For many years, the duopoly for Boeing and Airbus has produced healthy competition that has resulted in better airplanes, innovation, and efficiency. We all agree that healthy competition benefits everyone. Yes, there have been some squabbles between Boeing and Airbus, but they will agree in private that having a competent competitor around has made each a better company.
The competitive landscape is now changing with the emergence of some new players in the single aisle market long dominated by the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320. Bombardier will soon be delivering its C-series airplane that will compete in the same space. The Chinese COMAC C-919 and the Russian Irkut MS-21 already have entered the competition and snagged some early orders. Many expect Embraer to also enter in the near future. Will the industry be able to support five or six players? I’ve asked some various aerospace executives in the last six months, and the general consensus is that yes, the market can support this many players, but it will force each company to become more efficient and push each to continue to innovate.
Overall, I see this as a good thing. In fact, the Bombardier C-series pushed Airbus to introduce the A320 neo, which has already generated more than 1,000 orders. This success has pushed Boeing to decide to re-engine the 737. Increased competition is already having an impact, and I suspect that the entry of additional players will continue to move the industry forward on a positive track. Let the games begin!
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