PARIS, France: Airbus saw more cancellations than orders this year after Norwegian Air withdrew business worth billions of dollars, according to company data released on Friday.
The airline has obtained an Irish court agreement to cancel all 88 aircraft it ordered from Airbus, after Norwegian Air sought bankruptcy protection last November, with debts over $7 billion. It is also at odds with Boeing over the status of an order for 97 U.S. passenger jets.
The cancellation marks a turning point in the jet industry. Nine years ago, Airbus and Boeing went head-to-head to win Norwegian Air's business. After losing the main order to Boeing, Airbus came up with a last-minute plan to sell 100 of its planes to help the airline set up its own leasing operation when travel demand was at its peak, sources said.
However, the bet did not pay off. Despite growing rapidly to become Europe's third-largest low-cost airline and the biggest foreign carrier serving New York and other major U.S. cities, Norwegian's losses at its core airline, as well as plans to diversify into financing, saw its downfall and put an end to the orders for jets issued to Boeing and Airbus.
On Friday, Airbus revealed it had sold 10 A320 neos to an unidentified customer, reassigning part of the fleet ordered by Norwegian and yet to be built, industry sources said.
Financiers say both jet manufacturers are expected to retain Norwegian's deposits.
Meanwhile, Airbus said it had delivered 32 jets in February and 53 for the year, while Boeing delivered 26 jets in January.
(File photo. Credit G-R Mottez