LE BOURGET, France – Airbus beat its rival Boeing in the orders stakes at the Paris Air Show but both aircraft manufacturers were encouraged that their lucrative wide-body planes were finding new customers.
The show at Le Bourget, which alternates with the Farnborough Air Show on an annual basis, is a platform for the sales race between the world’s two major aircraft makers, whose customers are increasingly interested in the energy-efficient planes to offset huge increases in the price of jet fuel.
Though Europe’s Airbus said Thursday it notched up about $70 billion in sales at the show, it acknowledged a problem with its large backlog, which will delay the delivery of jets. Boeing Co., which last week signaled it expected a lower tally than Airbus, announced orders worth $66 billion — last year Boeing won the annual orders battle at Farnborough, south of London.
Each company tends to inflate its sales figures — a common tactic is to notch up previously announced purchases that have been firmed up at the show. Customers routinely negotiate enormous discounts.