The future of air travel is on display and in the skies above southern England at the Farnborough air show. It is the focus of the race which could decide in which jets we will fly in the years ahead.
In hard numbers, the ones that fill the order books, it seems the top spot is set to change between rivals Airbus and American giant Boeing.
Europe’s Airbus enjoyed a record year in 2011 with net orders of almost 1,500 planes worth around 114 billion euros. Boeing is on their tails.
“What I see is that we have a competitor who is trying to come back and so he is very aggressive regarding the prices. But we keep the line, we keep cool. We have already 1,400 aircraft in the order book. So we are not in a rush,” Fabrice Bregier, CEO of Airbus
Airbus have outshone their rivals in nine of the last 10 years. But the company’s failure to keep up with the momentum for the A320neo – a revamped version of its A320 workhorse – has opened the door for Boeing’s version, the 737 Max.
Boeing will also be driven by orders for its 787 Dreamliner, its new long-haul jet. And the rivalry will also be played out on Boeing’s home turf as our correspondent at the event, Giovanni Maji, explained: “The trade war between Boeing and Airbus has been the focus of all air shows for several years now. But this time the competition takes on special significance, after Airbus announced the opening of a US plant to produce the A320neo. A challenge that seems to go beyond mere industrial competition.”