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Boeing vs. Airbus: One Clear Winner at the Paris Air Show

The Results of the Aircraft Manufacturer Battle at the Aviation Event of the Year

Hey, at least Airbus set a world record at the air show...even if it wasn't for sales. Photo: Airbus

Commercial aviation enthusiasts have been presented with a one-on-one battle for years — Boeing vs. Airbus. No matter which you prefer, whether it be for design, interior or even in-flight noise, there is one clear winner at the Paris Air Show.

Beyond Boeing’s reveal of the 737 MAX 10, they racked up a huge number of new orders and commitments, to the tune of 571. Airbus? A mere 336. All those orders for Boeing added up to a nice $74.8 billion. The largest order was placed by an unidentified major airline customer, for 125 of the 737 MAX 8 model. United followed close behind with 104 new orders. It seems that nearly every airline you know — and even some you don’t (Okay Airways, anyone?) — got in the game, placing an order for at least one version of the 737 MAX, with a much smaller number of Dreamliner orders.

The Airbus orders tallied up to about $39 billion. However, one aircraft valuation firm says that industry discounts could have slashed both manufacturer’s profits in half, with the real value (beyond the list prices), being somewhere around $35 billion for Boeing, and $17 billion for Airbus. Of course, as always, take note that even what the manufacturer may tout as a “firm agreement” may not come to fruition. Airlines back out of announced agreements regularly.

The loss of the unofficial race was just a sad fact on top of another for Airbus, as COO John Leahy, often credited with getting Airbus to where it is today, announced his 2017 retirement. He also had a few things to say about Boeing, noting, he “had expected they would have had a bigger launch on the 737 MAX 10, not quite as many conversions, more incremental orders.” He also mentions that the MAX 10 will probably not be a serious competitor to the A321.

Both manufacturers plan to up the ante to meet orders. Airbus is looking to produce 30 more planes this year than in 2016, and Boeing said it’d like to start producing two more 787s per month by 2020.

Boeing did admit that it had no new orders for its 777X.

The predicament isn’t unusual at the Air Show, though. Bombardier had no orders for its CSeries and Mitsubishi fared the same with its MRJ regional jet.

Cover photo by Airbus.

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