Beyond air show, newcomers challenge Airbus-Boeing duopoly

Visitors walk past the aircrafts on the static display. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

By Matthias Blamont and Victoria Bryan | PARIS Thu Jun 22, 2017 | 2:08pm EDT

This year’s Paris Air Show was dominated by the annual order battle between Airbus (AIR.PA) and Boeing (BA.N), but industry executives said the duopoly will be forced to share the stage at future shows as newcomers from Russia, China and Japan muscle into the passenger plane market.

Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp (7011.T) brought its MRJ regional jet to Europe for the first time during the air show. China and Russia carried out maiden flights of new narrow-body aircraft last month in their bids to enter the $100 billion-plus annual aerospace market.

The two countries have also set up a joint venture to build wide-body jets to challenge incumbents.

Consultants Alix Partners estimates that of the current order backlog of around 13,000 planes, about 7-8 percent are for planes from new entrants, among them Russia, China and Japan.

Delegates at the show said mounting a proper challenge will take Russia and China at least a decade. The newcomers face headwinds including proving their technology, and gaining customer confidence by deploying and maintaining a quality aircraft maintenance and support network.

“Overall, there are big steps not only on the product side but on the support and services side for the airlines to feel confident that they can go in and order those aircraft,” Pascal Fabre, managing director at Alix Partners in Paris, said.

However, China and Russia are large enough markets that orders from their home countries alone could propel the respective airliner ventures.

Among COMAC’s first customers for its C919 was China Eastern, which has ordered up to 20 planes from the Chinese manufacturer, while Aeroflot is due to take the Russian MS21.

COMAC said this week total orders for the C919 stood at 600 from 24 customers.

Giorgio Callegari, strategy and alliances director at Russian carrier Aeroflot (AFLT.MM), said people he met at the air show showed great interest in the MS21 and the Russian-China wide-body cooperation. Aeroflot is set to lease 50 MS21 planes from state defense conglomerate Rostec.

“If maybe in the past, Russian airplanes were discarded as a non-factor, they are now taken much more seriously and people can see that they are potentially a serious competitor,” he told Reuters.

The chief executive of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker, said he would not have a problem buying jets from Chinese or Russian manufacturers, provided they met operational and performance requirements.


Some executives at the airshow said the marketplace would eventually settle on three major manufacturers and placed their bets on China’s COMAC to win that third spot.

“Twenty years from now, I think there’ll be the big three manufacturers of Airbus, Boeing and China,” said Airbus sales chief John Leahy.

However, Leahy said it would be hard for countries to make billions of dollars of investments over decades to get the product line and support network up to scratch.

Cedric Goubet, vice president of commercial engines at Safran (SAF.PA), said he too is betting on the Chinese.

“My feeling is that it will be the Chinese. They have the resources, the skills, the national ambitions and a huge domestic market,” he said, while adding that it was also crucial to get export orders.

Dang Thiehong, deputy head of marketing at China’s COMAC, told Reuters the aircraft market was big enough to share. “We hope to provide our services and products to the market no matter in which part of the world,” he said.

China is crucial to the growth prospects of all the major airliner manufacturers.

Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing and sales at Boeing’s commercial aircraft division, cautioned against the dangers of underestimating new rivals, “Never sell your competition short.”

Japan’s Mitsubishi has set its sights on the regional jet market instead of going head to head with the larger planes sold by Airbus and Boeing or rising Chinese and Russian rivals.

Yugo Fukuhara, vice president sales and marketing at Mitsubishi, told Reuters, “Our vision of this business is to become one of two major regional plane makers. We don’t compete with China and Russia.”

(Additional reporting by Tim Hepher, Andrea Shalal, Giulia Segreti, Cyril Altmeyer, Mike Stone; Editing by Adrian Croft)

Source: Reuters “Beyond air show, newcomers challenge Airbus-Boeing duopoly”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


9 Comments on “Beyond air show, newcomers challenge Airbus-Boeing duopoly”

  1. Red Flag says:

    From the article posted:
    “Delegates at the show said mounting a proper challenge will take Russia and China at least a decade. The newcomers face headwinds including proving their technology, and gaining customer confidence by deploying and maintaining a quality aircraft maintenance and support network.”

    Sadly China and Russia are not known for manufacturing quality aircraft. Just one crash will set the Russian and Chinese programs back twenty years. And in a decade Airbus and Boeing will be light years ahead of Chinese and Russian aircraft. But keep trying!


    • Simon says:

      And how many crashes has Airbus and Boeing had? Yeah keep trying!
      Years ago Germany and Japan was light years ahead in maglev trains but now China leads the world and helping build them in other countries too. There was an accidnet with maglev train in China in 2006 but guess what they fixed the problem soon after and moved on to lead the world.
      China will provide cheaper and better built planes than Airbus and Boeing. It won’t be long when Air Force One will be made in China.


