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FARNBOROUGH: Airbus shrugs off customers' invisibility

Airbus ended the Farnborough air show with its firm orderbook for the year containing 69 aircraft attributed to unidentified customers.

These comprised 36 A320-family jets plus 23 A350-900s and 10 A330-900s.

While the show notably featured a series of commercial declarations centred on customers who had chosen to remain undisclosed, just one firm order – for eight A350s – was among them.

Airbus closed Farnborough with fewer unidentified firm orders in its backlog than when the show started, after naming previously-unlisted firm customers for 40 A320-family aircraft and 10 A350s.

But the airframer also obtained commitments at the show – through memoranda of understanding – covering 196 aircraft from undisclosed customers, comprising 190 single-aisle and six long-haul jets.

“At the end of the day the money’s at the bank,” Airbus chief commercial officer Eric Schulz told investors during the show.

“So disclosed, undisclosed, that doesn’t make a lot of difference. The order is there. That’s it.”

Schulz had suggested that sensitivity concerns over US trade policy had contributed to customers’ reluctance to be identified.

Airbus ended the first half, just before the show, with a total backlog of 697 aircraft assigned to undisclosed customers, of which 627 were single-aisle jets, including 565 from the re-engined A320neo family.

Undisclosed customers accounted for 70 long-haul aircraft, including 20 A330s, 14 A330neos, 26 A350s and 10 A380s.

Airbus had listed 610 aircraft, including 40 long-haul airframes, against undisclosed customers at the end of 2017.

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