The first day of the Farnborough International Airshow kicked off with a wide array of deals, with rivals Airbus and Boeing stacking up orders as they pushed the next generation of commercial airliners.
Airbus announced the launch of its upgraded A330neo, with a deal arranged with Rolls Royce to provide its Trent 7000 engine for the plane, providing greater fuel efficiency. Airbus said it had agreed with Air Lease Corporation to supply 25 of its new A330neo aircraft, as well as 60 A321neo aircraft in a deal worth $14.1bn(£8.2bn).
International Airlines Group, owner of British Airways, said it would buy 20 of the Airbus A320neo aircraft in a deal likely to be worth around $1bn, as AerCap also said it would buy 50 additional A320neo plane as well for around $5.1bn.
The A330neo is seen as an effort by Airbus to compete with Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner by offering a cheaper alternative. Fabrice Bregier, Airbus chief executive said: “We see strong market potential for the A330neo, and like its market-leading smaller sister, the A320neo, we are confident this new aircraft will be a success in the medium-haul segment.”
Boeing meanwhile announced its own set of sales, including an agreement with UK-based Monarch Airlines, which previous used mainly Airbus aircraft, for 30 737 Max 8 planes in a deal valued at $3.1bn. A further six 737 Max 8 planes were ordered by Okay Airways, the first private airline in China, along with four 737-800 aircraft in a deal worth $980m.
Irish-based plane leasing company Avalon said it would buy six of the next generation 787-9 Dreamliners, as well as five 737 Max 9 planes, with the order valued at around $2bn.
EasyJet also announced that CFM International, a joint venture between GE Aviation and Snecma, will be its new engine supplier for its order of 35 Airbus A320 aircraft and 100 Airbus A320neo aircraft, in a deal valued at around $3.3bn.
Engine maker GE Aviation was also optimistic for further strong sales at the air show, as it said it expects get orders reaching around $30bn in value over the duration of the event.
The wave of multi-billion pound deals on the first day of the air show came as the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills claimed that the aerospace industry contributes more than £24bn to the UK economy, employing over 230,000 people, and that every 2.5 seconds an aircraft powered by a Rolls-Royce engine takes off or lands.