Boeing says well-placed in wake of Airbus revamp plan

Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:28am EDT
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By Sarah Young

FARNBOROUGH England (Reuters) - U.S. planemaker Boeing (BA.N: Quote) said its range of aircraft meant it was well-placed to compete in the latest stage of a long-haul battle against European rival Airbus (AIR.PA: Quote), which earlier stole the limelight with a plan to revamp its A330 jet.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Ray Conner said he was "looking forward" to the heightened contest when asked about Airbus's revamp plan on the opening day of the Farnborough Airshow on Monday.

"We are very comfortable with our product line in terms of efficiency and in terms of value we bring to the market place," Conner said at a press conference. "I feel comfortable that we have the right machine in every single market segment."

Airbus kicked off the Farnborough Airshow with confirmation it would sell revamped versions of its A330 wide-body jet powered by Rolls-Royce (RR.L: Quote) Trent 7000 engines and offering 14 percent fuel savings.

The revamp looks set to intensify the contest between the two planemakers for up to $250 billion of orders at the core of the long-haul jet market.

The upgraded A330, called an A330neo, 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.

Analysts said Airbus's revamp plan followed 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.

"I congratulate them on making that decision, on moving away from the A350-800 which is, what, they essentially, I guess are doing, and going back to the kind of re-engine scenario that they had in 2004, but there's no way their plane is much better than ours," Conner said.   Continued...

The Boeing logo is seen at their headquarters in Chicago, April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young