Airbus & Boeing

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Airbus vs. Boeing Stuart Taylor Chris Tillmanns November 13, 2002 The airline manufacturing industry consists of only two firms, Airbus in Toulouse, France and the Chicago-based Boeing. Two recent research and development moves at the two firms offer an insight into the positioning strategy that each is taking in the future market place. It seems the two firms are accenting two niche markets with a pair of flagship products, neither of which are in direct competition with each other. This will allow for the firms to stave off price competition in the short term by differentiating product lines, which is desirable given the recent increase in buyer power gained by lowcost airlines. Current Market Position Airbus Airbus controls…show more content…
2 Current Aircraft Market The airline industry is in a downturn. In 2001, the International Air Transport Association had a net loss of $17 billion, which is more than the industry has made in its entire history. 3 This has led to a grim short-term outlook for the airline manufacturers, and subsequently Boeing has cut 2002 production in half4 and Airbus by one fourth. 5 This, however, is not necessarily a good measure of the industry’s condition, since both companies have an extensive backlog that can be used to maintain these new targets. Although the total backlog of 2,783 planes is worth an estimated $172 million dollars6 it is also somewhat uncertain due to lax cancellation penalties negotiated by the airlines during the boom years. Furthermore, the rise of low-cost airlines does not directly translate into a larger market for aircraft due to the fact that the success of low end carriers tends to reduce the demand for aircraft by the large carriers.7 It is important to note however, that this is not a permanent depression in the market, but a reflection of the cyclical nature of the industry. Future Airline Industry Outlook Both Airbus and Boeing, foresee dramatic growth in the airline industry over the next twenty years, with the firms forecasting average annual growth of revenuepassenger-kilometers at 4.2 and 4.9% respectively. This will be generated by lower ticket prices and

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