April 14, 2024

Airbus might be the best positioned company to benefit from the ongoing struggles at its American rival Boeing — but it’s still scared it could end up in the same boat.

Airbus CFO Thomas Toepfer told CNBC that the company is “obsessed” with making sure its safety and quality standards stay high so it doesn’t have to deal with the same mess that Boeing is stuck in with the 737 Max. The planes were supposed to be the company’s future, but production delays made worse by a 737 Max 9 door plug blowout in January have turned them into a headache.

“The way I would look at it is … it’s a factor that makes us even think more, how can we make sure that these things will never happen at Airbus?” Toepfer said Thursday.

What has happened is that Airbus stock is up more than 20% so far this year, while Boeing stock is down almost 28%.

Putting the rivalry aside

Airbus told investors last month during an earnings call that the company knows it is in a “very aggressive competition” with Boeing for business from commercial airline companies. Boeing used to be the leader between the two, but since the last 737 Max crisis in 2018, Airbus has taken the industry’s top spot.

A report last week revealed that United Airlines is even leasing Airbus planes while it waits on delayed 737 Max models. But Toepfer told CNBC that his company is still sympathetic to Boeing’s struggles.

“We’re not happy with the issues that our competitor’s having,” he said. “I think it’s not helpful for the industry, and if it’s not helpful for the industry, it’s not helpful for Airbus.”

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