This is a story we provided KIRO TV in Seattle, for which we provided reports during the air show.
Airbus A320neo success far exceeds expectations
Special to KIRO TV
Airbus ended the primary portion of the Paris Air Show Thursday with 700 new, firm orders for the A320neo (New Engine Option) and a total of 1,029 firm orders and commitments year-to-date. There possibly could be a few more orders before the show officially ends Sunday, but the trade show portion ended Thursday.
The results surprised even Airbus super-salesman John Leahy, who said at the company’s closing press briefing that some deals came together unexpectedly during the show.
Leahy declined to forecast how many more orders would come by year-end, saying only that much time would be spent on firming up the 300-plus commitments into actual orders. Regardless, the number reported by Leahy was stunning by any measure, and it puts more pressure on Boeing to respond with either a re-engine or a new airplane.
After the formal press conference, I caught up with Leahy for his take on the prospect of a new Boeing airplane with a prospective entry-into-service (EIS) in 2019.
Transcript of quick interview with John Leahy on the prospect of Boeing proceeding with a new airplane to compete with the neo:
Hamilton: Boeing suggests that a new, small airplane would be up to 16% better than the A320neo, all-in on cash costs.
Leahy: They are whistling past the graveyard. That is absolutely not going to happen.
The only way that would happen would be to abandon the single-aisle market and build a twin. Then they will try to compare a twin with substantially more seats in it to the NEO. That’s the only way you can fudge the numbers on that.
If they want to go with an airplane the size of the 737-800, which I would assume they would do, and the size of a 737-700—I would like to believe they are not crazy enough to abandon that market—then they will end up with about 3% better on the airframe and all the rest is coming on engine technology [that we have].
It would be a very similar situation [for the 737-900 vs the A321neo]. If they built an all-new airframe, it would be about up to 3% better on the airframe side. We did the studies before we did the NEO that an all-new, clean-sheet airplane aerodynamically could save us about 3% in fuel burn. Everything has to come from the engines.
Leahy said A320neo slots are largely sold out. EIS is slate3d for October 2015. Boeing says it could respond with a 737 re-engine as early as 2016, but Airbus would likely have a year’s jump. By the time Boeing could effect EIS of a new airplane in 2019, Airbus believes it could deliver 1,700 airplanes, CEO Thomas Enders told me in a separate interview.