LE BOURGET, France — Airbus and Boeing won pledges Monday for big purchases of their lucrative long-haul wide-body jets at the Paris Air Show, raising hopes that demand is recovering following the worldwide recession.
The global aviation event at Le Bourget airfield north of Paris is once again playing host to the rivalry between U.S.-based Boeing and France-based Airbus. After several years of success for their smaller models, the world’s leading plane makers are hoping to get orders for the bigger, more expensive long-haul jets.
Ahead of the aerospace industry showcase, Airbus heavily promoted the A350 — its first all-new plane in eight years. The A350 seats up to 440 and is Airbus’ best chance to catch up with Boeing’s 787 and 777, which carry up to 300 and 365 passengers respectively, in the race to sell planes used on long-haul flights.
As the order race got underway, Boeing said GECAS, the aircraft leasing arm of General Electric, has made a promise to buy 10 of its 787 jets. Those would be worth more than $2.4 billion at list prices, though customers often negotiate deep discounts. GECAS is ordering the new version of the 787, the 787-10X.
Qatar Airways also put in orders for Boeing’s other long-haul aircraft, the Boeing 777.
Meanwhile, Airbus announced a potential order Monday for its superjumbo 800-passenger A380 jets, which have seen disappointing sales since launching because of the state of the global economy over the past few years. Doric Lease Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding for the purchase of 20 A380s. That deal, if confirmed, would be worth $8 billion at list prices.