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Airbus orders top Boeing but all smiles at Paris

Airbus has narrowly pipped Boeing to the post in the race for orders at the Paris Air Show. Airbus sold 466 aircraft during the show, worth $68.7bn at list prices.

In fact, Airbus is so close to its annual target of 800 (having already sold 758 aircraft this year), that John Leahy, COO, customers, boasted he will now go fishing instead of pushing sales. He added that Airbus is very close to filling its order book for the A320ceo and that demand is so high current delivery slots (for small orders) are as far out at 2020.

Boeing racked up 422 sales including some last minute orders for 20 737 NGs and 20 737 MAX aircraft, placed by unidentified customers. However, including TUI Travel's order for 60 737 MAX aircraft which was first announced on May 31, just before the show, Boeing's total climbs to 482, beating Airbus.

So, despite the angry thunderstorms and monsoon rain that attacked the crowds at this year's show, the event was a clear success. The run of orders reflected both a healthy expectation for growth in the industry and the confidence that there will be finance there to support it.

And the good news didn't stop with that. The 787-8 Dreamliner flew for the first time at the show, and we saw both the A350 and A380 take to the skies above Paris. Even better, Boeing launched its 787-10 programme with 102 orders and announced that it will bring forward the 737 MAX's entry into service (EIS) by six months to 3Q 2017.

Joe Ozimek, Boeing's VP of marketing, said the programme had exceeded 1,400 orders: "We're going to do very well with orders this year and see others in the pipeline." According to Boeing, the new 787-10 covers more than 90 per cent of the world's twin-aisle routes and will seat between 300 and 330 passengers. Design for the 787-10 has already started and Boeing has targeted an EIS of 2018.

But Boeing was not very vocal on the 777X programme. When asked why it had not launched the programme, Ray Conner, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes replied: "Hey, I'm with you, we just need to sell it first." He explained that Boeing had held discussions with potential customers in order to define the aircraft's configuration and design and will now discuss sales. He added that only when sales are high enough will Boeing's board agree to launch.

Later, Airbus' Leahy seemingly took pleasure telling the press: "I think they're flailing around trying to decide what to do." He argued that what the customer needs is a clean sheet aircraft, not a derivative. He added: "This is a paper airplane if ever we saw one... A very heavy paper airplane."

Leahy argued that both the weight and thrust of the aircraft design have increased and that Boeing had added seats in order to lower the seat cost, but that airlines had not asked for it.

Of course he was more optimistic on his own programmes and although not making any promises, he did mention that customers had already asked for a stretched A380.

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