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Boeing is losing ground: Airbus has received orders from rival's Asian customers

Airbus has received aircraft orders from two Asian customers of rival Boeing

As international traffic recovers, demand for new wide-body aircraft remains strong, especially in Asia and the Middle East. These orders are indicative of airlines' long-term strategies to renew their fleets and improve their efficiency and sustainability. Overall, orders for long-haul aircraft reflect the recovery of the aviation industry and its pursuit of modern and environmentally friendly technologies. It also highlights the importance of innovation and competition in the aviation technology market in today's world.

Failure for Boeing

On Thursday, Airbus AIR.PA received orders for 65 aircraft from two major Asian customers Boeing BA. N, marking a significant victory for the European aircraft maker. It comes at a challenging time for the U.S. company, which has been struggling with quality issues after an incident in which a 737 MAX 9 aircraft had a panel burst mid-flight.

The orders represent a setback for Boeing, which is facing a sprawling production crisis that has led to limited production of narrow-body aircraft. This restriction threatens Boeing's ability to compete with its European rival.

Asian Airbus co-operation

Japan Airlines (JAL) 9201. T announced its intention to purchase 21 A350-900 wide-body and 11 A321neo narrow-body aircraft from Airbus, marking the first time this long-time Boeing customer will receive single-body aircraft from Airbus. The move will allow Airbus to expand its market presence in Boeing territory, after it placed its first order for A350 aircraft more than a decade ago.

Similarly, South Korea's largest airline Korean Air 003490.KS announced its decision to order 33 A350 aircraft worth 13.7 billion dollars. This is the first purchase from the Airbus family of aircraft as the airline prepares to merge with Asiana Airlines 020560.KS.

Airbus conquers the market

Airbus is gradually conquering the single-aisle market with its A321neo, especially after numerous crises involving Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft. Since the panel explosion incident on an Alaska Airlines flight in January, Boeing has been under intense scrutiny over safety and quality standards, which has led to production restrictions imposed by regulators. While Boeing's order restrictions are not directly related to the company's current problems, Japan Airlines has sought to diversify its risks by not relying on just one aircraft manufacturer. Aircraft orders typically require months of negotiation and planning.

Analysts' views

Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst, emphasised that Boeing had inadvertently given Airbus the opportunity to operate in Japan in 2013, and now Airbus is looking to capitalise on that opening.

Rob Stallard, an analyst at Vertical Research Partners, noted that while Boeing has already received orders from JAL and Korean Air, those airlines have mixed fleets. Boeing said it owns 65 per cent of the market share in the Northeast Asian carrier market, which includes Taiwan, Korea and Japan. "We are deeply grateful to Japan Airlines for their continued confidence in the 787 Dreamliner, which remains the most in-demand large passenger aircraft in aviation history," Boeing said in a statement.

JAL's plans

JAL plans to fulfil orders between fiscal 2025 and 2033 totalling approximately 12.4 billion dollars. In addition, JAL intends to purchase another A350-900 aircraft to replace the one damaged in a collision with a runway at Tokyo's Haneda Airport in January. Given the global shortage of new aircraft, JAL is prioritising the acquisition of more efficient next-generation aircraft for its full-service and low-cost airlines.

Korean Air

Similarly, Korean Air's decision to invest in Airbus A350 aircraft is in line with its long-term fleet planning and sustainability goals as it phases out older aircraft models.

These developments reflect the growing demand for new widebody aircraft, particularly among Asian and Middle Eastern carriers, as international traffic gradually recovers from the long slump in demand for widebody aircraft.

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