PARIS, 24 June 2011. As business transactions wind up this week at the 2011 Paris Air Show in LeBourget, France, European aircraft manufacturer Airbus in Toulouse, France, set a record for commercial aircraft sales at any air show ever, winning business for 730 aircraft worth a total of $72.2 billion, Airbus officials say. The company's aircraft business announced at the show consists of firm purchase orders for 418 aircraft worth $44 billion, and memoranda of understanding for 312 worth $28.2 billion, company officials say.
Highlighting Airbus sales this week at Paris was the future Airbus A320neo family of single-aisle narrow-body passenger jetliners with new engines and special wingtips the company calls sharklets that are expected to make the aircraft fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. The designation neo stands for new engine option. Airbus won commitments this week for 667 A320neo aircraft worth a collective $60.9 billion, company officials say.
Airbus backlog for the A320neo family since its introduction just six months ago has reached 1,029, making it the best selling airliner in the history of commercial aviation, Airbus officials say. The new aircraft is scheduled to enter service in 2016. "I have to admit, I largely underestimated the market demand for neo before this show," says Tom Enders, the Airbus president and chief executive officer.
The twin-engine Airbus A320neo family, which consists of the latest-model A320, A321, and A319, seats from 124 and 220 passengers in a variety of seating configurations, and is expected to offer unprecedented fuel efficiency and reduced carbon emissions from its CFM International or Pratt & Whitney engines.
The A320neo family competes directly in the international commercial jet market with the late-model Boeing 737-800 and 737-900ER. The massive success of the A320neo at the Paris Air Show is expected to have influence on upcoming Boeing decisions on whether to upgrade the 737, or design an entirely new fuel-efficient narrow-body aircraft.
The standard Airbus A320 family of passenger jets also generated interest this week at the Paris Air Show. Airbus received 34 commitments worth $2.8 billion at the show, as well as commitments for 11 A330s worth $2.4 billion, six A350s worth $1.6 billion, and 12 A380s worth $4.5 billion, company officials say.
Airbus archrival Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Seattle, meanwhile, had relatively subdued commercial aircraft sales at the Paris Air Show. Boeing sales stalled out Wednesday with seven Boeing 737-900ER and 33 737-800 aircraft to Russian airline and aviation services company UTair Aviation in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia.
At last count, Boeing sold 142 commercial aircraft at the 2011 Paris Air Show -- 45 of them widebodies. Boeing has yet to make an official announcement of its total business conducted at Paris, and may make such an announcement later today.