Aerospace titans Boeing and Airbus top $160 billion in orders at Farnborough

Key Points
  • Boeing has edged out Airbus in orders at the Farnborough International Airshow.
  • On firm orders alone, Boeing has won around $17 billion of new business while Airbus sits at $14 billion.
  • Trade days at the air show end Friday with two public days until Sunday 22 July.
Boeing 777X folding wingtips.
Source: Boeing Co.

Boeing has defeated Airbus in the battle to win the most business at the Farnborough International Airshow, as the pair racked up commercial plane orders worth more than $160 billion.

It should be noted that all the prices quoted are the planemakers’ official list prices with steep discounts likely to be negotiated by buyers. Additionally, the gross dollar number includes loose commitments to future deals and updates to previously agreed contracts.

The U.S. planemaker Boeing took the lion's share, inking deals over three days at the show in England that are worth more $97 billion.

A memorandum of understanding between Vietjet Air and Boeing for the purchase of 100 737 MAX airplanes and signed Wednesday marked one big order for the Seattle-based firm, with a list price exceeding $12 billion.

Other notable deals for Boeing include Volga DPNER’s commitment to buy 34 freighter planes, DHL’s deal to buy 11 freighters and an almost $10 billion contract for Air Lease Corp to buy 78 new Boeing aircraft.

Two separate undisclosed customers accounted for a further $23 billion worth of 737 MAX airplanes at list prices.

An employee works on an Airbus A380 plane inside the Air France KLM maintenance hangar at the Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Roissy, near Paris, France, May 31, 2016.
Philippe Wojazer | Reuters

European aerospace firm Airbus may be behind Boeing, but has hardly been a slouch in winning new business. The Toulouse, France-based company has totaled around $52 billion worth of list price deals.

The principal win, coming from an undisclosed customer, is for 100 of its A320neo jets worth around $11.5 billion. Other deals included a $5.5 billion order from the new U.S. start-up airline being launched by the founder of Jet Blue, David Neeleman.

The big dollar numbers from both aerospace giants are not a true reflection of the real value of new income, according to Dhierin Bechai at analyst platform Seeking Alpha.

In a daily tally of orders, Bechai has split the announcements into actual firm orders, letters of intent or memorandums of understanding, and “options” where customers convert older orders to reflect a new mix of airplanes.

The aviation specialist said firm orders of Boeing aircraft by the end of day three was closer to $17 billion, while for Airbus the number was nearer $13 billion.

In recent updates to their forecasts, Boeing expects 42,730 deliveries in the coming 20 years; Airbus is more conservative with 37,390 deliveries.