Boeing $40.8 Billion Show Haul Means Bragging Rights Over Airbus

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Boeing Co. is poised to grab a Paris Air Show win on Airbus Group SE’s home turf, amassing $40.8 billion in aircraft orders and commitments as the fair nears a close.

Airbus’s haul stood at $30.1 billion at list prices on the third day of the aviation industry’s oldest and largest trade event, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That total is 60 percent less than last year’s forum, in Farnborough, England, while Boeing’s was little changed.

With announcements winding down before the public is admitted to the expo on Friday, Boeing is about to upend the usual dominance of Toulouse, France-based Airbus in Paris order announcements. The aerospace forums held annually at alternating European sites are a place for bragging rights because they draw thousands of aviation executives, analysts and consultants.

“The show hasn’t been one of the better ones for Airbus,” George Ferguson, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, said in a research note.

Deals unveiled on Wednesday included a $7.4 billion agreement for Chicago-based Boeing to sell 20 of its 747-8 jumbo-jet freighters to Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Group. Airbus announced accords for 122 A320neos, the re-engined version of its top-selling narrow-body model.

Most of the show announcements weren’t firm orders. Letters of intent and other informal agreements can sometimes take months to be completed and put onto planemakers’ books.

No Slots

Airbus has no available delivery slots for the A320neo series or the A350 long-range plane until at least 2020, unless airlines take jets already ordered by lessors. That weighs on demand for the jets, Chief Operating Officer Tom Williams said.

“Customers don’t want to order something that they’re not going to see for a very long time,” Williams said. Airbus “doesn’t have enough planes to sell.”

Boeing’s advantage in wide-body deals, with firm bookings or agreements for 71 planes, boosted the value of its haul, while Airbus announced only 25 such sales, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Buyers typically get undisclosed discounts from planemakers’ catalog prices.

Along with their engine-makers and suppliers, the two airframe giants are readying for an unprecedented increase in assembly-line tempo to deliver the record number of aircraft already on order.

“It’s an industry that’s focused on execution and production rate considerations,” said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst at Fairfax, Virginia-based consultant Teal Group. Boeing and Airbus are facing a “massive backlog.”

Boeing and Airbus maintained their dominance in the narrow-body market as Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. failed to secure any orders for its CSeries. The jet, set to enter service next year, is the company’s first challenger in the single-aisle market.

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