European planemaker Airbus trailed its fierce US rival Boeing in an orders battle on the second day of the Farnborough airshow on Tuesday, as southern England buckled under a record heatwave.
Airbus finally opened its orders account with a $1.1-billion order for 12 Airbus A220-300 passenger jets from Delta Airlines.
The new jets are due for delivery from 2026, and bring its total firm A220 order to 107 of the single-aisle aircraft.
However, Boeing already had the upper hand after clinching a $13.5-billion order for Boeing’s crisis-hit MAX from Delta on the first day of Farnborough on Monday.
The US carrier ordered 100 medium-haul MAX jets with an option for 30 more, and swiftly afterwards Japan’s ANA agreed to buy 20 MAX 8 jets worth $2.4 billion.
The MAX jet, which suffered two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019, is experiencing a rush of interest at this year’s five-day Farnborough spectacle southwest of London.
Independent aviation analyst Howard Wheeldon said customers were giving the MAX a thumbs-up, at an airshow where Boeing normally saves its biggest deal for the end.
“This is a vote of confidence and a sign that they are now moving forward from the MAX crisis and in the right direction,” Wheeldon told AFP.
Boeing then won another massive boost Tuesday as investment fund 777 Partners ordered up to 66 of the MAX passenger aircraft worth a combined $8 billion.
It also sealed a $1.5-billion deal with leasing company AerCap for five more 787 Dreamliner jets.
Customers are expected to win a discount on list prices as is traditionally the case for big orders.
– Emissions –
Wheeldon sounded a note of caution over the post-Covid recovery despite growing sector-wide optimism over the outlook at the airshow.
“There will be other orders but none of this suggests that the industry itself is moving forward,” added Wheeldon.
“Ticket prices have risen steeply and aircraft are far from full. Shortage of staff and other skills continues to impact and there are no quick fixes.
“This is an industry that has been in turmoil because of Covid but also one that knows the pressures from other factors such as climate change and rising costs are not easily solved.”
Aviation analyst John Strickland said the latest edition of Farnborough — the first since 2018 — was not “flush” with orders.
But “it marks a moment of rehabilitation for Boeing”, he added.
Farnborough this year partly focuses on the themes of decarbonisation and sustainability in a sector often criticised for its impact on emissions and climate change.
The UK government has launched a new “Jet Zero” strategy and vowed that aviation emissions should not return to pre-Covid levels.
The plan, presented by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps at Farnborough, requires UK domestic aviation and English airports to attain net zero carbon emissions by 2040.
Yet environmental campaign group Greenpeace has slammed the strategy as a short-term move that shifted responsibility away from government.
Greenpeace UK programme director Emily Armistead dismissed the plan as “vague aspirations to technological innovation”, which would fail to cut emissions in the short to medium term.
She accused the government of failing to have the courage to regulate aviation emissions.
“This isn’t a plan to do that, just a delaying tactic and a very expensive waste of time,” she added.
Boeing wins $8bn order in latest boost for MAX jets
US planemaker Boeing won a fresh boost Tuesday for its crisis-hit MAX aircraft, as investment fund 777 Partners ordered up to 66 of the passenger aircraft worth a combined $8 billion.
The announcement, on the second day of Farnborough airshow, comprises a firm order for 30 medium-haul single-aisle 737 MAX-8-200s plus options to purchase up to 36 more from the same family.
The Miami-based fund operates Flair Airlines in Canada and Bonza Aviation in Australia.
Josh Wander, the fund’s managing partner and co-founder, said the MAX-8-200 jets — configured with more seats than the MAX-8 — would help ramp up the capacity of both carriers.
Tuesday’s news takes the fund’s total Boeing order book to 134 models in the 737 MAX family.
“This new order marks another milestone in the robust growth of our aviation businesses and concurrently, our partnership with Boeing,” Wander added in a statement.
The MAX jet, which suffered two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019, is experiencing a rush of interest at this year’s Farnborough, southwest of London.
US airline Delta on Monday announced a deal to buy 100 MAX passenger aircraft worth a combined $13.5 billion.
Japan’s ANA has agreed to buy 20 of MAX 8 jets worth $2.4 billion.
Stellantis ending Jeep production in China
US-European carmaker Stellantis said on Monday it was ending production in China of its Jeep SUV after failing to acquire a majority stake in its joint venture with local firm GAC.
GAC-Stellantis is one of two joint ventures in China embarked on by Stellantis, which was formed in January 2021 last year by the merger of Fiat-Chrysler and PSA.
“Stellantis intends to cooperate with GAC Group in an orderly termination of the joint venture formed in March 2010, which has been loss-making in recent years,” the group said.
