Aerospace giants Airbus and Boeing opened the Paris air show with a flurry of multi-billion-dollar plane deals yesterday, as hungry Asian and Middle Eastern carriers put in orders faster than the rivals can make them.
Airbus said Garuda Indonesia had signed a letter of intent to buy 30 A350 XWB jets, worth $9bn (£5.8bn) at list prices – although airlines generally negotiate lower bills for a fleet order.
Garuda also pledged to buy up to 30 of Boeing’s 787-9 Dreamliners and 30 737 Max 8 jets in a deal that could be worth about $10.9bn.
Airbus countered its Seattle-based rival by signing up Saudi Arabian Airlines to be its launch customer for the A330-300, with the carrier committing to 20, as well as 30 A320neo jets in a deal worth about $8.2bn at list prices.
Despite this, analysts expect this year’s aerospace industry jamboree to result in fewer big contracts than usual, with manufacturers turning their attention to producing the $1.8 trillion already on their order books.
But demand still remains robust, particularly from fast-growing Middle Eastern and Asian airlines.
Airbus raised its 20-year forecast for jet demand by four per cent to 32,600. The group was upbeat about prospects for four-engined superjumbos, including its A380, the biggest passenger jet, which has so far failed to live up to sales expectations.