US airline Delta Airlines confirmed on Thursday, November 20, a giant order with for A350, 25 new wide-body Airbuses, and 25 copies of the Neo future version that consumes less kerosene than long-haul A330 – a contract worth 14 billion dollars (11.2 billion euros) in list prices.
This order was the subject of a fierce commercial battle between the two manufacturers. Boeing, playing on its territory, would place a combination of large carriers B777 and its long-haul B787 Dreamliner. A failure which could have serious consequences for the US manufacturer.
Delta is the first among US companies to begin the renewal of its fleet of aging aircraft. It wants to exchange its Boeing 747 and 767 out of age and fuel-efficiency, too, for the new aircraft. It chose Airbus A350 for the A330 and in the nearest future would be more efficient, especially in terms of fuel consumption, as their rivals at Boeing.
They are also available much sooner. Deliveries for the A350 expected to begin in 2017 and from 2019 for the A330 Neo. Delta takes full advantage of renunciation of Emirates, which in June announced the cancellation of an order for 70 A350, thereby freeing slots for Airbus deliveries.
The choice of the US company is a double bonanza for the European aircraft manufacturer. With Delta, Airbus confirmed the success of its widebody A350, the first of which must be delivered in mid-December to Qatar Airways. Above all, this contract justifies its recent strategy to produce a version of the A330 Neo. A new aircraft was announced in July at the air show in Farnborough, which will enter service at the end of 2017.
Boeing may fear that the example of Delta could spread. Now that the restructuring phase of the US market is poised to complete, other US companies wanting to renew their fleet could also opt for Airbus. A formidable threat to the American manufacturer, since those are the sales of long-haul aircraft that bring the most yield to aircraft manufacturers.
A few weeks before the end of the year, Airbus again part of the delay on Boeing in terms of number of aircraft orders. It is likely that by December 31, news of the triumph two rival aircraft manufacturers will multiply.