      • Red Flag says:

        “China will provide cheaper and better built planes than Airbus and Boeing.”

        Attempting to cut corners by making things on the cheap will not work in the demanding environment of air transportation. There is no substitute for quality when lives are at stake. China is on the wrong path with its ideas of cut rate aircraft. Would you fly on a poorly made Chinese passenger jet? Most people would not.

        Russian jets have a reputation for being dangerous. China is doomed to follow in those footsteps.


        • Simon says:

          Who said anything about cutting corners?
          If you are talking about high quality vs poorly made take a look at DJI Maveric vs GoPro Karma. The Chinese made Maveric drones can fly many times further, faster, longer, has more features including anti obstacles and compatable with viewfinder goggles and it was price lower than the American Karma which is slower, shorter range, needed two people to control flight and camera, even worse it fell out of the skies because of poor reliability forcing a product recall.

          In manned space travel America cant go back to the shuttle program because it is too expensive with high failure rates. Look at how many aborted launches. China has 100% success rate with manned space missions with no aborted launches. You don’t have that record if you cut corners.


        • Joseph says:

          I thought you said that American’s willingness to push themselves is the pinnacle of their modern technology and China’s unwillingness to take risk hold China back. Now you say it the other way around? Do you even know which one made in China and which one made in America? Donald Trump definitely does not know. He blamed his poor quality American-made aircraft stairs as made in China. Obviously most Americans are as dumb as their elected president. Many American and European aircraft parts are Chinese-manufactured, including the military F-35. Are they cutting corners too? “China will provide cheaper and better built planes than Airbus and Boeing.” is because they more competent than Americans. Just look at Edward Lu the first ‘accidental’ Chinese-American astronaut. Did you even know the Hubble telescope fiasco back in the 1990s? NASA did not intend to send a poorly English speaking Chinese technician into space. Blacks or women, perhaps. Japanese, maybe. Chinese, definitely out of the question. But they sent two spacewalks mission already taking instruction from Ed Lu on the ground but they can’t make it work. So they finally decided to send Ed Lu himself up there, .They flash-trained him the way they did in the Armageddon movie, with the White boys as his helper and tether-bodyguards instead. And, Hubble telescope lighted like a Christmas tree on space. Never giving problem to this day.
          Who would fly Chinese-made passenger jets? You wouldn’t. It doesn’t matter. Many would. That’s all that matters. The American said Chinese aircraft is unsafe only for the reason of refusing to give FAA licence only. But FAA liscence is not needed outside America. Chinese-made Xian-6 aircrafts has flown Indonesia’s harshest jungle territory for two decades now. Heard any accident? All we have are American C-130 Hercules kept crashing in the route of those Chinese aircraft because of ‘harsh-weather’. If the Chinese passenger jets are cutting corners, it would not take a decade to make only to ensure its safety. Russian jets may have the reputation of being dangerous, but it actually follows American reputation of being dangerous. There American documentary program called ‘Aircraft Investigation’. It preferred non-American crafts first. But the number of American aircrafts crashing is staggering. Usually the program blames non-American pilots for most of the crashes. In any case, you may not have a choice of air traveling in the future. In the future, you may have to take that ‘doomed’ Chinese passenger jets to travel, even in America. Chinese passenger jet makers may bail out surely-bankrupt Boeing as early as 5 years after they start business.


          • Fugu says:

            And that’ not forgetting atrocious anti customer “customer service” United Airlines. Nothing great about American management or customer service. America “number one”? Hmm .. that requires a reall really serious thought.


        • Fugu says:

          This troll is under CIA’s directive to repeat the lie that anything Chinese made is “poorly made”. That if such lies are repeated often enough, it become “true” when enough unthinking and ignorant people believes such repetitive mantra as true. What’s so great about a people whose CIA goes about smearing it’s “enemies”. The world now knows the CIA for what it is : It’s a smear machine. That widely known fact is the best best negative PR the CIA and America can heap upon itself.


    • chankaiyee2 says:

      I usually regard you as a good boy with kind heart though with biased views on rising China, but this comment of yours has entirely changed my view. It seems you are happy and even hope that there will be a crash of China- or Russia-made airliner.

      Lots of people will die in a crash so that China and Russia are making great efforts to ensure the quality of the airliners they will make. However, accidents cannot be entirely avoided. There are quite some crashes of Boeing’s and Airbus’s airliners. We are sad at that.

      However, you seems happy and are waiting for a crash. You are unhappy with China’s rising, but do you hate passengers on Chinese airliner so much because they are mostly Chinese people?

      “But keep trying”. What did you mean? Do you want China to keep trying to have a crash as a crash will make you happy?


      • Simon says:

        He is probably an Indian with a “west is best” mentality, a deprived and enviouse colonial whose country has a backward outlook.