Airbus jet re-launch heralds busy aerospace show
By Tim Hepher and Victoria Bryan
FARNBOROUGH, England (Reuters) - Airbus will kick off the Farnborough Airshow with up to 100 commitments for its revamped A330neo wide-body jet, industry sources said, deepening a contest with Boeing for up to $250 billion of orders at the core of the long-haul jet market.
After months of speculation, the European planemaker will on Monday unveil an upgrade of its popular but ageing A330, powered by Rolls-Royce engines and offering 14 percent in fuel savings. Airbus Group declined to comment.
The upgraded A330 is Airbus’s attempt to prolong the life of its profitable twin-aisle jet, as the European company tries to preserve market share against Boeing's much newer 787 Dreamliner.
The A330 has enjoyed a resurgence of sales because of delays in deliveries of Boeing’s technically ambitious but temperamental carbon-fibre jet, but it is in need of a refresh to keep selling.
Analysts say it also plugs a potential future gap in the Airbus wide-body jet portfolio after poor sales of its A350-800 - the minnow of the next-generation A350 family whose development looks set to be halted or suspended as a result.
The commercial debut of two models called A330-800neo and A330-900neo, first reported by Reuters, heads a busy schedule of announcements on day one of the show, at which Boeing could hit back promptly with new sales of its 787 Dreamliner.
Analysts have until now generally predicted a low-key show, because of steadily growing fears of airline overcapacity.
But industry sources gathering for the July 14-20 event said evidence pointed to well over 500 orders or commitments ranging from a 100-plane lessor deal to a single plane for Fiji. It may not be immediately apparent, however, how many orders are new. Continued...