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Airbus set to beat Boeing on 2021 jet orders

written by Adam Thorn | January 4, 2022
An artist’s impression of an A320neo in KLM livery.

Airbus looks set to record more aircraft orders during 2021 than rival Boeing after the European planemaker secured a flurry of late deals.

In total, Airbus received 664 jet orders, compared to rival Boeing’s 476, according to new analysis from Bloomberg.

The news won’t be confirmed until later in January when the pair reveal if they’ve received any cancellations.

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Nonetheless, Airbus’ significant advantage follows big orders from Qantas and Air-France KLM last month.

The Australian flag carrier said it would initially place an order for 20 A321XLR (extra long-range) and 20 A220s, with the option to purchase a further 94 over 10 years as its Boeing 737-800s and 717s are phased out.

The order was in addition to low-cost subsidiary Jetstar’s existing agreement with Airbus for over 100 aircraft in the A320neo family.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce explained why his airline decided against upgrading its 787-800s with the newer MAX.

“The Airbus deal had the added advantage of providing ongoing flexibility within the order, meaning we can continue to choose between the entire A320neo and A220 families depending on our changing needs in the years ahead,” said Joyce.

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“The ability to combine the Jetstar and Qantas order for the A320 type was also a factor.

“The A320 will be new for Qantas Domestic, but we already know it’s a great aircraft because it’s been the backbone of Jetstar’s success for more than 15 years and more recently operating the resources industry in Western Australia.

“The A220 is such a versatile aircraft which has become popular with airline customers in the United States and Europe because it has the capability to fly regional routes as well as longer sectors between capital cities.”

Meanwhile, Air-France KLM said in December it had made a “firm order” for 100 A320neos, with purchase rights for 60 more. The first deliveries are expected in the second half of 2023.

The airline also signed a letter of intent to buy four A350F Full Freighters, with the purchase right to an additional four.

Benjamin Smith, CEO of the Air France-KLM Group, said, “The outstanding performances of the A320neo family and of the A350F Full-Freighter, which are quieter, more fuel-efficient and more cost-effective aircraft, make them the best choices for the long-term growth of our fleet.

“They will be instrumental in reaching our ambitious targets, including zero net CO2 emissions by 2050.”

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