True to analysts’ prophecies, Boeing continued to rack up commitments for its popular 737 jet at the Farnborough Air Show in England on Tuesday.
Two major leasing companies, one from the United States and the other from Kuwait, on Tuesday announced commitments for 125 of the twin-engine, single aisle planes worth a total of $11.15 billion at list prices.
Those commitments followed an order Monday for 75 737s from Los Angeles-based Air Lease Corp. worth $7.2 billion at list prices.
The new commitments Tuesday came from GE Capital Aviation Services for 75 new 737-8 Max aircraft worth $7.14 billion at list prices and for 25 737-800 aircraft worth $2.11 billion at list prices.
The Boeing Co. and archrival Airbus were caught in a fierce dogfight for orders at the air show on Tuesday, with both aircraft manufacturers unveiling multi-billion deals — crucial at a time of global economic unease.
The deals, if closed out as most commitments are, will help the Chicago-based Boeing claw back ground lost to rival Airbus in the short-haul market. At last year’s gathering in Paris – the French capital and Farnborough alternate – Airbus stole the show from Boeing with its remodeled airplane, the A320neo.
In the run-up to the air show south of London, expectations were high that Boeing would clinch a raft of short-haul deals as it tries to catch up with Airbus in orders for single-aisle aircraft.
It is pushing the MAX model heavily in response. The MAX incorporates new technologies designed to make the aircraft more efficient, reliable and comfortable. So far, Boeing has secured orders and commitments for more than 1,000 of the aircraft. Further orders are expected in the coming days, including from United Airlines.
“With rising fuel costs, the 737 MAX will provide operational cost savings to airlines in addition to being more environmentally friendly due to its latest quiet engine technology,” said Ahmad Alzabin, ALAFCO’s chairman and chief executive.
Airbus also announced its first big deal of the show Tuesday. It said Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific has put in a firm order valued at $4.2 billion for Airbus’ long-haul A350-100.
“The A350-100 will be a game changer in the 350-seat category, offering outstanding payload-range capability and a 25 percent reduction in fuel burn,” said Fabrice Bregier, Airbus president and chief executive. “As an all-new design, it will outperform existing aircraft in its size category on every count, as well as any future derivatives of those aircraft.”
Cathay will place a new order for 10 aircraft and convert 16 of its existing orders for the A350-900, a previous edition of the long-haul plane, to the larger A350-100, which is valued at $320 million each. The deal is subject to Cathay’s board passing it and takes the total number of A350 aircraft ordered by the airline to 46.Staff writer John Gillie contributed to this report.