Airbus’s Leahy Projects 60% NEO Market Share Dominance

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Airbus has heavily outsold Boeing in the battle between the A320NEO and 737 MAX, but what is the long-term outlook for deals?

Airbus COO for customers, John Leahy, concedes that Boeing will claw back some of the Airbus lead, particularly this year where he sees the Max outselling the NEO.

But Leahy isn’t ready to give much ground. “The natural point is around 60% for the NEO versus the MAX,” he argues.

The reason? Leahy argues the NEO will have a significant fuel-burn advantage over the MAX.

Starting with the argument both are about at fuel-burn parity currently, here is how Leahy sees the upgrades affecting fuel burn of the NEO and MAX.

Core improvements:                   -7%      -6%

Fan area:                                  -7%      -4%

Powerplant Integration:               -1%      -0.5%

Winglets/aerodynamic

       upgrades:                           -2.4%    -0.5%

Extra drag/weight                       +2.7%   +3%

For a rebuttal, read Boeing’s view here.

More broadly, even as Leahy concedes that Boeing will likely book more orders than Airbus this year, he says the current distortion, with Boeing vastly ahead, will not last and that a more normal marketshare division within the 60% to 40% band will reemerge “really soon.”

Talks are underway with Chinese carriers for more than 100 A320s, he indicates, although those deals may not emerge in time for the Farnborough air show in July. However, Leahy seems confident the deals will not be held up by China’s dispute with the EU over emissions trading, noting the narrowbodies will be used for domestic operations, so should not be hit by the dispute as long-haul planes have been.

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