The smallest members of both Airbus and Boeing's airliner product lines are struggling to gain new orders. In the case of Boeing's 717, it has to date managed to win nine customers for a total of 167 orders with 131 delivered by the end of June.

The manufacturer knows it must win new orders to sustain the 717 line. It has about three years of production at current output. The sole 717s orders this year have come from its best customer for the type, AirTran Airways. It ordered six 717s, bringing its total commitment to the aircraft to 63.

One possible new customer is Cebu Pacific of the Philippines, which is looking to replace its 12 DC-9s. However, Flight International reported last week that Cebu had selected the Airbus A319 instead of a Boeing product. That order may be announced during the show.

In April, Romanian flag carrier Tarom became the latest customer of the A318 with an order for four aircraft. In total Airbus has 83 orders for the A318 and had delivered 12 by end of June. All of the initial deliveries are powered by a version of CFM International's CFM56 engine.

In May, Airbus chief executive Noel Forgeard announced a marketing relaunch for the delayed Pratt & Whitney PW6000-powered A318 version. This is due to be certificated by the end of 2005, some three years later than originally planned, for entry into service later that year.

America West is the only remaining customer for the PW6000-powered A318 with 15 orders. Problems with the PW6000 high-pressure compressor led to most customers opted for the larger A319 instead of the A318, while some cancelled their orders.


Source: Flight Daily News