Airbus has conceded defeat to arch-rival Boeing at the Paris Airshow as a last-minute haul of almost 100 orders, including new interest from Iran, failed to close a gap opened up by the launch of Boeing's new 737 model. Ivor Bennett reports
Fortunes rise and fall at the Paris Air Show ... Boeing on the up - as Airbus lags in this year's race for orders. SOUNDBITE (English) CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER OF AIRBUS, JOHN LEAHY, SAYING: "Is this a slower show than previous years? Yes it is. Are we conceding that Boeing sold a few more aeroplanes than we did? Yes." A total of 326 net new orders and commitments for the European firm. With a late flurry. SOUNDBITE (English) CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER OF AIRBUS, JOHN LEAHY, SAYING: "Iran Air tours, we've just finished signing that, about 8 and a half minutes ago, that's 45 A320 Neos ..." Boeing's bounce came from this newcomer to the show. The 737 MAX 10 attracted 147 new orders and commitments. Taking the US planemaker's total to 571. While raising questions from some analysts over Airbus's customer profile. SOUNDBITE (English) THINK MARKETS, CHIEF MARKET ANALYST, NAEEM ASLAM, SAYING: "Yes, they are going to sell planes to Iran. But remember, Iran is still under scrutiny by the US. And if anything falls out, then you have these number of orders going to start falling out their books. The orders for Airbus are still very much dependent on geopolitics." But others noted better-than-expected activity at Paris. As in 2009 and 2011, when the industry bucked a retreating world economy. Overall production ahead, said Airbus, still looks good. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER OF AIRBUS, JOHN LEAHY, SAYING: "I think that this will be a down year for Airbus and Boeing in terms of orders. But not in deliveries. Production will be increasing through 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020." Leahy was also challenged on whether Airbus was losing momentum - after years of often beating its rival at industry gatherings. Answering: the slowdown in orders had been 'expected'.