Airbus and Boeing: a Comparison Essay

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aIRBUS AND bOEING: a cOMPARISON by Jeffrey Everette Hardee

A Paper Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for PUP 598 -
Air Transportation and Regulation


September 2004 It may be argued that the next major challenge in the business of air transportation, beyond the invention of heavier-than-air flight and jet-powered planes, is the worldwide separation of the market between two mega-corporations. Airbus and Boeing currently dominate about 90% of the air transportation market with very few major competitors on the horizon. However, Canadian-based Bombardier is creeping up in its business jet market share of 27% (Bombardier press release, 12/4/2003). The competition between Airbus
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Boeing’s history dates back to the Wright Brothers as William Boeing attended the first American air meet in 1910. He incorporated his airline manufacturing company in 1916 as the Pacific Aero Products Company, but changed the name in 1917 to the Boeing Airline Company. Since then, Boeing has become known for its own list of ‘firsts’, like the delivery of the first international airmail in 1919 in a C-700, the Model 247 in 1933, the first modern passenger plane, the 707 was used in 1959 for the first transcontinental jet route, the Lunar Roving Vehicle saw operation on the moon in 1971, and the one-year anniversary in 2001 of continued human habitation in space aboard the International Space Station (ISS), signifying Boeing’s success as the ISS primary contractor (Boeing, History – Chronology). Given their multiple successes, it is not surprising that Airbus and Boeing have a number of competition factors driving their innovations. Foremost is their competition in wide-bodied commercial aircraft, as it is not only a competition between companies but also a subject of repeated trade disputes between the US and the EU. In 1992, the Bilateral Agreement for Large Civil Aircraft was aimed at limiting government subsidies due to US/Boeing concern over what they saw as an unfair advantage of Airbus in the marketplace. As a result of

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