Boeing vs. Airbus: Why Aviation’s Biggest Rivalry Is in Flux | WSJ

Boeing vs. Airbus: Why Aviation’s Biggest Rivalry Is in Flux | WSJ


– [Narrator] This is Boeing’s 737 MAX, and this is its rival, the Airbus A320neo. These planes are at the
center of the biggest rivalry in the aviation industry.
(pleasant orchestral music) They’re both competing for the same market and are mostly used on
relatively short trips like Boston to Miami or London to Madrid. Now, also thanks to the A320neo, Airbus has had a solid year. The airliner has established
itself as a best-seller since it first made its
commercial flight in 2016. Boeing, on the other hand, has had a very rough year. The 737 MAX, which started
flying commercially in 2017, was supposed to strengthen
Boeing’s position as the world’s largest plane maker. Instead, it became a symbol
of one of the worst crises in the company’s history. What does this all mean
for the two companies that secure 99% of the
world’s large-plane orders? – It’s really two old
competitors, you know, battling it out in the ring, and they say there’s no room
in this ring for anybody else. – [Narrator] This chart shows deliveries for Boeing and Airbus
since the start of 2019. You’ll see Boeing’s total
deliveries start to fall after the March grounding of 737 MAX jets, and, as it stands now,
there’s virtually no way Boeing can deliver more
planes than Airbus this year, but Airbus might not hold
the top spot for long. – This’ll bounce back and
forward between the two companies depending on the product they’re selling, on the number of airlines
they can get on board. It really is something
you can sort of watch this go back and forward like a tide coming out and tide going in. – [Narrator] So what’s behind
this latest power shift in the aviation world? What’s happening with Boeing’s 737 MAX is a good place to start. – [Reporter] To crash into the ocean. – A Lion Air Boeing 737. – [Reporter] A devastating scene tonight. – An Ethiopian Airlines jet with 157 people onboard has crashed. – [Narrator] After two deadly
crashes in five months, Boeing’s 737 MAX became the subject of international
investigations, public scrutiny, a flood of lawsuits, and
some high-profile shakeups in the company’s leadership. – We’re gonna be issuing an
emergency order of prohibition to ground all flights of the 737 MAX 8 and the 737 MAX 9. – [Narrator] The MAX
situation has raised concerns about whether Boeing has done enough to make sure its planes are safe to fly. – Safety is our responsibility. We own it, and the work of
our team will make the 737 MAX one of the safest airplanes ever to fly. – [Narrator] The company’s
business has taken a hit. Many of those 737 MAXs are just
sitting in Boeing facilities and other storage areas around the world. As of October, the MAX crisis
had already cost Boeing $9 billion and wiped more than 40 billion off its market value. As the situation drags on, Boeing has tried to boost confidence, reiterating that safety
is its top priority. In a September press release,
CEO Dennis Muilenburg said that ensuring the safety
of the flying public, pilots, and crew is Boeing’s top priority as they work to return
the 737 MAX to service. Muilenburg was stripped of his
chairmanship on October 11th, but he is still the CEO. (pensive mallet percussion music) So does this mean Airbus is benefiting from the 737 MAX’s woes? Not necessarily. – Buying an airliner
is not like going down to your local car showroom and saying, “I don’t like a Ford,
I’ll pop down to Chevy “and see what they’ve got.” You really are in a
list, you’re in a queue that’s got a line that’s
gonna stretch back to maybe even three years if
it’s a really popular airplane. – [Narrator] Even without
the MAX situation, Airbus was already on track to
overtake Boeing’s deliveries. Now, it just appears to be happening a little sooner than expected, and that’s thanks in part to the A320neo. Airbus has gone from
producing 50 a month in 2017 to 60 the next year, with the CEO saying demand
could possibly support more than 70 a month in the near future, but it’s not all about these two planes. Airbus and Boeing make other models, and their facing challenges there, too. Airbus is phasing out its A380 model, which hasn’t been selling well, but production on it was already so low, it’s not having much of an impact on the company’s overall output. Boeing has repeatedly had to push back the first test flight of its 777X due to production problems. In a September press release, Boeing said it doesn’t
expect further delays and, quote, “we remain
fully focused on safety “as our highest priority,
as we subject the 777X “to a rigorous test program
prior to first flight.” Not that delays on new planes are unusual. Both Boeing and Airbus have faced production problems before. It’s just really bad timing for Boeing to take on another set
of issues right now. The company is still trying to get its 737 MAX back in the air after more than seven
months on the ground, and that’s just the planes. The aviation giants have
a lot of other factors to think about, too, like
geopolitics and tariffs. In October, the WTO said the U.S. can slap $7.5 billion worth of tariffs on EU-produced goods
because of the subsidies Airbus gets from the EU. In a statement, Airbus said the only way to prevent negative effects of the tariffs is for the U.S. and EU to
negotiate a settlement. There’s also Brexit, oil prices, trade wars, regulation,
and of course, competition. Supported by the Chinese government, Chinese-made planes may
soon hit the market, though it could take years
for the Chinese company known as Comac to scale up production. – The competition from the Chinese is maybe 10 years away
from becoming significant. – [Narrator] As air
travel continues to rise and both companies anticipate
growth in the coming years, whatever happens with these planes will impact how millions of
people move across the world. (pensive mallet percussion music)

14 thoughts on “Boeing vs. Airbus: Why Aviation’s Biggest Rivalry Is in Flux | WSJ

  1. Honestly, whenever I will see a 737 MAX at my gate, I will rebook my ticket and not enter that plane anymore and literally avoid it at all costs. The construction issues can be properly fixed by updating the software, the general misconception of the ration between the turbines and the plane size itself will always be there…

  2. I'm not taking any sides but Boeing is easy to fly than airbus, it's like driving a car airbus don't let you control fully by yourself.
    You can ditch plane immediately to the ground in Boeing (bcoz no fbw system, mechanical connection) .
    Think about an emergency situation like this : you've got electric failure, twin engine flameout you will have no control without electricity and you are dead because of fly by wire side stick, you cannot even glide. Yokes are mechanically connected and will save your life.

  3. the thing is Boeing is always trying to play catch up with airbus… ok fine, the rivalry is there but why put schedule before safety. Now its costing them. They better not mess up the 777X (advice from an airbus fan)

  4. I'm a bit confused. Every time she said Airbus will be having difficult times, the fact states otherwise. Using too much BUT. No proofread eh?

  5. Unbelievable! This financial journal does not even mention the problems of malicious collusion between Boeing and the American regulatory agency FAA that have come to light and certainly their risk/finance policy. American newspapers are no longer what they once were. And these murderous policies are dictated by the short-term profitability that this newspaper makes its business! Sad world.

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