• France's news in English

Boeing and Airbus face battle in skies over Paris

AFP/The Local · 17 Jun 2013, 08:44

Published: 17 Jun 2013 08:44 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

European manufacturer Airbus managed to steal a march on its American rival before the show - at Le Bourget just north of Paris - with a successful maiden flight of its new A350 long-haul plane.

Airbus is pinning its hopes on the fuel-efficient A350 to compete in the long-haul sector after gradually winning more than half of the market for medium-haul, single-aisle planes that carry an average of 150 passengers.

The A350 is expected to conduct a fly-by of the air show towards the end of the week, hoping to woo potential customers.

During the show, famous for high-profile announcements of big-money deals, Airbus hopes to add a slew of orders for the plane - set for delivery at the end of 2014 - to confirmed contracts with Qatar Airways, British Airways and Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific.

Nevertheless, Boeing is also entering the show in bullish mood as it seeks to move on from its difficulties with the trouble-prone 787 Dreamliner.

Technical problems with overheating batteries forced the worldwide grounding of the Dreamliner fleet in a major setback for the Seattle-based manufacturer.

Boeing will showcase the Dreamliner at the event and the firm is expected to announce the launch of its 787-10X, a longer version of the original Dreamliner, which can accommodate up to 330 passengers.

The US firm is also set to announce in the coming months an up-to-date version of its existing 777, with wings made of fuel-saving composite material like the Dreamliner.

Boeing boss Ray Conner said it was going to be a "great competition" and said that airlines would "benefit from the fact that both companies are going to have a good wide-body product line."

"I think we have the better products and at the end of the day, hopefully the better product wins," Conner told reporters on Sunday.

Airbus has positioned the A350 for the market between the popular 777 and the 787, hoping to steal share away from both planes.

The European firm argues that its craft will consume six percent less fuel than the 787 and a quarter less than the 777.

Boeing's strategy, on the other hand, is to offer its clients a wider choice of long-haul airliners but Tom Enders, boss of Airbus parent company EADS, said "the jury was still out" in terms of the firms' respective market situation.

"It's premature to draw any conclusion and it's not necessarily the one who has more products who is also better positioned on the market," said Enders.

And analysts warned that Boeing's recent technical troubles may yet haunt the US firm.

Story continues below…

"Airbus can, and will, argue that Boeing's ability to execute is questionable and that the A350 is a better bet in terms of timing and availability," said Richard Aboulafia, a US-based aviation expert.

But the Paris air show, in its 50th edition this year, is not just about commercial battles and the long-awaited A400M military transport plane will also likely provide a highlight as it takes to the skies.

The market in unmanned surveillance drones will also be in focus after three top European defence companies urged the creation of a European programme to manufacture the craft, currently available only from Israel or the United States.

The Paris Air Show runs from June 17 to 23. It is expected to welcome some 350,000 visitors through its cavernous show halls.

The event, which has become the global aviation industry's largest in terms of surface and number of exhibitors, will throw open its doors to the public on June 21 after first welcoming professionals.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

Revealed: The ten most stolen cars in France
A Smart car in Paris. Photo: JR_Paris/Flickr

Thieves in France are getting a taste for luxury cars, it seems.

Analysis - France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie 'to sell their French chateau'
All photos: AFP

Want to live where Brangelina got married?

How Paris is rapidly becoming Europe's 'City of Innovation'
Photo: AFP

If you want to start a company then Paris is the place to do it, it seems.

'Jungle' clearance: Migrants begin to leave Calais camp
All photos: AFP

The "Jungle" clearance is underway.

France's 'Jungle' children arrive in UK
Authorities will start to clear the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp on Monday. Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP file picture

The first group of children from the French "Jungle" migrant camp with no connection to Britain have arrived in the country, the Home Office said Sunday, ahead of the camp's planned demolition.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
jobs available