Plane war at Farnborough

Airbus-watching at the show

AIRBUS scooped an order potentially worth $7.5 billion from Singapore Airlines on the last day of Farnborough International Air Show, denting Boeing's lead in a traumatic year for the European planemaker.

It clawed its way out of a triple crisis involving management rows, product design and industrial delays to persuade Singapore to take nine more of its A380 superjumbo passenger planes despite a row over delays to the programme. It also tentatively signed up the world's second largest airline by market value for 20 of its newly relaunched A350 wide-body aircraft in the fast-growing mid-sized sector. The new series is now due in 2012.
The deal marks a symbolic win for Airbus after Singapore announced plans recently to buy 20 of the rival 787-9 model from Boeing and to take purchase rights on a further 20. Both deals are provisional.
Over the course of the show, Airbus and Boeing have both announced firm and tentative deals involving more than 200 planes.
While Airbus has led Boeing in orders for the past five years, it has had a poor showing in the first half of this year. At 207 firm orders so far in 2006, compared with Boeing's 513, Airbus has been outsold 2.5 times to 1 by its US rival and has a market share of around 29 per cent.
Among announcements at the show, Malaysia's AirAsia said it was ordering 40 of Airbus's A320 single-aisle jets and has an option to buy 30 more, in a deal worth $4.7 billion at current list prices if the options are exercised. Dubai-based Emirates said it would buy 10 of Boeing's 747-8 freighter planes for $3.3 billion. Deliveries will start from 2010. Kuwait-based freight operator Load Air Cargo ordered two Boeing 747-400 ER freighters worth $494 million at list prices for deliveries beginning in early 2009.
Indonesia's Lion Air also placed an order for 30 Boeing 737-900ER (Extended Range) planes worth over $2.2 billion at list prices for deliveries scheduled from early 2010.
Airbus has signed an MOU with Libya's Afriqiyah Airways for up to six A330 and up to 14 A320 planes in a deal it said was worth $1.7 billion.
Aircraft leasing firm ILFC ordered 10 Boeing aircraft in a deal worth $1.2 billion at list prices. ILFC said it was converting options into orders for six 737-800, two 777-300ER and two 787 Dreamliners. Airbus said ILFC had signed a contract for six additional A320 family aircraft, worth about $402 million at list prices.
Airbus said Indian low cost airline GoAir was buying 10 of its A320 planes, worth $670 million at list prices. GoAir also has an option to buy 10 more.