Copyright Scott Olson, Getty Images
Boeing headquarters

Boeing Maintains Lead over Airbus in Long-haul Jets – for Now

April 7, 2015
The appeal of long-haul aircraft is the same for both of the world-leading aircraft makers: greater profits.

NEW YORK -- Boeing is fighting tough efforts by rival Airbus to score big gains in the market for long-haul jets, a segment of the massive aircraft market that the US giant has dominated. 

Neck-and-neck with Boeing (IW 500/13) in sales of single-aisle, 150-seat to 200-seat passenger jets, Airbus has badly lagged its U.S. archrival in wide-body aircraft with 250 to 450 seats.

But Airbus (IW 1000/47) has high hopes for its new A350, which it says is "setting a new standard of efficiency in its class" with a lightweight, carbon fiber composition that can save up to 25% in fuel consumption.

Airbus believes the A350 can compete with Boeing's classic 777 aircraft as well as the its heavily-touted 787 Dreamliner, which also boasts carbon fiber construction to cut weight.

But Boeing executives say they are confident the U.S. company's lead will stick.

A new round of jumbo plane orders is expected from carriers seeking to cut their fuel costs. Demand for the bigger planes will reach 7,800 units worth about $1 trillion in the coming 20 years, according to Airbus. 

Boeing currently leads with about 55% of the market. It has logged 1,105 orders for the 787 against 780 for the Airbus 350, according to the most recent figures. 

But Airbus has had some major wins of late. In November, U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines announced a firm order for 25 new A350 wide bodies. 

"You can't debate the fact that it is a massive endorsement of your product line," said Airbus chief operating officer for customers, John Leahy.

Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier has set a goal of winning more than half the global market.

To win market share, it is offering aggressive commercial terms to carriers, as suggested by Airbus accounts: in 2014, Boeing had a profit margin of 10.7% per order compared with 6% at Airbus.

Boeing remains a step ahead in the race for delivering large planes, producing 10 787s per month since the middle of 2014 with plans to reach 12 per month in 2016.

Airbus plans to produce 15 of the A350 in 2015 with output reaching 10 per month in 2018.

"Boeing should be able to maintain its market share through the end of this decade," said an analyst note from Trefis.

Recent successful launches by Boeing in the 777 and 787 lines should allow it to "maintain its lead over Airbus in the wide-body airplane segment," Trefis added.

by Luc Olinga

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

About the Author

Agence France-Presse

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002-2024. AFP text, photos, graphics and logos shall not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. AFP shall not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions in any AFP content, or for any actions taken in consequence.

Sponsored Recommendations

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of IndustryWeek, create an account today!