BY OUR AVIATION CORRESPONDENT
19 June, 2005, Le Bourget: It is official, Airbus has swept the Paris air show. Its arch-rival Boeing could not muster as much deals as the European aircraft maker in the mega air show, as
Airbus announced many eleventh hour transactions to clearly outwit its American rival.
Aviation analysts put Airbus deals in the Paris show alone at more than $33 billion, with Boeing accounting to less than half of it at $ 15 billion.
Airbus deals announced on the last day include 18 A 319 costing $55 million each, to Eurowings Luftverkehrs AG's low-cost carrier, Germanwings. An unidentified Saudi bought a A340-600 jet for private use. The deal is estimated to be worth over $215 million. In all, Airbus is estimated to have bagged orders for around 320 aircraft at the Paris air show alone.
The orders from Indian airliners where the much talked about ones in the Paris air show, indicating a buoyant growth in the region, especially after the arrival of low cost airlines.
India’s yet-to-hit the skies airline IndiGo stunned aviation industry by placing an order for 100 A320 jets from Airbus, in a deal worth almost $ 6 billion. IndiGo is being promoted by travel firm InterGlobe enterprises and Rakesh Gangwal, the ex-chief of US Airways.
Indian airliners have placed orders worth $12 billion according to rough estimates. Aviation experts say the country’s market is poised to grow 20% annually, as private players mushroom. Kingfisher Airlines of UB group’s Vijay Mallya has placed orders for 5 Airbus 380s in a deal estimated at $2.5 billion. India’s largest private carrier, Jet Airways, has placed orders for 20 Boeing aircraft worth $ 2.8 billion and 10 Airbus A 330s worth around $1.5 billion.
With nine airlines vying in India’ aviation sector, some analysts have also expressed doubts over how they would have the necessary infrastructure and men needed to run the aircraft, with such huge orders demanding more manpower as the ambitious sky race
India’s private airline firms have placed orders for 250 aircraft in the last six months alone. This is 43% of the total global orders for Airbus and Boeing. State-run Air India and Indian Airlines are expected to grab another 90 aircraft soon.
Airbus also bagged orders from Brazil’s TAM (20 A 320s) and Mexico’s ABC Aerolineas (10 A320s). Qatar airways also gave the European aircraft maker a major ego boost, when it placed orders for 60 A 350 jets. The airliner also placed an order for 20 777s with Airbus’ archrival Boeing, in a deal estimated to be around $4.5 billion.
The Paris air show marked a shift in focus of aircraft makers, with burgeoning airliners from Asia stealing a march over their formidable rivals in Europe and US. Many analysts also have tried to portray this as another aviation boom.
Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, is jointly owned by EADS and BAE Systems, Europe’s largest military suppliers and manufacturers. EADS holds 80% stake in Airbus, formerly known as Airbus Industrie, and the rest is held by BAE Systems. Airbus Industrie began as a consortium of European firms in bid to wrest the initiative from American giants like Boeing and McDonnell Douglas. Airbus Industrie was formally set up in 1970 following an agreement between Aerospatiale (France) and Deutsche Aerospace (Germany) and was joined by CASA of Spain in 1971. It was notified as a simplified joint stock company or SAS in 2001. In April 27, 2005, Airbus’ 550 seater world’s largest commercial passenger airline, which would be commissioned in 2006, made its maiden flight, which lasted almost 4 hours, creating aviation history.
BY OUR AVIATION CORRESPONDENT