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Airbus turns a Boeing plane into Pinocchio in ad designed to debunk the rival’s claims

Skift Take

It’s rare to see the companies so blatantly go toe-to-toe over their global competition, but neither ad touches on what’s most important to customers – seat room and comfort.

— Samantha Shankman

Airbus and Boeing, the world’s largest manufacturers of commercial passenger aircraft, have clashed over the performance of their newest planes.

This week Airbus accused its rival of making exaggerated claims about the fuel efficiency of the most recent variants of both its 737 and 747.

An advertisement taken out by the Toulouse-based firm in Aviation Week on Monday included a photograph of a Boeing aircraft with a protruding nose – a reference to the fictional character Pinocchio.

It states: “Our competition, it seems, has begun to exaggerate the capabilities of its ‘latest technology’ 737 and 747 aircraft, both of which are derivatives of 1960s designs…The [Airbus] A320neo is the fastest-selling aircraft in the history of civil aviation, with more than 1,500 orders in less than two years, and the A380 has captured 80 per cent share in the very large passenger aircraft market. No wonder they’re sleepless in Seattle.”

According to John Leahy, Airbus sales chief, it was published in response to an advert by Boeing claiming its planes held a massive advantage.

“They are blatantly misrepresenting the truth by orders of magnitude,” Mr Leahy told Reuters. “What is going on is just over the top.”

Marc Birtel, a spokesman for Boeing, defended its own advertising. He said: “We believe in – and history has shown – the superior performance of our products and services. We stand behind our performance claims.”

With high oil prices and dwindling profits putting pressure on airlines, both manufacturers recently announced new fuel-efficient variants of their most popular models.

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