Boeing is set to hit back in its orders battle with rival Airbus at the upcoming Farnborough airshow, looking to take the lead in the key short-haul plane market despite a weak global economic outlook.
"The wide consensus is that this will be a Boeing show," said analyst Christophe Menard at financial group Kepler Capital Markets.
US giant Boeing is looking to steal a march against European rival Airbus in the market for single-aisle, fuel-efficient commercial planes, touting is upgraded 737 MAX workhorse against the new more fuel efficient A320neo series.
"Boeing will definitely announce more aircraft than we do at Farnborough but I would only ask everybody ... not to just look at this year's" orders, Airbus chief commercial officer John Leahy said last week as the group unveiled plans to build its first ever US assembly plant in a bid to keep up the pressure on Boeing.
"Look at the two years 2011 and 2012. We'll out-sell Boeing in total in those two years. We'll out-sell Boeing in the neo versus the Max in those two years in which both have been offered to sell -- and that will keep us in a very good position."
Boeing's 737 MAX is an upgraded and more fuel-efficient version of the 737, the world's best-selling commercial airplane. The first 737 MAX is scheduled to be delivered in 2017 and is a response to the Airbus A320neo.
Airbus says the A320neo, due to enter service in late 2015, will use 15 percent less fuel than its current best performing A320 model.
"The short-haul arena will be very interesting ... because Boeing is going to reveal more information about their plans for the 737 MAX family," said independent commercial aviation expert John Strickland.
"In some ways, they were put on the back foot because Airbus announced the neo which went for stunning orders at the Paris airshow in 2011."
Strickland told AFP: "Whether it's long-haul or short-haul, in a climate of weak economic demand especially led by Europe and with fuel prices remaining stubbornly high, airlines are always looking at ways to improve fuel efficiency. So aircraft that deliver that are going to be really, really key."
The airshow begins on July 9, with the public admitted on July 14 and 15.
Ahead of Farnborough, Australian budget carrier Virgin ordered 23 of Boeing's 737 MAX8 jets to replace the ageing 737-700 portion of its fleet.
Airbus also had some good news of its own ahead of the show with its plans to open a factory on Boeing's home turf, a gambit that would see the firm roll out its first US-built plane by 2016.
The new $600-million (485-million-euro) assembly plant, to be built in the southern port city of Mobile, Alabama, on the Gulf of Mexico, will produce the mainstay A320 family of passenger planes.
Airbus estimates 4,600 new single-aisle aircraft will be needed in the United States over the next 20 years.
Boeing has raised its 20-year forecast for global demand for airliners by $500 billion, with the market doubling to 34,000 aircraft worth $4,500 billion.
At Farnborough, the long-haul commercial sector will also be in focus, as Boeing seeks to counter Airbus' A380 superjumbo offer with its 747-8, an extended version of the successful 747.
Airbus will also be looking to seal more orders for its A350, its response to the 787 Dreamliner, which is now flying after long technical delays.
The biennial Farnborough show is a traditional battleground for Airbus and Boeing but both manufacturers now face increased competition from the likes of Brazil's Embraer and Canada's Bombardier. China and Russia are also increasingly getting in on the act.
Farnborough also sees the announcement of orders for military jets but with governments slashing defence budgets to help reduce huge public deficits, major deals are set to be scarce.
"We expect cautious commentary from defence companies at Farnborough, reflecting concerns about the outlook for Western defence budget cuts and the increasingly likely prospect" of US cutbacks, UBS bank analysts said in a note to clients.
"We believe the airshow will reflect defence contractors' efforts to diversify their revenues away from traditional markets towards emerging markets and countries where defence spending is still growing," they added.
Source: AFP Global Edition