With Paris show due to start on 17 June, there’s a great deal of speculation over what will happen.
The last two months have seen Boeing in an order drought, not one new aircraft has hit their books, and Airbus haven’t had the best of times.
The usual pointless who got what in numbers will no doubt be touted as valid competition and yet it’ll have little real meaning until the show’s over and the realities can be viewed from a more sensible and thought through perspective. In the end the long-term trends and realities are vastly more revealing.
However, there will be orders, as neither side can help themselves to use the show to prove a point. Airbus is celebrating its 50th anniversary and will be launching the A321XLR, no doubt with a few orders to go with it.
Boeing is on a mission to rehabilitate itself and will be anxious to show its clients have faith in its product, never mind the NMA 797-X and the fact the 777-X is going to be missing because of engine delays.
On the order front, Airbus are likely to get a major order from AF-KLM. As many as 150 narrow bodies are expected, and it’s probably going to see the end of the 737 at KLM – they’re already phasing out the 737-700 and a unified approach to orders is group policy.
British Airways is said to be deciding on the A220 or the Boeing Brazil E2 series for operations at London City and Birmingham. On top of that Airbus and Boeing are both fighting for a big order from Chinese carriers. It’s quite possible that Trump’s tariff wars will see that go to Airbus. The trade disputes are viewed in China as some sort of containment policy, and recent US comments on the situation in Hong Kong are likely to see an opposite and equal reaction in a way China can hurt US interests. Hitting Boeing while it’s already down would be just the mark. Add to that Airbus is willing to assemble the aircraft in China – a poor long-term strategy, but its a winner from a Chinese perspective.
Emirates are quite likely to firm an MOU with Boeing for 46 787-10’s into a binding contract. After much dithering the airline was on the point of cancellation, but the A380 saga and the diversification the airline has realised it needs to manage lower density routes with smaller aircraft, has hit home. Its days of being a hub for transit customers may be endangered long-term by the inevitability of Qantas Project Sunrise and the growth of DULL (Direct Ultra LonghauL) flights – especially from Europe to Australia and New Zealand in the 2020’s. With growing numbers of A380’s due to exit the fleet in the 2020’s something has to replace them.
There will no doubt be other orders, MOU’s and a plethora of service agreements – especially in the airport security and biometric field.
Overall though, don’t expect the trillions of dollars we’ve seen in the past. The cycle is nearly at the bottom right now and traditionally bumps along for up to five years or so before something forces enough change demand to push markets into new aircraft.