Sunday, November 17, 2013

Boeing Makes Headlines in Dubai, But Airbus Hasn't Ceded Field: WSJ


The Wall Street Journal 

By  Daniel Michaels

Updated Nov. 17, 2013 2:56 p.m. ET

The Dubai Airshow is shaping up to be an order extravaganza for Boeing Co.  But that doesn't mean rival Airbus has ceded the field.

The unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. Sunday posted orders for its A380 superjumbo jet and new long-rang e A350 that at any other time would have grabbed the spotlight. Hometown carrier Emirates Airline ordered another 50 A380s, bringing its total order book for the world's largest passenger plane to 140 units—or almost half of all A380s on order.

Abu Dhabi-based rival Etihad Airlines said Sunday it placed a firm order for 87 Airbus aircraft with purchase rights for an additional 30. Including the related engines, the order was worth $26.9 billion at list prices, it said at the air show, and includes 50 Airbus A350s, 36 A320neo and one A330-200F freighter.

In other words, respectable numbers for Airbus, too. Officials at the European plane maker knew Boeing was planning to announce big deals for its 777X at the show. And Airbus has been on a roll. Through October, it booked 1,215 net orders after cancellations, up 14% from the year earlier. Boeing booked 957 net orders through October. Airbus last month landed a $9.75 billion order from Japan Airlines Co., breaking into territory long held exclusively by Boeing when JAL ordered 31 A350 jetliners.

But while the orders may let Airbus take some wind out of Boeing's sales, they raise other issues. That's particularly the case with the Emirates A380 order.

Placing so much reliance on one customer increases risks for both Airbus and Emirates. A problem in the Gulf that prompts Emirates to cut back could leave factories in Toulouse and Hamburg floundering.

Boeing officials are quietly highlighting Airbus's reliance on Emirates for A380 orders, saying it shows what they said all along: Demand is insufficient for the two-deck plane.

Airbus marketers, meanwhile, are hoping that Emirates's A380 machine will put so much pressure on rivals that they, too, will be forced to buy the plane. "Emirates is one of the best-placed airlines in the world to capture growth," said Chistopher Emerson, Airbus senior vice president marketing.


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