Airbus? Robust. Boeing? Good Going: Orders have slowed from recent peaks, but the aircraft market remains hot

There’s a bullish feeling about the global economy. The U.S., Europe and Japan are growing at their fastest pace in years. China and India continue to hum. Emerging markets like Russia, Turkey and Latin America are bouncing back from hardship. Commodity prices are rising enough to help exporters but not enough to pose too much difficulty for importers. Credit is cheap and plentiful. Stock markets are booming. Airlines like Delta are suddenly seeing a takeoff in international unit revenues Worldwide corporate and cargo demand is buzzing. International tourism is at record highs. And airlines—even Gulf airlines—are placing blockbuster aircraft orders.

The bullish mood was unmistakable at last week’s Dubai Airshow, which Emirates kicked off with a major B787-10 announcement (see page five). Its compatriot Flydubai followed with a massive B737-MAX order, which included some of the newly-marketed MAX 10s that dominated sales at this year’s Paris Airshow. A Kuwaiti leasing company firmed a contract for some MAX orders too, while Azerbaijan Airlines bought some more Dreamliners and Ethiopian Airlines bought some more cargo planes. An even surer sign that Dubai’s carriers—if not all Gulf carriers—are awakening from a period of retrenchment: a performance by Jennifer Lopez—the pop star regaled airshow VIPs at a gala co-hosted by Emirates. Let’s get loud!

The Airbus sales team couldn’t quite enjoy the J-Lo concert as much as their Boeing counterparts. They failed, after all, to get Emirates to buy more A380s, or anyone else to buy any widebodies of whatever type, save for a preliminary two-plane A330- NEO deal with Air Sénégal. Airbus did, however, build on its resounding narrowbody success with a massive if unconfirmed NEO deal with a collection of ultra-LCCs controlled by Indigo Partners. It won some NEO orders from Kuwait’s Wataniya Airways too. And Egyptair, which signed lease deals with AerCap for B787s and A320- NEOs, signed a letter of intent to buy some CS300s, the struggling Bombardier jet set to become part of the Airbus family.

To be clear, this year’s Dubai Airshow—the event is held every other year— wasn’t as rip-roaring for Airbus and Boeing as the 2013 event, when the oil boom was still raining riches on the Gulf region. At that show, Emirates placed a mega-order…

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