Boeing returns to Airbus in the race for control

International air shows are well and truly back. If the show in Dubai in November 2021 marks the start again, the one in Farnborough that ends on Sunday is the confirmation. And through these performances, it’s the Airbus-Boeing game that’s back to the fore. Although the performance of the two competitors will not be recorded in history, it is still beautiful to watch.

Where Airbus animated the Dubai tarmac with 269 firm orders and 139 commitments in three days, as well as the commercial launch of the A350F cargo plane, the European manufacturer was more cautious on the heights of Farnborough. In contrast, Boeing, which had to settle for crumbs and wait until the last day to save its sin with an order for 72 medium-haul 737 MAX.

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In the British countryside, however, it is the American manufacturer that takes center stage thanks to the MAX, which further confirms its return to grace. After fully launching its performance with an order from Delta Air Lines for 100 strong copies of the 737 MAX 10 (and 30 of the options), Boeing continued to pressurize in the following days . He signed a new contract with the American investment fund 777 Partners for 30 strong planes of the MAX family, 737 MAX 8 and 8-200, with options for 36 more. And since it is difficult to imagine a show without an order from a lessor, it is the Aviation Capital Group that has committed to 12 more Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Still for the 737 MAX, a final good contract was also signed with Qatar Airways for 25 MAX 10. Already in the pipeline for several months, these devices will specifically replace the A321 NEO canceled by Airbus .

Boeing also formalized an order with ANA for 20 strong copies of the 737 MAX 8 and 10 of the options, but the Japanese group already announced the confirmation of the contract last week. And the planes have entered the order book.

In contrast, the European manufacturer had to settle for 12 A220-300 for Delta Air Lines, which thus became the main customer of the aircraft, and 17 A321 NEO – including long-term copies of the A321 XLR – for Latam Airlines. The best it has done is to confirm the contract with Easyjet for 56 A320 NEO family aircraft, but these are purchase rights from a previous order with which the British company has been in talks for several weeks. .

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Some 787s to make the bill worse

Already dominating the medium-haul, Boeing also managed to sell some long-hauls at Farnborough, despite a complicated context for this sector – not to mention the quality problems encountered by the manufacturer of the 787 and certification of the 777X. The Dreamliner’s largest customer, leasing company AerCap, further consolidated its position with five additional 787-9s. Azerbaijan Airlines, for its part, settled for a memorandum of understanding for four 787-8s.

Boeing’s strong point, the freighter also responded to the selection of the 777-8F by Cargolux to replace its 747-400, but mainly with passenger planes converted to freighters. The manufacturer recorded an order from Aircompany Armenia and Georgian Airlines for three 737-800BCFs, and lessor BBAM for nine copies, before closing the series with three company 767-300BCFs and one as an option for Saltchuk Aviation.

In the end, Boeing therefore acquired no less than 172 stable aircraft and 70 options and commitments, not counting ANA, as well as 15 aircraft converted to cargo with options . Rival Airbus is content with 29 orders, not including Easyjet.

However, the European manufacturer can be relieved because of the 442 gross orders already recorded at the end of June – pending confirmation of giant orders from Chinese companies – against 286 for Boeing. The difference is less clear when cancellations are taken into account, with 259 net orders for Airbus versus 205 for Boeing.