International air shows are well and truly back. If the Dubai show in November 2021 marked the restart, that of the Farnborough which will end on Sunday is confirmation. And through these shows, it is the Airbus-Boeing match that returns to center stage. Even if the performance of the two competitors will not go down in history, it is still interesting to watch.
Where Airbus had animated the Dubai tarmac with 269 firm orders and 139 commitments over three days, as well as the commercial launch of its A350F cargo plane, the European manufacturer was much more discreet in the spans of Farnborough. Conversely, Boeing, which had to settle for crumbs and wait until the last day to save its living room with an order for 72 medium-haul 737 MAX.
Boeing the great animator with the MAX
In the British countryside, however, it is the American manufacturer who has taken center stage thanks to its MAX, which further confirms its return to grace. After launching its show perfectly with an order from Delta Air Lines for 100 firm copies of the 737 MAX 10 (and 30 in options), Boeing kept up the pressure in the following days. He signed a new contract with the American investment fund 777 Partners for 30 firm aircraft of the MAX family, 737 MAX 8 and 8-200, with options for 36 more. And as it is hard to imagine a show without an order from a lessor, it is Aviation Capital Group which has committed to 12 more Boeing 737 MAX 8s.
Still for the 737 MAX, a last beautiful contract was also signed with Qatar Airways for 25 MAX 10. Already in the pipeline for a few months, these devices will notably replace the A321 NEO canceled by Airbus.
Boeing has also formalized an order with ANA for 20 firm copies of the 737 MAX 8 and 10 in options, but the Japanese group had already announced the confirmation of the contract the previous week. And the planes had already entered the order book.
Opposite, the European manufacturer had to settle for 12 A220-300 for Delta Air Lines, which thus becomes the main customer of the aircraft, and 17 A321 NEO – including long-haul A321 XLR copies – for Latam Airlines. Its finest achievement was the confirmation of the contract with Easyjet for 56 A320 NEO family aircraft, but these are purchase rights from a previous order on which the British company had already communicated for several weeks. .
A few 787s to add to the bill
Already dominating in the medium-haul, Boeing has also managed to sell a few long-haul at Farnborough, despite a still complicated context for this sector – not to mention the quality problems encountered by the manufacturer on the 787 and certification on the 777X. The Dreamliner’s biggest customer, the rental company AerCap, has further consolidated its position with five additional 787-9s. Azerbaijan Airlines, for its part, settled for a memorandum of understanding for four 787-8s.
Boeing’s strong point, the freighter also responded with the selection of the 777-8F by Cargolux to replace its 747-400, but especially with passenger aircraft converted into freighters. The manufacturer recorded an order from Aircompany Armenia and Georgian Airlines for three 737-800BCFs, and that of the lessor BBAM for nine copies, before closing the series with three firm 767-300BCFs and one as an option for Saltchuk Aviation.
In the end, Boeing therefore garnered no less than 172 firm aircraft and 70 options and commitments, not counting ANA, as well as 15 aircraft converted into cargo with an option. Opposite Airbus is content with 29 orders, not counting those of Easyjet.
The European manufacturer can nevertheless take comfort in view of the 442 gross orders already recorded at the end of June – pending confirmation of giant orders from Chinese companies – against 286 for Boeing. The difference is less obvious when taking into account cancellations, with 259 net orders for Airbus against 205 for Boeing.
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