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Demand for Airliners Soars: ‘We Cannot Make Planes Fast Enough’

Airbus CEO sees demand continuing to outstrip supply as European plane maker accelerates output and pulls further ahead of Boeing

U.S. plane maker Boeing and European rival Airbus collectively secured over 1,000 firm orders at this year’s Paris Air Show. WSJ’s George Downs explains what these orders can tell us about the state of the duopoly, and the health of the aviation industry. 

LE BOURGET, France—Economies are wobbling around the world, but that isn’t deterring travelers clamoring for airplane tickets.

The voracious postpandemic demand for flying doesn’t show signs of cooling soon, according to aviation executives who gathered at this week’s Paris Air Show. They point to recent large aircraft orders such as Indian budget carrier IndiGo’s record 500-jet deal earlier this week.

“There is economic slowdown, but airlines do not see a slowdown of bookings,” said Guillaume Faury, chief executive of Airbus EADSY 1.87%increase; green up pointing triangle, the world’s biggest commercial jet maker. “And they continue to see a very strong demand with high prices.”

That demand has collided with the industry’s limited ability to quickly increase production of planes. Airbus and rival Boeing BA 0.13%increase; green up pointing triangle have faced constraints on the supply of things such as engines, chips and workers. Both have long order backlogs.

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Video: Boeing, Airbus and the Battle for the Perfect Plane

Many airlines are looking to renew their fleets to meet greater demand and to buy more fuel-efficient planes

As airlines head to the 2023 Paris Air Show on the hunt for the perfect plane, WSJ’s George Downs explores what advantages European plane maker Airbus has over its American rival Boeing in getting aircraft orders.

Excerpt from WSJ
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Pete Buttigieg Warns of Flight Delays as 5G Deadline Looms

Airlines have until July 1 to update equipment or face restrictions on landing in poor visibility conditions

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is warning of the potential for air-travel disruption ahead of a deadline for airlines to retrofit equipment to avoid potential interference from 5G wireless signals.

Aircraft that haven’t gone through the necessary equipment changes won’t be cleared to land in certain weather conditions when visibility is low starting July 1, when U.S. wireless companies plan to boost their 5G service to higher power levels.

“There’s a real risk of delays or cancellations,” Buttigieg said in an interview. “This represents one of the biggest—probably the biggest—foreseeable problem affecting performance this summer.”

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Airbus Sells 500 Jets to India’s IndiGo in Record Aircraft Deal

The $50 billion agreement, at list prices, opens the Paris Air Show as demand for air travel surges IndiGo’s Airbus deal surpasses in size an agreement reached by Air India earlier this year. 

LE BOURGET, France—Indian discount airline IndiGo agreed to buy 500 Airbus increase; green up pointing triangle jets, marking the largest commercial jet deal in civil-aviation history as travel rebounds after the height of the pandemic.

The firm order for the A320 family of narrow-body aircraft is valued at $50 billion at the most recently available list prices before customary discounts that can top 50%.

Global airline traffic is fast approaching prepandemic levels. With plane makers Airbus and Boeing struggling to keep up, carriers are ordering planes for delivery as many as 12 years out, far longer than during previous booms.

IndiGo’s firm order came on Monday during the first day of the Paris Air Show, an annual aviation-industry trade show typically punctuated with deals touted by Airbus and Boeing.

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  • Demand for Airliners Soars: ‘We Cannot Make Planes Fast Enough’

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  • Video: Boeing, Airbus and the Battle for the Perfect Plane

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  • Pete Buttigieg Warns of Flight Delays as 5G Deadline Looms

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