Richard Branson right and soontobeformer UK Prime Minister David Cameron WPA Pool

Richard Branson, right, and Virgin ordered a dozen Airbus A350-1000s, valued at $4.4 billion, Monday at the Farnborough International Airshow.

Airbus Holds Narrow Order Lead on Boeing at Farnborough

Airbus has tallied 123 orders and outline commitments, with Boeing at 121. Indian carrier SpiceJet could tip the balance, though not likely this week, with an expected 100-plane order.

Boeing Co. enjoyed an early lead over Airbus Group SE in the aircraft order stakes on Day 2 of the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow on Tuesday, announcing deals in China and one with Europe’s biggest tour operator — before its rival hit back with a blockbuster 72-jet sale to Go Airlines India Pvt.

The contract gave Airbus a tally of 123 orders and outline commitments, versus 121 at Boeing, excluding the signing of final terms on a 747 jumbo deal already announced. The European company also nosed in front by the value of business won at $15.7 billion, or $2 billion more than its U.S. competitor.

Boeing agreed to supply an unidentified Chinese customer with 30 737 single-aisle jets it said would be a mix of the current model and the re-engined Max version, worth more than $3 billion at list prices. It also secured an outline accord to supply Kunming Airlines with 10 Max 7 planes valued at $902 million after saying on Monday the plane would get more seats to help spur sales.

In Europe, holiday company TUI AG agreed to convert options on 10 Max 8 jets into firm orders worth $1.1 billion, and will also add another 787-9 Dreamliner to its fleet, valued at $265 million. Boeing also sealed terms on 20 747-8 freighters with Russia’s Volga-Dnepr, though some of the planes have been delivered.

Airbus’s sole order on the show’s second morning came from Berlin-based Germania, which agreed to buy 25 A320neo narrow-bodies — the main rival to the Max — with a total list price $2.68 billion. In the early afternoon, though, it produced the $7.73 billion deal with GoAir, easily the event’s biggest to date, and a four-plane accord for A321s from Iceland’s Wow.

The Toulouse, France-based company could be poised to deliver a knockout blow later on Tuesday with an anticipated order from AirAsia Bld., which could buy 100 A321neos worth $12.6 billion, according to people familiar with its plans.

Asian carriers are making the running as economic growth spurs demand for new routes and extra frequencies. The trend is prompting low-cost operators that have already amassed large order backlogs to add even more planes, with India’s SpiceJet Ltd. also weighing an order for as many as 100 737s or A320s, though not certain to reach a decision this week.

Boeing’s orders on the expo’s first day were also been dominated by China, with  Xiamen Airlines agreeing to take 30 Max 200s, a high-density version of the Max 8, with a value of $3.39 billion, and  Donghai Airlines signing an outline deal for 25 Max 8s worth $2.75 billion and five 787-9s priced at $1.32 billion.

The leasing arm of Standard Chartered Plc also bought 10 current generation 737-800s valued at $960 million it said were destined for “northeast Asia.”

Airbus’s first day was dominated by Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. signing a long-awaited deal for 12 A350-1000s valued at $4.4 billion, including four to be sourced from Air Lease Corp. Air Lease separately announced orders for three A350-900s and an A321, and Jetstar Pacific of Vietnam signed an outline accord for 10 current-generation A320s.

By Christopher Jasper, Julie Johnsson and Andrea Rothman

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