallois, chief executive of Airbus parent company EADS. Meanwhile Boeing announced an order from Norwegian Air for 15 of its 737-800 medium-haul airliners worth around $1.2bn.
Elsewhere, it is reported that Rolls-Royce has signed a deal to become the exclusive engine supplier to the new A350XWB.  The airliner is currently under development but plans to use the same Rolls-Royce Trent engine for all three versions have proved to be impractical for the largest 1000 series of the airliner.
It is thought the engine redesign will cost R-R £500m – and yesterday's exclusivity deal will allow the British company to recoup costs more quickly.
Airbus, which has a workforce of 4,000 at Filton, is delaying the launch of the 1000 series by 18 months to allow the changes, meaning the A350-1000 will not come into service until 2017.
The Financial Times says that being the exclusive provider of engines for all three types of the A350 series will make Rolls a key part of the Airbus strategy to compete with Boeing's 777 and 787 Dreamliner.
The FT also reports that more than 500 orders have now been placed for different versions of the A350, and industry watchers reckon the total could reach 1,000. “A thousand airplanes is 2,000 engines, and at $25m an engine, it won’t take long to amortise [the costs of the redesign],” said Alec Quaite, managing director of the Swiss-based aerospace consultancy Quotec.
Despite the three-year delay in launching Boeing's rival 787 Dreamliner because of hi-tech construction problems, Airbus continues to insist that it is  determined to meet its A350 schedule by starting final assembly of the first new generation aircraft “at the end of this year.
Other sales news from Boeing on Tuesday included an order from Russian airline Aeroflot for eight 777-300ER jets worth $2.3bn.
Korean Airlines committed to 30 Canadian Bombardier CS300 aircraft, of which 10 were firm orders, worth a total of almost $2bn. VistaJet of Switzerland also placed an order for 10 Bombardier Global 8000 jets worth around $650m.

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