Boeing Company (NYSE: BA) has extended its lead in 2012 orders over European rival Airbus SAS with a multibillion-dollar commitment from a leasing company that the Chicago-based company revealed this week in Airbus' backyard.
Boeing said Monday at Europe's largest airshow, which is being held in Farnborough, England, that it landed a $7.2 billion order from Air Lease Corp. (NYSE: AL) for 75 of its new 737 MAX single-aisle aircraft. The company has so far received more than 1,000 orders or commitments for that line, which it is promoting as a fuel-efficient alternative to its existing 737 models.
The 737 Max is an excellent addition to our portfolio and the ideal complement to our growing fleet of Next-Generation 737-800s, said Steven Udvar-Hazy, chairman and CEO of Air Lease. The 737 Max represents a step-change improvement that our airline clients need to compete in the future.
In an interview with Businessweek, Udvar-Hazy expanded on why the purchase was made at this time, in comments that were a ringing endorsement for Boeing. “The airplane we looked at last year and the first few months of this year is now a totally different plane,” the chief executive said.
The latest order adds to the lead Boeing has over Airbus for 2012 orders, net of cancellations. In the first month of the year, Boeing had 440 such orders, which compared to Airbus’ 230. According to various news sources, Boeing is also working on a large deal with the aviation leasing unit of General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE). Airbus is expected to announce deals at the air show later this week.
Boeing's splash at the Farnborough air show is a marked difference from last year, when the company was overshadowed as Airbus signed deal after deal for its A320neo line.
Boeing Company shares recently sold for $74.02, up 33 cents, or 0.45 percent, from Friday’s close on the New York Stock Exchange. The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company NV (EADS), parent company of Airbus, also traded up. Shares of EADS (Paris: EAD) were selling for €28.50, up 1.53 percent, from Friday's closing price on the Paris Bourse.