March 19 - Boeing gets a $16 billion vote of confidence from European budget carrier Ryanair, a day after losing out on a mega-order from Indonesia's Lion Air to Airbus. So where do the two aircraft competitors stand in their bitter rivalry? Fred Katayama takes a look.
Boeing landed its biggest order ever from Europe - 175 single-aisle 737 planes worth nearly 16 billion dollars. Closing the deal in New York, Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary said he chose Boeing over archrival Airbus largely because the 737s offered nine more seats than Airbus's A320 plane. SOUNDBITE: MICHAEL O'LEARY, CEO, RYANAIR (ENGLISH) SAYING: "189 seats is a clear advantage over the A320's 180 seats. It means no matter what our competitors do, we have lower seat costs." The order couldn't come fast enough for beleaguered Boeing. Last week, Airbus nabbed orders for more than 400 planes, more than half of those coming from a customer that had previously bought only Boeings, Lion Air of Indonesia. And the world fleet of 787s known as the Dreamliner remains grounded because of battery issues. Boeing's commercial airplanes chief, Ray Conner, said the battery problems haven't hurt the company's ability to sell planes. SOUNDBITE: RAY CONNER, CEO, BOEING COMMERCIAL AIRPLANES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Not hard at all. You just compartmentalize that. We've got a lot of people working on the battery situation." And the numbers bear that out. Boeing had surpassed Airbus last year in orders and deliveries. And it is again leading so far this year, with 191 orders and 83 deliveries to Airbus' 181 orders and 80 deliveries. Morningstar aerospace analyst Neal Dihora: SOUNDBITE: NEAL DIHORA, AEROSPACE ANALYST, MORNINGSTAR (ENGLISH): "Which is significant because we're not even delivering 787s for Boeing, so theoretically, one can expect deliveries will be even higher for Boeing if they were delivering 787s, which are currently grounded." And Boeing could get a further lift from its loyal Irish customer. O'Leary says Ryanair will consider buying more than 100 of Boeing's next generation 737 Max airplanes.