Airbus won the Paris Air Show with a last-minute US$14 billion deal to sell 110 jets to Hungary’s Wizz Air on Thursday.
The deal avoided a rare defeat for the France-based planemaker at its home arena and is expected to be followed by orders for dozens of A330 jets from China in weeks to come, Reuters reported.
Wizz Air chief executive Jozsef Varadi made light of the marathon but is likely to have received a steep discount for his A321neo jets, after Boeing bid aggressively and Airbus appeared to be facing a disappointing end to a subdued week, the news agency said.
Airbus ended the trade part of the June 15-21 show with orders and commitments for 421 aircraft worth US$57 billion, against 331 aircraft worth US$50.2 billion for Boeing.
In terms of firm orders, Boeing came out on top with 154 worth US$20.2 billion, against 124 for Airbus worth US$16.3 billion.
Although the competition had been running behind the scenes for some months, a Wizz Air deal was not expected to be ready in time for the show.
“This was higher than I personally expected,” Fabrice Bregier, chief executive of Airbus Group’s planemaking division, said of the total orders.
Going into the show, Airbus had the lead over Boeing in plane orders, with 247 so far this year versus Boeing’s 175.
That had looked set to change at Le Bourget outside Paris as Boeing sold 100 jets to leasing company AerCap.
Boeing also produced a flourish apparently timed to coincide with the show, announcing a preliminary deal for 20 of its 747-8 freighters from Russian cargo airline Volga-Dnepr Group.
The deal supplies a lifeline to a program that had been running out of orders.
Many analysts believe the commercial jet market is slowing after riding out the financial crisis due to demand in Asia.
But Airbus and Boeing executives expressed confidence in the market and said they were on course to reach their targets of selling at least as many planes as they make this year.
Many delegates described the show as muted, with the focus on how manufacturers and suppliers can execute on almost a decade’s worth of orders, rather than on winning new deals.
The new management of smaller planemaker Bombardier showed off the new CSeries jet for the first time at an air show.
The Canadian firm did not win any new orders for the plane, which represents its push to compete in the market for smaller narrow-body jets dominated by Boeing and Airbus.
Brazil’s Embraer had a solid show with 50 orders.
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