AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes left Farnborough in suspense over flying in from Malaysia to confirm an Airbus A330neo order or defecting to the Boeing 787. The deal is worth $2.82 billion at list prices. It was seen as evidence that both giants were anxious to boost their tallies.
Airbus declined to discuss the identity of the buyers, but industry sources said the list was dominated by Chinese-related leasing companies, reflecting strong air travel demand.
Despite the blackout on names, one piece of air show drama was still buzzing on Wednesday.More news: IOC Adds Five New FIS Competitions to the Beijing 2022 Olympic Program
Airbus said it racked up $62 billion of sales from 431 planes, meaning the hoped-for order for A321neo narrow-body planes from AirAsia Group would have given it victory by a margin of just three jets. Boeing reports that the order makes the Dreamliner the fastest-selling widebody aircraft in history.
The battle for sales in that part of the market was underscored on Thursday when Boeing said it had firmed up an order for at least 10 787s from Hawaiian Airlines, which it secured after the airline cancelled an order for the A330neo.
AirAsiaX has ordered 34 additional A330neos.More news: Faith Evans and Stevie J's Wedding Blindsides and Hurts Friends and Family
Since entering service in 2011, the 787 family has allowed airlines to launch more than 180 new nonstop routes around the world.
The draft deal comes two years after Boeing upstaged Airbus by clinching an order for 100 737 MAX jets during a visit by then-U.S. President Barack Obama.
Industry executives said leasing companies were active buyers, including some that have not previously turned up to buy directly from manufacturers, preferring instead to buy freshly built jets from airlines and then rent them back at a profit.More news: Next year's Ashes series will begin at Edgbaston - England's fortress
Not so this week, when Airbus announced nearly 200 orders from unidentified buyers, reversing the industry's PR rule book.