Boeing $15 Billion Narrow-Body Jet Haul Widens Lead Over Airbus

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Boeing Co. widened its lead over Airbus Group SE at the Paris Air Show with a $15 billion second-day haul of deals for its single-aisle planes, the most widely flown aircraft type in the global airline fleet.

A 100-jet order for Boeing’s 737 Max from AerCap Holdings NV boosted the U.S. company’s odds of claiming bragging rights on Airbus’s home turf at the industry’s biggest trade event. Boeing orders and commitments had a list value of $33.5 billion to Airbus’s $16.4 billion, based on data compiled by Bloomberg.

“This is a big day for us, it’s a real highlight of the show,” said Ray Conner, the head of Boeing’s commercial aircraft unit. Buyers typically get discounts off published prices.

Korean Air Lines Co. and lessor SMBC Aviation Capital together netted Boeing 40 planned sales of the 737 Max, the upgraded version of the planemaker’s top-selling model. SMBC and AerCap will get the Max 8, while Korean Air’s Max 8 agreement includes “substitution rights” for the larger Max 9.

“Boeing’s announcements so far at the Paris Air Show are somewhat better than expected,” Cai von Rumohr, a Cowen & Co. analyst, wrote in a note to clients, citing commercial demand and sales of the C-17 military transport. He rates Boeing as outperform.

Dreamliners Canceled

Boeing suffered a setback Tuesday when Russia’s OAO Aeroflot said it was scrapping a 22-plane order for the wide-body 787 Dreamliner. Aeroflot no longer needs the 787, Deputy Chief Executive Giorgio Callegario said in an interview. He said the contract terms allowed for a re-evaluation of the purchase.

AerCap swung attention back to the narrow-body segment, the planes that carry about 75 percent of the world’s passengers, after twin-aisle planes took the spotlight Monday as the expo opened. The single-aisle niche has been a source of strength for Airbus, whose A320neo family had won 60 percent of the sales for re-engined narrow-bodies heading into the show.

Boeing’s deal with AerCap alone outstripped the 97 single-aisle sales logged by Toulouse, France-based Airbus through Tuesday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Boeing’s haul stood at 140. The A320neo will debut in 2015, ahead of the Max’s 2017 entry into service.

AerCap Chief Executive Officer Aengus Kelly said the Max order came together in the final days before the show, with Boeing telling the lessor that it wanted to “make this happen.” Aercap is also interested in the larger 737 MAX 9 to help replace aging models in its fleet, Kelly said in an interview after the signing.

SMBC, Korean

SMBC Aviation is taking 10 Max jets, while Korean Air said it signed a memorandum of understanding for 30 of the planes. Korean Air also agreed to add two more of Boeing’s 777-300ER wide-bodies, the world’s largest twin-engine jet.

Indonesia carrier Sriwijaya Air was announced as the buyer of two Boeing 737-900ERs that previously were booked as sold to an unidentified customer. Commitments announced in May with China’s Minsheng Financial Leasing for 30 737s and with Ruili Airlines for 30 Max jets also were reaffirmed at the show.

Emerging-market carriers including PT Garuda Indonesia, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Qatar Airways Ltd. went shopping Monday for long-haul planes, a sign of faster travel growth in those regions than elsewhere. Heading into the Paris expo, analysts had played down wide-body sales prospects for Airbus and Chicago-based Boeing.

For more on the 2015 Paris Air Show, go here: Special Report

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