November 25, 2017
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Airbus Closes on Rival Boeing in Jet Order Race

 (Reuters)

Airbus virtually closed the gap with Boeing in their intense battle for airliner orders in July after booking about half of the 197 firm sales unveiled at last month's Farnborough Airshow. But as Hayley Platt reports, combined orders fell 17 percent from the same period last year.

They're arch rivals and Airbus is closing in on Boeing. The European planemaker's sales to July this year reached 373 - that's just 10 less than the U.S. firm. And they booked about half the 197 orders placed at this year's Farnborough International Airshow.

But signs of a slowdown in the sector are evident. The combined numbers for both planemakers were down 17 percent on the previous year.

(Soundbite) (English) Chief Investment Officer, CCLA Investment Management, James Bevan, saying:

"First of all the number of airlines that want to have fleets for national pride purposes is clearly declining as the global economy remains weak. Secondly there has been consolidation in terms of airlines wanting to co-participation routes as evidenced by the Quantas/Emirates deal."

Boeing and Airbus have been investing in new fuel efficient aircraft. But low oil prices have taken the edge off demand for them. Raising questions over whether they'll still be able to boost output later this decade.

(Soundbite) (English) Chief Investment Officer, CCLA Investment Management, James Bevan, saying:

"Both companies look well positioned to gain substantial contracts for aftercare and maintenance and therefore I think both companies will be able to pay progressive dividends to shareholders."

But cancellations and deferrals are a problem. There are reports Indonesia's Lion Air - one of the largest jet buyers - could defer a deal for 25 Airbus planes. And Interjet - a Mexican low-cost carrier - has reduced its order for 40 A320neo's to 35.

Airbus isn't alone there though - Boeing's seen cancellations too.

In fact they're equal - with 50 cancellations a piece.