Wall Street Breakfast: Battle For The Skies

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Wall Street Breakfast: Battle For The Skies
Wall Street Breakfast: Battle For The Skies

The aerospace and travel industries are setting their sights on the Farnborough Air Show, which takes place this week for the first time since the pandemic.

 

More than 80,000 people are expected to attend the five-day event, where more than a thousand exhibitors will showcase their products and aviation services. With demand for flights soaring this summer, much of the focus will be on manufacturing giants Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Airbus (OTCPK:EADSY), which hope to pick up some big orders as airline passenger numbers bounce back.

 

Backdrop: It’s been a bruising past few years for the aviation titans, but Boeing is clearly coming into the contest on the back wheel. Even before the pandemic, the U.S. manufacturer was in crisis mode following two fatal crashes of the 737 MAX in 2018/19, and the plane is still awaiting approval to return to the Chinese market. Boeing is also dealing with quality issues related to its 787 Dreamliner (deliveries have been largely halted since late 2020), while it’s unlikely that the stretched 737 MAX 10 variant – which is coming to Farnborough – will be certified by regulators by the end of the year.

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On the other side of the aisle, Airbus has moved up to business class, according to aviation data provider Cirium, conquering nearly 60% of the narrow-body segment with its A320.

 

The French planemaker has also scored 259 total orders this year, compared to the 186 of its U.S. rival. All those dynamics can be clearly seen in their stock prices, with Boeing shares plunging 60% since the Paris Air Show in June 2019 (which alternates every year with Farnborough) and Airbus shares off by 20% over the same period.

Go deeper: The aviation titans will be asked how well they can make good on delivery commitments as engine and parts shortages become the latest challenge in ramping up output. Make sure to tune in at the end of the week as there are generally last-minute announcements that can change the order tally and possibly offer Boeing an opportunity to turn the corner.

 

Decarbonization strategies will also be in the spotlight at the show, with several panels focusing on sustainable fuels, low-emissions technology and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircra