On the opening day of the Farnborough International Airshow in England yesterday, Boeing clinched an order for 75 of its latest version of the 737 airliner and Airbus announced it is to deliver an extended-range version of its A330 wide-body passenger jet.
The chief executives of both plane makers also restated their companies' strategies in what is becoming an increasingly vocal market-share battle.
Farnborough is the premier trade show on the aerospace calendar, and Ray Conner, the new chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, used it yesterday to commit his company to winning as many orders as it can against Airbus.
"We don't go into campaigns thinking about losing or thinking about 50 or 40 [per cent]. Every campaign is a precious opportunity, and we aim to win as many as we can," said Mr Conner. "I am not going to be tied to market-share numbers … We are focused on producing and winning."
Tensions have risen after Airbus said it aimed to keep 60 per cent of the narrow-body market, which is regarded as a principal source of cash for both companies. Mr Conner's predecessor, Jim Albaugh, said this month that Boeing would defend a more traditional 50 per cent market share.
Mr Conner was speaking as Los Angeles-based Air Lease Corporationannounced an order for 60 Boeing 737 Max 8 and 15 B737 Max 9 airliners, with a list value of US$7.2 billion (Dh26.44bn), although purchasers rarely pay the full price for an order of this size. The deal includes reconfirmation rights for 25 additional aircraft.
Boeing already has firm orders and options for more than 1,000 of its fuel-efficent B737 Max, and is seeking to replicate the success of Airbus when the European company unveiled its fuel-efficient A320neo at last year's Paris Air Show. In Paris, Airbus booked orders for 1,419 planes worth some $140bn, compared with Boeing's 805.
Bloomberg later reported Boeing was set to announce orders for a further 100 B737 Max jets at the show, from General Electric's jet-leasing subsidiary, GE Capital Aviation Services. The list value of that deal would be $9.25bn.
Meanwhile, Airbus said its partial redesign of the A330 would increase the maximum amount of fuel at take-off to extend its range. The upgraded aircraft, with a range of 13,060 kilometres, would then be capable of non-stop connecting of new city pairs such as London-Tokyo, Frankfurt-Cape Town, and Beijing-Melbourne.
The revamp comes as arch-rival Boeing is pondering a new version of its 787 Dreamliner. Mr Conner said Boeing remained "absolutely committed" to bringing out a stretch 787 and a revamped 777, but declined to give a specific target date for delivery, saying he was "talking to customers" to establish what they wanted from the new aircraft. Airbus said it hoped to announce during this week's air show a customer for the enhanced A330, due to come into service in mid-2015.
"We've already had three airlines and one leasing company saying 'can't you get it for early 2015?'," said John Leahy, the Airbus chief executive in charge of sales. "We could maybe get it a few months early, but summer 2015 is the target for now."
Meanwhile, stoking the febrile atmosphere, Reuters speculated on new orders for Airbus.
"Airbus will be looking for a long-awaited new order for its A350-1000 mini-jumbo at this week's Farnborough Airshow, with Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific tipped as most likely to end a three-year order drought," the news agency reported, quoting "industry sources".
"Cathay Pacific has 36 of the A350-900 on order, and may add on further orders for the stretched A350-1000," added Reuters.
iPad users can follow our twitterfeed via Flipboard - just search for Ind_Insights on the app.