Airbus-Boeing order spree extends battle at air show

By BLOOMBERG

FARNBOROUGH • The contest for supremacy at the year’s biggest aviation expo extended into a fourth day as Airbus SE and Boeing Co traded blows with a rush of deals worth US$32 billion (RM130.09 billion) at list prices.

Boeing resumed hostilities at the Farnborough air show southwest of London with the announcement of an order for 100 737 Max single-aisle jets from an unnamed buyer valued at US$11.7 billion based on list prices.

That was followed by confirmation of a US$2.8 billion contract for 10 787-9s from Hawaiian Airlines that saw the US carrier drop an earlier Airbus A330neo purchase.

The European manufacturer hit back with an outline deal from Vietnam’s Vietjet for 50 A321neos — sticker price US$6.5 billion — and one for 10 smaller A320neos worth US$1.1 billion, again from an unidentified purchaser.

Airbus capped the morning with a much-anticipated US$10 billion sale of 34 A330neo wide-bodies to the longhaul arm of AirAsia Group Bhd, helping to revitalise a programme that’s struggled to make headway against Boeing’s popular 787 Dreamliner. At the same time, an expected 100- jet single-aisle purchase by the Asian carrier failed to materialise.

The two orders for which the customers were undisclosed extend a trend toward mystery buyers at this year’s trade fair. The secrecy was attributed to Chinese and Asian customers seeking to avoid trade tensions.

Coming into Day 4, the tally for the world’s two biggest planemakers stood at 780 aircraft, according to Rob Stallard, an analyst at Vertical Research Partners. Airbus had 379, while Boeing was at 401.