Airbus Group extended its lead over Boeing on the second day of the Farnborough Air Show by pulling in a record deal for single-aisle jets and bolstering sales of its new wide-body A330neo.
AirAsia ordered $13.8 billion of A330neos Tuesday, earning a kiss for chief executive officer Tony Fernandes from Fabrice Bregier, who runs Airbus’ jetliner unit. SMBC Aviation Capital took $11.8 billion of planes and two other lessors signed deals valued at $8.8 billion. Boeing’s accords from two customers at the event near London came in at $5.8 billion.
Airbus’s fast start at the aviation industry’s largest expo offered welcome news to a company where cancellations cut first-half net orders to only 290 aircraft, trailing Boeing’s 499. The A330neo debuted Monday, as Airbus ended months of speculation on whether it would put new engines on the current A330.
“Boeing had seemed to be the one with momentum and Airbus wanted to reverse that impression at the air show,” said Nick Cunningham, managing partner at Agency Partners in London. “Getting the A330neo launched looks and feels better.”
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Airbus’ haul Tuesday built on $21 billion in orders and sales agreements announced yesterday, almost triple the tally for Chicago-based Boeing, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Industries.
The air show, which alternates annually between Paris and Farnborough, spotlights the jockeying for global sales supremacy by Boeing, the current leader, and Toulouse, France-based Airbus. The event draws manufacturers, airlines, lessors, suppliers and inventors for a flurry of meetings and dealmaking.
“Airbus has a fondness for air-show fireworks,” Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with Fairfax, Virginia-based Teal Group, said in a phone interview.
As AirAsia became the first airline buyer for the A330neo, Bregier grabbed Fernandes and bussed him on the cheek. The passion on display at the press conference then flowed from Fernandes to John Leahy, Airbus’ sales chief, who found himself on the receiving end of another smooch.
Boeing’s opening-day order book included five sales of its single-aisle 737 Max and six orders for the 787-9 Dreamliner, the newest version of the carbon-fiber plane, to Avolon. The Bloomberg Industries tally for Boeing and Airbus included orders and options.
According to the people familiar with Boeing’s order discussions, BOC Aviation Pte is set to commit to at least 50 of the Max jets. The people asked not to be identified because the details are private. BOC Aviation also said Tuesday it would buy 43 A320-type jets from Airbus valued at $4.1 bilion.
Jet buyers typically negotiate discounted rates, so list-price aircraft valuations don’t translate directly into revenue. Planemakers also draw a distinction between firm orders, such as Air Lease’s agreement yesterday for A321neos, and commitments, such as the planned purchase of the A330neo.
Sales of long-haul jets, a market where Boeing and Airbus share a duopoly, have cooled this year. Boeing announced just nine new wide-body orders in the first half of the year, while Airbus’s twin-aisle jet order book shrank by 21 jets.