Viewpoint

Few firm orders at subdued Paris

Comparing raw order totals from air shows is a little like assessing the performance of a golfer over a single hole, rather than the entire round.

That said, aviation’s marquee events at Paris and Farnborough serve to focus global media on the industry, and in the commercial sphere the most enduring narrative is the Airbus-Boeing rivalry.

In this respect Paris 2015 was subdued, as neither manufacturer announced many firm orders despite several hundred letters of intent, memorandums and other commitments.

Notable orders that still need to be confirmed include: 62 A320neos for Avianca; 60 A320neos for an unamed Asian customer; 30 737 MAXs for Korean Air; 30 737MAXs for China’s Ruili Airlines; and Garuda’s letter for 30 737MAXs and 30 787s.

No doubt plenty of these will be firmed up and, once the dust has settled, Boeing will likely have the fonder memories of Paris, where it won a firm order for 100 737MAXs from lessor Aercap.

Nonetheless, even signed-and-sealed deals can be scuppered, as evidenced by Aeroflot’s cancellation of 22 787s, which dragged the widebody’s Paris count to minus 16.

And despite launching the A330 Regional with a 30-unit order from Saudia, Airbus didn’t fare much better than Boeing with widebodies – notching up zero signatures for the A350 or A380.

But Paris was a party for practically everyone not called Bombardier, whose slow-selling, cash-devouring CSeries picked up no new orders.

Unsurprisingly, the company was keen to stress that sales are a year-round effort, but it must still have been galling to see Embraer announce 50 orders and options for its E2 line, the upgraded versions of the E190 and E195, and the closest competitors to the CSeries.

And while there were a handful of commitments for Bombardier’s turboprop, the Q400, these were dwarfed by the 46 firm orders and 35 options secured by rival ATR for its ATR42 and ATR72 turboprops.

By the 18th, then, it’s a double-bogey for Bombardier.

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