There’s a lot of talk about how Airbus will probably use some of its Chinese memoranda of understanding on 160 aircraft to get past Boeing’s remarkable 2007 sales figure of 1,413 net orders. In fact, talking to the Seattle Times, Scott Carson gets mildly irritated about the whole thing. But my colleague Max Kingsley-Jones has done a nice piece of analysis showing that Airbus doesn’t necessarily need those China aircraft to get ahead.Max’s story shows that Airbus has a declared net figure at the moment of around 1,200 (noting in particular that more than 100 of the A350 XWB orders are replacements for earlier A350 orders).
So Airbus needs to find something like 200 firm net orders over the next 12 days if it is to take the lead when it declares its hand on 16 January. Without China that might look tricky – but not so, since Max has identified 690 ‘commitments’ for Airbus in 2007 that it has not so far declared as firm.
And that’s without anything that is so far totally unannounced. Don’t forget that in January 2007 Airbus came up with 11 orders covering 111 aircraft that it booked in late 2006. And that was just in order to make its figure – which was still below Boeing – as respectable as it wanted to be.
So I’d say that if the canny Mr Leahy wants to beat Boeing’s count for 2007 then he most certainly will do. And I reckon that China will not be in there, but the big Dubai Aerospace Enterprise order will be, partly because DAE is in a hurry and will have been happy to put pen to paper.