The stakes were high for Boeing and Airbus at the 50th International Paris Air Show, June 17-23 – a weeklong celebration of everything that encompasses the aviation industry. As thousands of companies and trade visitors attended the festivities at the world’s oldest and largest air show, the two aviation giants competed for their share of the market with their composite-friendly aircraft.
There was speculation that high fuel costs would give the edge to the Airbus A350 – which makes extensive use of fuel-efficient carbon fiber. Ray Conner, chief executive of Boeing’s civilian aircraft division, countered with the claim that the revamped 777 isn’t much heavier and with redesigned wings and improved engines offers longer flight potential.
High stakes deals were struck on both sides. Boeing announced a promise to buy 10 of its 787 jets from GECAS valued at more than $2.4 billion at list prices. But Airbus trumped that deal with a signed memorandum of understanding from Doric Lease Corp. to purchase 20 A380s. If confirmed, the deal would be worth $8 billion at list prices.
If the Paris Air Show is any indication, the aviation market holds great promise for the composites industry.