SEATTLE - Air shows are where airplane makers like Boeing and Airbus go to make headlines every year around this time. The Farnborough Air Show near London is wrapping up. Next year, everybody will be back in Paris as the two big events trade off every year.
So what's the tally on show orders so far, and does it really matter? The reality is that orders come in year round, but since Paris and Farnborough are in Airbus' back yard, the French-based plane maker has long been accused of holding orders back to announce at the show with the world's aviation press and airline executives in attendance.
Based on that, things are looking pretty good for Airbus, with 288 Firm orders, all for the smaller A320 and A320-NEO series of jets that compete against the Boeing 737 and the upcoming 737-MAX.
But there are also MOUs, Memorandums of Understanding, that an order will be finalized in the future, and "order commitments" and "options" that allow an airline to reserve a place in line for future production without having to shell out major cash. It's within that often fuzzy language that the blurring begins.
For the Farnborough show, Boeing has 56 new firm orders announced this week. Add to that a 2013 commitment from Qatar Airways for the new 777X that has now been turned into a firm order, and Boeing's Farnborough total goes to 106. Add in new commitments and Boeing's total goes to 201.
Airbus tops out at 402 all-in. Airbus received no firm orders for twin aisle, also known as wide bodied jets, but did receive 89 commitments that included the newly announced A330 NEO, standing for new engine option.
But look at the entire year to date and it's a bit of a different story. Firm orders for Boeing stand at 755 so far through 2014, 578 for Airbus.