$4bn settlement fine with French, British and US authorities now enables aircraft maker Airbus to extend lead over Boeing.

Even though the fine issued to Airbus is a record-breaker, the European half of a global passenger jet duopoly can easily swallow the cost, letting the firm move on with maximising advantage over the ailing Boeing.

During October 2019, the firm had $19.8bn of gross cash and greater cash flow is now expected. The fine will eat up a significant amount of available funds, but Airbus will not suffer much. Billions wasted in paying the fine will detract from future projects, yet such is the scale of Airbus, recouping the fine poses few serious problems.

With Boeing still mired in the 737 MAX scandal, causing the plane to be grounded since March 2019, the settling of the corruption case means the way is clear for Airbus to win vital orders over the Seattle company.

A clear-out of senior executives in charge when payments are claimed to have been made to Saudi Arabia to secure a contract will help. That the fine would run into billions of dollars has long been accepted, helping the replacement management to assure investors the costs will not inflict meaningful long-term damage.

A struggling Boeing is a business opportunity unlikely to be repeated any time soon. The winding up of the bribery case should now serve as motivation to capitalise on what is likely to be a relatively short-lived opportunity to forge ahead.

Airbus must overcome internal problems to exploit circumstances fully

Airbus has for a while beaten Boeing on aircraft deliveries. Now, Boeing faces another tumultuous year, and, with no set date for the return of flight worthiness to the 737 MAX, the way is clear for Airbus to win over long-standing Boeing clients.

Doing this will still not be easy, however. Airbus has its own problems: the new A321neo is not expected to overcome production problems until the end of 2021, giving precious time to Boeing to make vital progress.

If Boeing can get the 737 MAX flying again before the year is out, the issues facing Airbus will suddenly become somewhat more pressing, both financially and timewise.

Yet recovering from a bribery scandal is a great deal easier than the company brand being associated with air crash disasters. It should still be possible to persuade clients of Boeing to switch allegiances before 2021 commences.

Airbus possesses both the resources and time to ensure problems are solved quickly. Success will help interested parties forget about the multi-billion-dollar bribery fine.

Latest reports from

Or to search over 50,000 other reports please visit

MarketLine Report Store

MarketLine is a sister company of this website.