PARIS — Boeing suffered a fresh setback at the opening of the Paris Airshow on Monday as the U.S. planemaker’s engine supplier revealed a delay affecting its all-new 777X jet, while Airbus targeted the middle of the market with a rival plane.
GE Aviation said it had found unexpected wear in a component for the GE9X engine it is making for Boeing’s 777X, the world’s largest twin-engine jet, forcing a delay of several months while it redesigns and tests the part.
The aerospace industry’s biggest annual event, which runs through this coming Sunday and alternates with Britain’s Farnborough Airshow, traditionally is a slugging match between Airbus and Boeing in the $150 billion a year commercial aircraft market.
But this year Boeing still is grappling with the grounding of its top-selling 737 MAX aircraft in March after two deadly crashes, while European arch-rival Airbus is dealing with the fallout from a long-running corruption scandal.
Airbus used the show to launch a long-range version of its A321neo jet, aiming to carve out new routes for airlines with smaller planes and steal a march on Boeing’s owns plans for another potential all-new jet, the NMA.
“We can fly from northeastern Asia into south Asia, from the Middle East to Bali or from Japan deep into Australia, and so on,” Airbus chief salesman Christian Scherer said.
“It is therefore the lowest-risk investment for airlines on these kinds of routes.”
Analysts expect anything from 400 to 800 commercial aircraft orders and commitments at the show, compared with 959 at Farnborough last year — though it can be hard to identify truly new business against firmed-up commitments and switched models.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
While the air show focuses on commercial aircraft, developments in defense aircraft also is part of the conversation.
United Technologies Corp. CEO Greg Hayes, speaking at the air show on Monday, told CNBC that “the more we talk about technology, the more (shareholders) see the benefits, the easier this is going to be to convince people” about the proposed merger between his company and Raytheon Co.
Plans for the merger, to create Raytheon Technologies Corp., valued at $100 billion, was announced June 9. UTC is the parent of Cedar Rapids’ largest employer, Collins Aerospace.
“This is simply giving us scale from a technology standpoint to do things that we could not possibly do before, whether it’s advanced analytics, whether it’s AI, autonomy in the cockpit, cyber protection for aerospace systems. … It is phenomenal the opportunities we have,” Hayes told CNBC.
Reuters contributed to this article.