Posted by John McHale
PARIS, 18 June 2011. There be heated contest this year at the Paris Air Show between Airbus and Boeing as to which company will announce the most airplane orders, says Diogenis Papiomytis, principal consultant at Frost & Sullivan. He says he expects the Paris Air Show to continue the early recovery signs from Farnborough last year with 237 Airbus/Boeing orders. However he says that it will still be behind the totals for Farnborough 2008, which had 480 total orders between the two companies.
Airbus has already turned up the heat with announcments of orders by Cebu and GoAir for the Airbus A320neo, bringing the total for that model to 434 with the total number of operators looking to use it at 7, Papiomytis says.
"We do not view [the latest A320neo] orders as either surprising or a major win for Airbus," Papiomytis says. Legacy A320 variants will be parked as the A320neo is integrated into operator fleets, which means there will be "no alternatives to airlines that operate Airbus fleets short-haul" and desire major growth in their business.
"However, if airlines that have yet to make announcements, like Scandinavian Airlines, China Southern, or BA-Iberia were to make firm orders for the type, it would be a major blow to Boeing," Papiomytis notes.
If Boeing officials continue to hold back announcements regarding a re-engined B737 or a completely new aircraft, then "the first airlines [will be] shifting to Airbus, to satisfy medium-term growth plans. However the timeline for a Boeing announcement is not as tight as it may seem."
Papiomytis says he expects a Boeing to make a decision before the year is out and that the decision will confirm "reports about a complete replacement to the B737, rather than a re-engined model."
Papiomytis says that Chinese carriers -- particularly China Southern -- Air France-KLM, BA-Iberia (widebodies), Monarch, Qatar Airways, Scandinavian Airlines, and Air Canada should have an impact this year. "Unlike past events, we expect a more active role from European carriers that have been going through phases of consolidation and network restructuring," he says. Orders from these operators will be geared toward replacing older fleets and enabling further expansion, he adds.