Loyal followers of this blog will recall that on 5 January last year I stunned the world by correctly predicting that, contrary to all received wisdom, Airbus would still overtake Boeing's 2005 order total despite being way behind with only days to go. (OK, not stunned exactly, and possibly you don't recall exactly, but anyhow...)
Flushed with success, I'm going to have another stab at predicting what will happen when Airbus announces its 2006 figures in 7 days time. You'll know that Boeing has already put down its 2006 marker at 1,044 net orders (1,050 gross).
Airbus' problem, obviously, is that it can't possibly catch up (..I mean it can't...can it?) Its most recent figure was released 30 November and declared 635 orders in 2006 by then. In December it added these:
- Qantas - 8 x A380
- Singapore - 9 x A380
- Silkair - 11 x A320
- Lufthansa - 7 x A340-600
- AerCap - 20 x A330-200
And in January, it has so far added these below which it put 2006 dates against:
- Grupo Marsans - 12 x A330
- SALE - 20 xA320
- Pegasus - 2 x A350 and 6 x A330
- Interjet - 10 x A320
So that's 105 more firm orders in 2006 - taking the total to 740. Take off a handful to give the Airbus net figure and you will end up with a figure just over a 40% market share (if the net figure is 730 then it comes in at 41.1%).
And my theory is that that is basically the figure that Airbus will hit. Why? Because for several years now John Leahy has very publicly said that Airbus wants a stable market share of "40-60%". So long as he hits the 40% then he can shrug off 2006 as Airbus' annus horribilis and return to the fray in 2007 - starting with the AirAsia order for 50 two days ago.