Boeing Overwhelms Airbus on Asian Demand for Stretched 737 Jet

Boeing Co. dominated the deal flow at the Paris Air Show, overwhelming rival Airbus SE on the back of Asian demand for the new Max 10, the biggest version of its 737 workhorse.

The U.S. planemaker secured orders and expressions of interest for more than 500 jets worth as much as $66 billion through Tuesday, compared with Airbus’s tally of 227 airliners for about $24 billion. Airbus could still fire back, as the Toulouse, France-based manufacturer’s veteran sales chief John Leahy will be loath to be outdone in what’s set to be his last appearance at the aviation industry’s biggest gathering.

Boeing’s 737 Max 10, rolled out to combat Airbus’s hot-selling A321neo, has secured $30 billion in commitments alone at the show. While many deals were tentative or involve conversions of existing contracts, the overall haul looks set to surpass the total $50 billion signed at the 2016 show in Farnborough, England, which was the lowest figure since 2010. Asian purchasers were particularly active as they gird for an accelerating travel boom. That’s a contrast to the relatively restrained buying from crowded markets in the U.S. and Europe.

“We have never seen a demographic shift like that ever in the world, in terms of the scale but also the purchasing power,” Domhnal Slattery, chief executive officer of Avolon, said after the world’s third-largest lessor ordered $8.4 billion of Boeing planes. “We’re backing that global trend.”

The leasing company, which is now owned by Bohai Capital Holding Co., was joined by other Asian buyers of Boeing planes, including SpiceJet Ltd. of India, Chinese carrier Okay Airways Co. Ltd., Japan Investment Adviser Co. and BOC Aviation Ltd. The leasing arm of China Development Bank signed agreements to buy planes from both Airbus and Boeing.

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