After years of big-ticket plane orders, this week's Paris Airshow is expected to see rather fewer multi-billion-dollar deals and rather more nervous expressions as planemakers face the daunting task of producing $1.8 trillion of jets already sold. Ivor Bennett reports from Paris.
Steep take off, sharp banks - aviation eye candy at its best. Airbus putting its faith in the A350 in the bid for customers at this year's Paris Air show. SOUNDBITE (English) IVOR BENNETT, REUTERS REPORTER, SAYING: "The rivalry between Boeing and Airbus at this year's event is as fierce as ever. But something is lacking from their traditional headline race for orders, and that is the bumper sales themselves." Instead of flooding in, this time it's more of a trickle. Indonesian flag carrier Garuda committing to 60 aircraft from Boeing, and 30 from Airbus. The latter also securing a commitment from Saudi Arabian airlines for 50 new jets. But even so, a far cry from the predictions of Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier. SOUNDBITE (English) FABRICE BREGIER, CEO AND PRESIDENT, AIRBUS, SAYING: "It's not a concern, as the trend remains extremely positive. But it is clear that two years ago, four years ago, we launched new projects, new programs, and so there was a rush for airlines to book their first positions. What is a concern though is the backlog that's generated 12,000 jets between them, from orders worth 1.8 trillion dollars. Boeing's Marketing Vice President Randy Tinseth effectively firing the starting gun in the race for production. SOUNDBITE (English) RANDY TINSETH, VP MARKETING, BOEING, SAYING: "All of this business is all about building aircraft. This year we expect to deliver between 750-755 aircraft. It should be a record for us, and clearly it will outpace our competition." In response, Airbus is increasing output on its A320 family by 20 percent over the next two years who comes out on top could depend on technology, says Accenture's John Schmidt. SOUNDBITE (English) JOHN SCHMIDT, AEROSPACE ANALYST, ACCENTURE, SAYING: "Ultimately there's going to be the underlying foundation of software skills, cyber skills, mobility, analytics, internet of things, and ultimately the talent that has to come together to bring this all together. That's where I think the focus is really going to be over the next couple of years." Although it's taken a backseat this year, the longterm race for orders is still very much alive. Airbus raising its 20 year forecast by 4 percent in light of Boeing's cut last week projecting sales of over 32,000 jets.