The Air Current

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Los Angeles — The pandemic’s winter of self-preservation has given way to a summer season for fighting again between Boeing and Airbus, defined by the results of their long-term product strategies decisions, geopolitical turmoil and an acute industry hangover. The years that will immediately follow 2020’s industry collapse will be marked by a growing imbalance between once equally-matched plane makers, a measurable shift in the industry’s tectonic plates.

Read: Jetliner diplomacy between the U.S. and China looks a long way off

Single-aisle jets dominate Airbus and Boeing’s focus. In formalizing its post-pandemic production plans, by year end, Airbus plans to build 50 single-aisle aircraft every month and is plotting a steep ramp up by mid-decade — nearly 90% higher than today. The picture looks different at Boeing, where 737 Max production will rebound to 31 each month by early next year following the jet’s protracted grounding, capped by outstanding re-certification of the 737 Max inside China.

“There is…very much a move that Airbus believes it is capturing a dominant share” with demand for variants of the A321neo, said John Plueger, Chief Executive of Air Lease Corporation in a one-on-one interview in Los Angeles with The Air Current last week. “So this is the time. This is the time to go for it. And that’s actually a very natural market decision to take.”

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Jon Ostrower is Editor-in-chief of The Air Current. Prior to launching TAC in June 2018, Ostrower served as Aviation Editor for CNN Worldwide, guiding the network's global coverage of the business and operations of flying. Ostrower joined CNN in 2016 following four and half years at the Wall Street Journal. Based first in Chicago and then in Washington, D.C. he covered Boeing, aviation safety and the business of global aerospace. Before that, Ostrower was editor of the award-winning FlightBlogger for Flightglobal and Flight International Magazine covering the development of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and other new aircraft programs from 2007 to 2012. Ostrower, a Boston native, graduated from The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs with a bachelor's degree in Political Communication. He is based in Seattle.

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