The 2011 edition of the Paris Air Show ended with the expected big bang of a record-breaking order from Malaysia-based AirAsia, which signed up with Airbus for 200 A320neos. This is the largest-ever order for a single aircraft type, eclipsing the previous record set yesterday by Indian carrier Indigo.
As far as we know, there were only four orders and commitments signed on the last day of the show, all going to Airbus. In addition to the AirAsia order above, the European manufacturer also booked a firm order for 72 A320neos from Indian carrier GoAir, a firm order for two A380s from Japan’s Skymark Airlines, and an MoU from an unidentified customer for 10 A380s. Airbus sales boss John Leahy hinted that the unidentified A380 customer might be the same unidentified customer that ordered fifteen 747-8Is from Boeing two days earlier — believed to be China’s HNA Group, for subsidiary carrier Hong Kong Airlines.
Missing from today’s action was Qatar Airways. It had been widely expected that Qatar, which ordered 6 777-300ERs from Boeing on Day 1, would order 50 A320neos and at least 5 A380s before the Show ended. Cargo Facts also expected that along with the A320/A380 order, Qatar and Airbus would also launch an A330 passenger-to-freighter conversion program. However, far from signing an order, Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker blasted Airbus for bungling its A350 program (for which Qatar is a launch customer) and threatened to give up on the A350-1000 and talk to Boeing about more 777s.
This is not the first time Mr. Al Baker has publicly attacked a manufacturer, and we expect that before too long, whatever the outcome of the A350 issue, Qatar will sign up for more A320s, more A380s, and that Airbus will launch the A330 P-to-F program.
In summary, we count a total of 1,152 orders announced at this year’s Show, split between 776 firm orders and 376 commitments. Of the total, 944 went to Airbus (mostly for its A320neo family), 138 went to Boeing (split more evenly between narrow- and widebodies), 20 went to Bombardier for its CSeries jet, 22 to Embraer, and 28 to ATR.
Since this is the Cargo Facts website, not the Passenger Facts website, we point out somewhat sadly that of the 1,152 orders and commitments, only 2 were for freighter aircraft — 0.2% of the total. These were in the form of a firm order from lessor GECAS for two of Boeing’s 747-8Fs.
Crikey on the lack of freighters!!
Are you surprised with that in light of the 747-8F fiasco, overweight, under performing fuel burn on engines. EADS will not launch P to F A330 unless Fed Ex or UPS would sign for a large order, 15 from Qatar wont do it
Hi Stan: I’m not sure what the connection is between possible problems with the 747-8F and the launch of an A330 conversion program. Not really competing aircraft. As to whether they’d launch with just a 15-unit order from Qatar, I think that you’re right that normally they’d want something more substantial, but it may also depend on other factors — including whether Qatar was making other orders (A380s, for example) contingent on some kind of A330 conversion deal. We shall see.