SAO PAULO Nov 26 Airbus aims to have more
airliners operating in Latin America than its U.S. rival Boeing
for the first time next year, the European company's top
executive in the region said on Tuesday.
The reversal of fortune for Airbus, the commercial aircraft
subsidiary of European Aeronautic, Defense and Space Co
, underscores its fierce battle with Chicago-based
Boeing Co for one of the world's fastest-growing travel
Airbus expects its fleet will make up 52 percent of the two
companies' total aircraft in the region in 2014 after outselling
Boeing in five of the last six years. The Airbus share is up
from 23 percent a decade ago and just 12 percent in 2000.
"We expect our market share should continue to increase in
the coming years," said Rafael Alonso, executive vice-president
for Airbus in Latin America, at a news conference. "A major
achievement for us will be getting to 60 percent."
Boeing, which vastly outsold Airbus until about 15 years
ago, continues to have an active global fleet about 50 percent
bigger than Airbus, according to market surveys. But the Airbus
surge in Latin America shows how quickly the tables can turn.
At the end of 2010, Airbus launched its A320neo single-aisle
aircraft. The model had a new engine that promised dramatic fuel
savings a full year before Boeing responded with its re-engined
"They came out first with their 'neo', which gave them a
headstart on sales," said Donna Hrinak, Boeing's most senior
executive in Brazil, at another event in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.
"We're keeping things competitive."
The region is a key battleground as both planemakers expect
strong growth over the next two decades. Airbus projects
passenger traffic in the region will expand an average 6 percent
per year, second only to the Middle East. Boeing forecasts
annual growth of 6.9 percent.
A Latin American fleet of over 1,200 planes will have to
more than double by 2032 to keep up with demand, Alonso said at
a news conference in Sao Paulo. Factoring in the renewal of old
aircraft, Airbus forecasts delivery of 2,307 planes in the next
20 years, he said, focusing on airliners with more than 100
seats and cargo planes capable of carrying more than 10 tons.
Boeing's forecasts are even more aggressive, projecting
Latin America's fleet to nearly triple by 2032 to 3,790 planes.