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Current as of 26/12/14 07:40PM NZST

Grant Bradley

Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Boeing, Airbus both claim success at $168b airshow

Boeing and Airbus both claim success as airlines compete to have aircraft orders filled as soon as possible.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is nearing final assembly for Air New Zealand at the planemaker's huge plant in Seattle. Photo / Grant Bradley
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is nearing final assembly for Air New Zealand at the planemaker's huge plant in Seattle. Photo / Grant Bradley

The battle to sell wide-body jets has stepped up with both Boeing and Airbus claiming success from the Paris Air Show where they sold nearly US$130 billion ($168 billion) of planes.

Airlines are optimistic about the coming year, modernising to more efficient fleets and competing for slots with manufacturers to have their planes built as soon as possible.

Boeing last week launched its next model Dreamliner, the 787-10, a bigger version of the 787-9 which is nearing final assembly for Air New Zealand at the planemaker's Seattle plant. It has achieved 102 orders for the new model, bumping total orders for the plane to 920.

Boeing's vice-president of airplane development, Mark Jenks, said the replacement market for wide-body jets was extremely strong. "There are a lot of airplanes that need to be replaced," he said yesterday at Boeing's manufacturing base at Everett, near Seattle. "There's a very big growth market as well - all indications are it's a very strong market and the scope of the [Dreamliner 787-10] announcement is certainly an indicator."

In Paris, Airbus moved ahead with deals for 466 planes worth US$69 billion, edging out Boeing's haul of 382 aircraft valued at US$60 billion. The value at list price far exceeded that of last year's aviation event in Farnborough, Britain, where the two airlines combined had about US$53 billion of orders.

Airbus closed the air show with a fly-past of its new A350X plane - which will compete directly with the 787 and Boeing's popular 777 aircraft.

Airbus won 69 new orders and commitments in Paris which it said was a "pretty powerful" outcome.

Air France-KLM placed a firm order for 25 A350-900s. Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines, already a large customer for the type, returned to order 30 more A350-900s. United Airlines also placed an additional order for 10 A350-1000s - not only bringing its total A350 orders to 35, but also upgrading its previous order for 25 A350-900s to the larger A350-1000 model to replace its Boeing 777s.

John Leahy, Airbus' chief operating officer, said the A350 XWB had been outselling the 787 by better than two to one during the past five years.

He said the A320neo family - a plane Air New Zealand was the launch customer for - retained a 60 per cent market share.

Boeing vice-president of marketing Randy Tinseth said the 777X programme was expected to be launched this year and the airline had "offers in the hands".

Aside from the airshow orders, Boeing's order backlog for twin-aisle jets totalled 1281 planes through May, compared with 1031 for Airbus. The tallies were even larger for the smaller models: 3253 for Boeing versus 3850 for Airbus.

•Grant Bradley travelled to Seattle courtesy of Boeing and Air NZ.

- NZ Herald

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