* Boeing sees 'decent show' in terms of Farnborough orders
* No drastic changes in strategy planned
By Karen Jacobs
FARNBOROUGH, England, July 8 Boeing Co's
new commercial planes chief on Sunday played down plans by rival
Airbus to open its first U.S. assembly line for single-aisle
planes, saying airline customers cared less about where planes
are built than about the value they offer.
"You win with the best products, the best value, the best
relationships," Ray Conner told a media briefing in London a day
before the official start of the Farnborough Airshow.
Airbus, a unit of EADS, last week said it would
build an assembly line in Mobile, Alabama, that would produce
its A320 family planes. The European company said it was making
the move to position itself to win more business from American
carriers as they replace aging aircraft.
If airlines made purchase decisions based on where planes
were made, Conner said, Boeing would have 100 percent market
share in the United States instead of 80 percent.
"If Airbus can bring a better value proposition to the game,
then the U.S. airlines will take that into account," Conner
Conner, who was named to succeed Jim Albaugh as head of the
commercial planes unit late last month, said competition was no
more fierce today than it was 10 or 15 years ago. Boeing is
battling Airbus for the $100 billion-a-year aircraft market.
Conner, 57, joined Boeing in 1977 and worked his way up to
become head of sales. Albaugh, 62, who came to prominence at
Boeing's defense operations, is to retire on Oct. 1 after 37
years with the company.
Though Albaugh's retirement came as a surprise, Conner said
his predecessor had accomplished what he had set out to do as
head of commercial planes, including obtaining certification for
the 787 Dreamliner plane after years of delays and setbacks with
Conner said Boeing was expecting "a decent show" in terms of
orders at Farnborough. At last year's Paris Air Show, Airbus
took the spotlight with hundreds of orders for its upcoming
A320neo aircraft that will be equipped with more fuel-efficient
engines. Boeing later announced it would launch the 737 MAX,
which will also have upgraded engines.
Conner said there would be no drastic changes in strategy at
the Boeing commercial segment under his tenure. He also said
there was no timetable in place in terms of decisions about the
company's widebody aircraft strategy.