Exchange-rate Misalignments in Duopoly: The Case of Airbus and Boeing


  • We are grateful to Matthieu Crozet and to an anonymous referee for helpful remarks on a previous version of this paper. All errors remain ours.


We examine the effect of exchange-rate misalignments on competition in the market for large commercial aircraft. This market is a duopoly where players compete in dollar-denominated prices while one of them, Airbus, incurs a large fraction of its costs in euro. We estimate price elasticities for big aircraft, and construct a simulation model to investigate how companies adjust their prices to deal with the effects of a temporary misalignment and how this affects profit margins and volumes. We conclude that, due to the duopolistic nature of the aircraft market, Airbus will pass only a small part of the exchange-rate fluctuations on to customers. Moreover, due to features specific to the aircraft industry, such as customer switching costs and learning-by-doing, even a temporary departure of the exchange rate from its long-run equilibrium level may have permanent effects on the industry.