Airbus Widens Its Lead Over Boeing In China With Plans For Second Finishing Line: CNN Business

Airbus Widens Its Lead Over Boeing In China With Plans For Second Finishing Line: CNN Business

Domestic Airfares Decline By Up To 60%

Airbus has announced plans for a second final-assembly line in China, the latest sign that it has a lock on the key aviation market over rival Boeing, CNN Business reported.

The announcement came as part of a state visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to China. The signing of the agreement by Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury was witnessed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and by Macron on Thursday.

According to CNN Business, it will add another line to the final-assembly facility that Airbus opened in Tianjin, China, in 2008, which has put the final touches on 600 A320 aircraft to date.

Airbus operates four assembly sites around the world but it forecasts that China’s air traffic in particular will grow 5.3 per cent annually over the next 20 years, significantly faster than the world average of 3.6 per cent, according to CNN Business.

This will lead to a demand for 8,420 passenger and freighter aircraft between now and 2041, representing more than 20 per cent of the world’s total demand for new aircraft, Airbus predicts.

Boeing (BA) has similar forecasts for China’s aircraft demand.

But worsening trade relations between the US and China have basically locked Boeing out of that key market for aircraft. Thursday’s deal includes the sale of another 160 Airbus aircraft to China, where more than 2,100 are in service already.

According to CNN Business, Boeing has not reported an order for a commercial passenger plane from a Chinese airline since 2017, only for orders from Chinese aircraft leasing companies that could be buying them on behalf of buyers outside of China, or for freighter aircraft, a segment of the market that Boeing dominates.

And deliveries to Chinese customers by Boeing have plunged. So far this year it has delivered only one 777 freighter to China Air Cargo, and there were only 12 jets delivered in 2022: eight freighters and four to a leasing company, CNN Business reported.

In 2017, the year the Trump administration first levied tariffs on US imports of Chinese goods, sparking a tit-for-tat trade tiff, Boeing delivered 161 jets to China, and slightly more in the following year. But with the 737 Max grounding and the pandemic causing a sharp fall-off in demand for air travel, Boeing deliveries to China plunged to 45 in 2019, and to 27 in the three-plus years since then, according to CNN Business.

Boeing’s best-selling plane, the 737 Max, which is a competitor to the A320 family that Airbus is finishing in China, has had trouble re-entering the Chinese market following a 20-month grounding that started in March of 2019 following two fatal crashes that killed a total of 346 people.

China was one of the last countries to allow the plane to fly in its airspace once again, and, even with that clearance, none of the Chinese customers of the plane have accepted deliveries of the 138 Boeing built for them during the grounding that are still sitting in the aircraft maker’s inventory, according to CNN Business. Boeing has been forced to try to find other buyers for some of those aircraft at discounted prices.

CNN Business said the 737 Max has been losing the competition with the A320 family outside of China as well, but it’s not the total shutout that Boeing is experiencing in China.


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