MEBA: Airbus and Boeing bring narrowbody battle to Middle East

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Airbus and Boeing brought their spat over the claimed capabilities of their new-generation narrowbody business jets to the show, and to a region that is potentially the biggest market for large private aircraft.

The European airframer fired the first salvo when François Chazelle, vice-president commercial at Airbus Corporate Jets, said that the A320 aircraft offered comparable range to and better cabin options than the rival 737-based Boeing Business Jet family.

"We are claiming equivalent range," he says. "They [Boeing] are only claiming that they have a higher range on paper. An oral claim is one thing, but actually delivering it is another."

Chazelle adds that Airbus can customise its cabins more effectively, provide weight estimates, calculate the performance and provide guarantees to customers based on these measurements. This means that the aircraft will perform according to what the customers have asked for instead of a paper range or maximum take-off weight, he adds.



"If you look over the last five years, we have had 60% of the deliveries," he says. "That says a lot about what the customers think of the two products.

The US airframer, however, shot back, with Boeing Business Jets president Steve Taylor saying that the Airbus claim makes "no sense when you put the published figures side by side".

"The ACJ is heavier than the BBJ, which also has a higher maximum take-off weight," says Taylor. "That means there is a significant difference in the payload, and the BBJ today has a significant range advantage over the ACJ that will continue when the Neo and Max are produced. You can't hide those facts.

"I don't understand their claims about the cabin finishing. Most BBJ and ACJ aircraft are completed at the same centres, and so there really isn't that much difference there," adds Taylor. "Our cabin is slightly longer while theirs is marginally wider, and so fundamentally there is not much of a difference there. So what are they talking about?"