AviationAirbus’ superjumbo A380 and Boeing’s tiny Max 7 jet met with pull back in orders.

Size matters: Planemakers Boeing, Airbus grapple with dying demand

By
|
Airbus A380-190208
Qantas’ decision to pull an order for eight of Airbus’ A380 jets puts yet another dent in superjumbo jet’s future.
Airbus A380-190208

Airbus’ A380 superjumbo faces yet another setback this week after Qantas Airways formally cancelled an outstanding order for the aircraft, pulling eight aircrafts off the order books, which has a list price in excess of US$445 million, Bloomberg reported. 

Two of the world’s largest planemakers are respectively facing down a shaky future for aircrafts on extreme ends of the size spectrum as airline customers shift focus and pull back backlog orders off the books. 

Airbus’ A380 superjumbo faces yet another setback this week after Qantas Airways formally cancelled an outstanding order for the aircraft, pulling eight aircrafts off the order books, which has a list price in excess of US$445 million, Bloomberg reported. 

But the airline said in a statement on Thursday that it will upgrade its existing fleet of 12 A380s, starting this year. 

The airline had been pushing back the 2006 commitment for the four-engine airbus aircraft for years, and had “not been part of the airline’s fleet and network plans for some time”, it said. 

Another major operator of the superjumbo, gulf carrier Emirates, may convert some or all of its most recent 20 orders for the jet into small A350s, people familiar with the matter have said. 

The airline has built a large part of its globe-spanning fleet around the aircraft, with already more than 100 in operation. 

Meanwhile, key buyers are wavering on American rival Boeing’s Max 7 jet, the smallest member of the 737 Max family. 

Canadian budget carrier Westjet Airlines is reportedly switching focus and some of its orders to larger, more fuel-efficient versions of the plane that fits better with its cost-cutting goals, the airline’s CEO Ed Sims said on Wednesday. 

The move puts a dent in Boeing’s backlog of orders for the Max 7 as other carriers veer towards bigger siblings such as the Max 8 and 10. 

The airline is postponing its initial five deliveries of the Max 7 by two years to 2021, casting a cloud of doubt over the jet’s scheduled debut later this year.

WestJet and Dallas-based Southwest Airlines are the main customers for the variant, which is the slowest-selling of Boeing's upgraded 737 planes. Southwest has ordered 30 of the Max 7 aircraft, and 219 of the Max 8.

Over the course of 2018, WestJet converted five Max 7 jets that were scheduled for short-term delivery into Max 8 models, spokeswoman Laurent Stewart said in an e-mail. At the same time, WestJet also converted four Max 8 aircraft that were scheduled for delivery after 2025 into Max 7s, she said.

That amounted to a net decrease of one plane in the Max 7 order, in addition to the delivery delay.

The Max 7 jets can seat between 130 and 150 passengers, while the Max 8 can accommodate as many as 178 passengers in a dual-class cabin, with the Max 10 carrying up to 204.


JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI