Planemakers Airbus and Boeing ended the first day of the Paris Air Show with more than 200 combined orders.The biggest single deal was placed by Indonesia’s Garuda, with an order worth $20bn (£12.8bn) at list prices for 60 Boeing and 30 Airbus aircraft.
But one of the most significant Airbus announcements involved satellites rather than aircraft.
It will build the world’s largest satellite constellation, making 900 for OneWeb, to expand internet access.
Garuda president Ari Wibowo said his company’s order for both long and short-haul aircraft, including 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, was to expand the carrier’s domestic and international route network, including to the US.
“We are concentrating on the most efficient aircraft that can support our business in the future,” he said.
With Airbus and Boeing having a backlog of some 12,000 orders stretching years ahead, Garuda will start taking delivery of the planes from 2020.
Airbus was particularly pleased to get an order for a new aircraft model, the A330-300 Regional. This widebody jet – traditionally used for long-haul – has been optimised for shorter routes.
Saudi Arabia ordered 20 of the aircraft as part of a deal for 50 jets.
John Leahy, Airbus’ head of commercial airline, said that Chinese airlines had also shown interest in the new A330. There was “significant market opportunity”, he said.
UK supply chain
Airbus said that by the end of Monday it had received orders and commitments for 146 aircraft, with a catalogue price of $24.58bn. Airlines normally secure big discounts on orders.
Wings for all these aircraft will be built at the Airbus factory in Broughton, north Wales, with design and testing at the engineering operation at Filton, Bristol.
Paul Everitt, chief executive of ADS Group, the trade body for the UK aerospace industry, estimated that deals announced on Monday would be worth about £5.5bn to UK companies, spreading work throughout the supply chain.
Earlier on Monday, Airbus announced its closely-watched Global Market Forecast for the next 20 years, predicting that 32,000 new aircraft over the 100-seat size – worth $5 trillion – will be needed in the next two decades.
Qatar Airways continued its rapid expansion, announcing that it was buying 14 new 777 passenger and freighter jets worth up to $4.8bn.
The airline has been a big customer for Boeing and Airbus, and brought five of its own aircraft, decked out in Qatar’s colours, to the Paris show.
Meanwhile, the satellite deal Airbus announced with OneWeb involves the aerospace group building 600 satellites to be launched initially, with the rest held as spares. No financial details were given.
However, Dailyreleased science correspondent Jonathan Amos said it would be multi-billion-dollar deal, with the OneWeb constellation dwarfing any previous commercial network in the sky by a factor of 10.
Airbus would not give a formal interview at the airshow but issued a statement from its head of space systems.
“This partnership is a fantastic new chapter in our space story,” said François Auque.
“Teaming with OneWeb with a requirement to produce several small satellites each day has inspired us to develop innovative designs and processes that will dramatically lower the cost in large volumes for high performance space applications.”