It said the move was “due to a lack of progress in the previously announced plan for Stellantis to take a majority share” in the business.
The decision to wave goodbye to GAC would show up as “a non-cash impairment charge of approximately 297 million euros ($302 million) in its first-half 2022 results”, due out on July 28.
Stellantis said it would henceforth “focus on distributing imported vehicles for the Jeep brand in China”.
The group — which also includes the Peugeot, Alfa Romeo and Citroen brands — had hoped to increase its stake in China Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) to 50-75 percent.
The move was made possible by a change in Chinese regulations allowing deeper involvement by foreign investors, on condition they obtain Beijing’s approval.
Stellantis told AFP its decision to pull out was “not linked” to a decision by the Chinese government.
The group had announced in January that the acquisition of the hoped-for majority stake in the joint venture with GAC was the first step towards streamlining its activities in the world’s biggest vehicle market.
GAC protested at the time because the deal had not been signed.
Jeep, which is rolling out electric vehicles, was to be one of Stellantis’s main conduits for expanding in China.
The group reported sales of 152 billion euros ($154 billion) in 2021 and aims to reach 200 billion in 2030.
Stellantis’s main activity in China is the manufacture and sale of Peugeots and Citroens, via a joint venture with local automaker Dongfeng.
China is also a key market for its luxury Maserati brand and a target for its premium brand DS.
Jeep sold just 20,000 vehicles in China in 2021 and at the end of last year, GAC-Stellantis terminated production at one of its two assembly lines.
Jeep is now concentrating on offering a wider array of imported electric vehicles.
Boeing wins $13.5-bn MAX jets deal as Farnborough opens
US aerospace giant Boeing on Monday fired the first shot in an orders battle with European rival Airbus at Farnborough airshow, clinching a $13.5-billion deal for 100 MAX planes from Delta Airlines in a huge vote of confidence for the crisis-hit jet.
The deal marks a huge turnaround for the MAX jet which had suffered two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019.
Outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meanwhile opened the prestigious five-day event as the avation sector plots its recovery from heavy Covid fallout.
US carrier Delta lodged its first ever order for medium-haul MAX aircraft, with options for 30 more of the fuel-efficient planes as it seeks to replace its ageing fleet and cut damaging emissions.
Boeing revealed also that Japanese airline ANA had agreed to purchase 20 of its smaller MAX 8 jets — worth $2.4 billion — plus two 777-8 freight planes.
– ‘More sustainable future’ –
“The Boeing 737-10 will be an important addition to Delta’s fleet as we shape a more sustainable future for air travel, with an elevated customer experience, improved fuel efficiency and best-in-class performance,” said Delta chief executive Ed Bastian.
The news comes as airlines worldwide seek to replace ageing fleets with fuel-efficient planes that emit less carbon dioxide.
The first visitors to Farnborough, southwest of London, were meanwhile hit by scorching temperatures amid Europe’s ongoing heatwave.
Defence aerospace companies are also expected to emerge as big winners, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine boosting spending on nations’ armed forces.
Russian companies have been banned from Farnborough due to the war.
The event coincides with fast-moving political turmoil in Britain after Johnson’s recent announcement that he is stepping down as Conservative party leader, sparking a fractious contest to replace him also as prime minister.
– ‘Handing over controls’ –
“This government believes in aviation and its power to bring jobs and growth to the entire country,” Johnson said Monday as the event opened.
“After three years in the cockpit… I am now handing over the controls seamlessly to someone else. I don’t know who,” he added, sparking laughter from delegates.
Johnson also said that the government was “investing massively in defence”.
This year’s event — one of the world’s largest civilian and defence shows — is the first global aviation get-together since the Paris airshow in 2019, before Covid hit.
Farnborough was cancelled in 2020 as the Covid health crisis grounded aircraft and ravaged the sector.
Global air traffic is gradually recovering and in May reached more than two-thirds of its pre-pandemic level, according to the International Air Transport Association.
That recovery has however faced headwinds from rocketing inflation fuelled by historically high energy prices and higher wages, while staff shortages constrain airports and spark flight cancellations.
– Air displays –
Ahead of the event, Britain issued a historic red warning for extreme heat, with southern England temperatures potentially exceeding 40C on Monday or Tuesday for the first time.
It comes as visitors to Farnborough will witness air displays by Britain’s Red Arrows and South Korea’s Black Eagles, as well as from the US-made F-35 stealth fighter.
Airbus and Boeing are showcasing their latest twin-aisle passenger aircraft, the A350-900 and the 777X.
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