One of the most prestigious air shows will is taking place in Boeing (NYSE:BA) rival Airbus' (NASDAQOTH:EADSY) home turf of Paris. The Paris Air Show, running June 15-21, could bring some exciting developments -- Airbus is looking forward to "hundreds" of orders, Boeing is keeping things under wraps, and there are speculations galore. All eyes will be on who collects the highest number of orders, but there are other things to watch out for, too. Here's a short list.
Boeing and Airbus' wide-body face-off
Airbus is going to showcase its wide-body might with the A380s and A350 XWB, hoping to attract orders. The A350 XWB -- which stands for "extra wide body" -- started delivery in December, and Airbus is trying to make the aircraft as popular as the 787 Dreamliner, its direct competitor. The A350 XWB has garnered 780 orders through May, and the 787 -- which started service in 2011 -- has 1,105. In May, the 787 had 34 orders, whereas the A350 XWB had none.
The 787-9 and 787-8 will also be on display. The A350 XWB versus 787 battle took an intense turn last year around this same time, when Emirates cancelled a firm order for 70 A350 XWBs. Though it seemed that the airline had made its choice, Emirates President Tim Clark recently said that the company is studying both the 787 and A350 XWB for a 50- to 70-plane order.
This development must be keeping the aero majors on alert. Emirates may not reveal its choice at the Paris Air Show, as it plans to study the planes' performance for another six months or so. Moreover, it may reserve any big order announcements for the Dubai air show, to be held later in the year. But its tone during the Paris event might throw some light on the issue.
There's another battle in the making
Canadian jet maker Bombardier (NASDAQOTH:BDRAF) is all set to debut its narrow-body regional jet family CSeries at the air show. The company will showcase both of the jets -- the CS100 and CS300 -- and will announce performance improvements, too. Last year, a technical glitch that involved an engine fire kept the jet family from attending the Farnborough Airshow.
Bombardier's built-from-scratch initiative has seen a series of delays and order cancellations. But now that things are in place, it will hope to grab significant orders, especially since the planes promise lower fuel consumption and maintenance cost than Airbus' A320 and Boeing's 737.
The CS100 is expected to receive certification soon and will be ready for delivery by year's end. The jet family has gathered 243 firm orders, along with certain conditional commitments. If the CSeries wins a handsome number of orders, it definitely won't be music to Boeing's and Airbus' ears.
Boeing may announce more 777 orders
Boeing, together with China Airlines, will display the 777-300ER on the first day of the show. The 777-300ER is crucial to the 777 program, as Boeing is pitching the plane to attract new orders and keep output at 100 a year till the next-generation 777X goes into full-scale production by 2020.
In 2015, the aero major has so far recorded 25 orders for the 777 classic and needs about another 25 to keep the 100-a-year production rate going. It recently announced a United Airlines order, wherein ten 787s were traded for ten 777-300ERs. Management is quite confident of generating new orders. It won't be surprising if it announces a few at the show. If so, it will be great news for Boeing investors.
An affair to remember
The Paris Air Show may witness a wide-body tug-of-war between Boeing and Airbus. It may also witness the rise of a new competitor in the narrow-body space. And it might bring good news for Boeing investors on the 777 front. There will be a flurry of other developments as well, in what's sure to be a week full of excitement. Stay tuned.