Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer forcefully rejected the notion that his company or any other is benefiting from the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max fleet.
The 737 Max fleet of roughly 400 planes has been grounded across the globe since mid-March after two crashes in less than five months that killed 346 people. The grounding has forced airlines to cancel thousands of flights, driven up costs and dented airlines’ profits, while also provoking several inspections.
Boeing in the second quarter took a $4.9 billion after-tax charge to compensate airlines and make up for the expected loss in services, but final amounts are unknown as regulators haven’t yet lifted the grounding.
Boeing and Airbus are often described as holding a duopoly over the large commercial airline industry as each have owned approximately half of that market since the 1990s. Orders for each company’s airliners, however, are expected to be smaller this year as the industry faces headwinds, including a slowing global economy, climate change and safety concerns.
Airbus, Europe’s largest aerospace group, was forced to cut delivery expectations for 2019 as it grapples with manufacturing delays at its recently expanded plant in Hamburg, Germany. It has plans for delivering “around 860” planes this year, down from an original target of between 880 and 890. It recorded an adjusted operating income of 1.6 billion euros ($1.78 billion) for the third quarter of 2019.