Dubai Airshow

Gulf carriers don't prefer Boeing: Airbus COO

Gulf carriers don't prefer Boeing: Airbus COO
Gulf carriers don't prefer Boeing: Airbus COO

The chief operating officer of Airbus has insisted that the Gulf carriers do not prefer its rival Boeing, despite strong orders for the new 777X from the region.

Gulf carriers have dominated orders at the start of the Dubai Air Show, with Etihad Airways, Emirates and Qatar Airways all placing orders for Boeing's 777X. Along with an additional order from Germany's Lufthansa, it represented the largest product launch in commercial jetliner history by dollar value. 

But John Leahy, Airbus' chief operating officer for customers, told CNBC it was "not the case at all" that Gulf carriers preferred Boeing to Airbus. 

(Read more: Dubai Air Show takes off with multi-billion dollar splurge)

He added that he was "very pleased" with the group's order book. By Monday morning, Airbus had announced 149 commercial airplane orders at the Dubai Air Show, with Etihad accounting for the majority (87) of these. 

In comparison, Boeing had confirmed 342 orders, boosted by 150 Emirates orders. 

(Read more: Boeing President: 'Not anticipating any more 777 orders')

Speaking at the event, which kicked off on Monday, Leahy said Boeing would not deliver its 777X planes for "the next decade and beyond."

"I prefer to build airplanes and deliver them this decade. So they (Boeing) can have 20 years out in the future – I'll take the next 10 years," Airbus' Leahy said.

His comments come after the president of Boeing International, Shephard W. Hill, told CNBC that he did not expect any more orders for the 777X at the event. So far, Lufthansa has ordered 34; Etihad chose 25; Qatar ordered 50, while Emirates placed a bid for 150 of the aircraft.

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