Airbus Hits Boeing Head-On In New American Airlines A321XLR Orders

Airbus
An Airbus A350-1000 performs during the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France June 18, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol)

Boeing's archrival, Airbus, has drawn first blood in the rivalry to get new orders as American Airlines ordered a set of 50 A321XLR jets. The said planes are recognized as direct competitors to the grounded 737 Max models.

Airbus confirmed reports about the order on Wednesday, in an official statement on its website. The A321XLR is a long-distance flight aircraft that could fly in routes previously less navigated by other airliners.

Industry analysts said the new Airbus orders is just one of the latest problems that Boeing has to overcome as the 737 Max jets remain grounded worldwide.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has yet to announce when it will release a re-certification for the planes.

Aside from the grounding of the 737 Max planes that has since affected multiple airlines around the world, the Airbus rivalry is a huge thorn in the neck of Boeing.

A Business Insider report on Thursday suggested that American Airlines' shift away from the troubled company could send a critical message to other airline companies.

The global aviation industry, as with other industries, gets signals from top companies in the circle. American Airlines' decision to order from Airbus amid the 737 Max fiasco could trigger other aviation firms to follow suit.

In this scenario, Boeing is expected to lose more than it already lost ever since the two deadly crashes in October and March led to the 737 Max jets' grounding. The said Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes took a total of 346 lives.

Faulty data fed into the flight control system of the Boeing 737 Max jets led to the fatal crashes. The fiasco has since dragged down revenue, orders, stocks, and resulted in a massive billion-dollar loss during Q1 2019.

Airbus is not done in the fight towards claiming the top spot in global aviation. Multiple outlets reported that the company is willing to challenge Boeing in the secret $24 billion deal with British Airways owner IAG SA for the 737 planes.

According to Bloomberg, Sales Chief Christian Scherer said during a media briefing on Thursday that the company didn't get an opportunity to challenge the IAG deal. Since the negotiations were hampered due to the crashes, Airbus is now ready to compete for a potential agreement with IAG.

"We are taking the position that we would like to bid for this business," Scherer said, adding that IAG is considered by Airbus as "a very good customer." Scherer reiterated that Boeing's rival has the intention to bid for the deal.

Airbus easily overtook Boeing during this year's Paris Air Show in orders, with estimates indicating that the former surpassed the latter by $10 billion in deals.

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