Boeing wins $13.5-bn MAX jets deal as Farnborough opens

Boeing wins $13.5-bn MAX jets deal as Farnborough opens

At Farnborough, US titan Boeing and its European arch-rival Airbus will battle for supremacy as they declare their latest multi-billion-dollar jet orders
At Farnborough, US titan Boeing and its European arch-rival Airbus will battle for supremacy as they declare their latest multi-billion-dollar jet orders. Photo: Christof STACHE / AFP
Source: AFP

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US aerospace giant Boeing on Monday fired the first shot in an orders battle with European rival Airbus at Farnborough airshow, clinching a $13.5-billion deal for 100 MAX planes from Delta Airlines in a huge vote of confidence for the crisis-hit jet.

The deal marks a huge turnaround for the MAX jet which had suffered two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019.

Outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meanwhile opened the prestigious five-day event as the avation sector plots its recovery from heavy Covid fallout.

US carrier Delta lodged its first ever order for medium-haul MAX aircraft, with options for 30 more of the fuel-efficient planes as it seeks to replace its ageing fleet and cut damaging emissions.

Boeing revealed also that Japanese airline ANA had agreed to purchase 20 of its smaller MAX 8 jets -- worth $2.4 billion -- plus two 777-8 freight planes.

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Global aviation's Farnborough airshow opens Monday amid a sweltering heatwave, with the sector aided by a modest recovery in air traffic and with Ukraine boosting defence budgets.

'More sustainable future'

"The Boeing 737-10 will be an important addition to Delta's fleet as we shape a more sustainable future for air travel, with an elevated customer experience, improved fuel efficiency and best-in-class performance," said Delta chief executive Ed Bastian.

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The news comes as airlines worldwide seek to replace ageing fleets with fuel-efficient planes that emit less carbon dioxide.

The first visitors to Farnborough, southwest of London, were meanwhile hit by scorching temperatures amid Europe's ongoing heatwave.

The order of 100 737 MAX jets by Delta is a major vote of confidence in the plane that suffered two crashes
The order of 100 737 MAX jets by Delta is a major vote of confidence in the plane that suffered two crashes. Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP
Source: AFP

Defence aerospace companies are also expected to emerge as big winners, with Russia's invasion of Ukraine boosting spending on nations' armed forces.

Russian companies have been banned from Farnborough due to the war.

The event coincides with fast-moving political turmoil in Britain after Johnson's recent announcement that he is stepping down as Conservative party leader, sparking a fractious contest to replace him also as prime minister.

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'Handing over controls'

"This government believes in aviation and its power to bring jobs and growth to the entire country," Johnson said Monday as the event opened.

"After three years in the cockpit... I am now handing over the controls seamlessly to someone else. I don't know who," he added, sparking laughter from delegates.

Johnson also said that the government was "investing massively in defence".

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke at the Farnborough Airshow
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke at the Farnborough Airshow. Photo: Frank Augstein / POOL/AFP
Source: AFP

This year's event -- one of the world's largest civilian and defence shows -- is the first global aviation get-together since the Paris airshow in 2019, before Covid hit.

Farnborough was cancelled in 2020 as the Covid health crisis grounded aircraft and ravaged the sector.

Global air traffic is gradually recovering and in May reached more than two-thirds of its pre-pandemic level, according to the International Air Transport Association.

That recovery has however faced headwinds from rocketing inflation fuelled by historically high energy prices and higher wages, while staff shortages constrain airports and spark flight cancellations.

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Air displays

Ahead of the event, Britain issued a historic red warning for extreme heat, with southern England temperatures potentially exceeding 40C on Monday or Tuesday for the first time.

It comes as visitors to Farnborough will witness air displays by Britain's Red Arrows and South Korea's Black Eagles, as well as from the US-made F-35 stealth fighter.

Airbus and Boeing are showcasing their latest twin-aisle passenger aircraft, the A350-900 and the 777X.

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Source: AFP

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