Boeing Co. edged out Airbus SE to claim a sales victory at the Farnborough air show as its European rival failed to land an anticipated 100-jet order amid a flurry of late deals at the year’s biggest aviation expo.
The U.S. company ended the show on July 19 after booking new business worth $79 billion from orders and outline commitments involving 528 jetliners, according to its closing statement at the trade fair southwest of London.
Airbus reported $62 billion of sales from 431 planes, after missing out on the hoped-for order from AirAsia Group Bhd. The Malaysian operator passed on single-aisle A321neo narrow-body planes, signaling that the 100-plane deal needed more work, while signing for 34 A330neo wide-bodies.
July 19 saw an unusually high level of activity for a fourth day of the air show, with Airbus and Boeing trading blows to rack up more than $32 billion of orders at list prices. The expo culminated with the AirAsia announcement, which at once buoyed the backlog for the A330neo, which has struggled competing with Boeing’s popular 787 Dreamliner, while revealing that the narrow-body component had fallen at the final hurdle.
AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes, speaking near Kuala Lumpur, said the group needs further single-aisle jets and “will eventually buy more planes” but had focused on the wide-body requirements of its AirAsia X long-haul division.
Boeing’s fourth-day tally was swollen by a deal for 100 737 Max single-aisle jets from an unnamed buyer valued at $11.7 billion, and confirmation of a $2.8 billion contract for 10 787-9s from Hawaiian Airlines after the U.S. carrier had dropped an earlier A330neo purchase. It also announced a transaction for as many as four 777s with Dubai-based lessor Novus Aviation Capital.
Airbus hit back with an outline accord from Vietnam’s Vietjet for 50 A321neos valued at $6.5 billion and one for 10 smaller A320neos worth $1.1 billion from an unidentified purchaser, before topping its show off with the $10 billion AirAsia announcement.
The two orders for which the customer was undisclosed extended a trend toward mystery buyers at the trade fair. The trend was attributed by Airbus to Chinese and Asian customers seeking to avoid stoking tensions in an escalating trade war with U.S. President Donald Trump, though Boeing sales chief Ihssane Mounir said he hadn’t noticed a particular change.
By Christopher Jasper, Benjamin Katz and Julie Johnsson