Insight: Key Canada win signals Boeing bid to regain market share

Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:17pm EST
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By Tim Hepher and Alwyn Scott

PARIS/SEATTLE (Reuters) - A few months ago Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Ray Conner launched an internal campaign to urge the company's staff to fight for every sale following a series of defeats to European rival Airbus.

Its slogan: "We're in it to win it."

No longer would Boeing let Airbus walk away with a larger share of the market with competitive deals. In the new campaign, Boeing would redouble efforts to recapture customers without sacrificing profitable growth.

On Wednesday, Conner's counter-offensive paid off with a $6.5 billion deal to sell up to 109 jets to Air Canada.

His long-time rival, Airbus's sales chief John Leahy, shrugged off the defeat, indirectly accusing Boeing of slashing prices aggressively to win the deal.

"It takes two to have a war," he told Reuters.

Privately, Airbus officials were said to be shocked by the symbolic loss of one of the first North American carriers to buy their planes 25 years ago - jets that Leahy himself had sold when making a name for himself with flexible deals.

Despite dominating last month's Dubai Airshow with sales of one of its biggest jets, the 777X, Boeing is lagging well behind Airbus in sales of the latest generation of smaller single-aisle jets - the best-sellers for both companies.   Continued...

Boeing company's chairman and CEO, Jim McNerney (R) and Ray Conner, President and CEO of Boeing commercial airplanes, pose with a 787-10 model during the 50th Paris Air Show, at the Le Bourget airport near Paris, June 18, 2013. The air show runs from June 17 to 23. REUTERS/Stringer