Article Written by James Field, Daniel Sander and Tomos Howells.
Day one at Le Bourget came to an end with a much-predicted sales performance by Airbus and a very slow and depressing act by Boeing.
Here’s a quick recap of today’s Paris Air Show 2019:
Boeing: Not One Passenger Airplane Sale
It was a lukewarm start to the Paris Air Show today, starting with Boeing who offered product updates over its family programs. The presentation began with a briefing on the 737 MAX, which has been the talk of the town, even before the airshow began.
Boeing’s Greg Smith said in the briefing that it is a ‘tragedy’ that ‘weighs on all of us.’ The safe priority of the MAX is number one, as noted by Smith himself.
Kevin McAllister, the CEO of the Commercial wing, stated that Boeing is “very sorry because of the loss of lives in the Ethiopian and Lion Air accidents. Safety is sacred and a top priority of what we do. This is the most trying of times in the industry in my 30 years. It’s the most pivotal time.”
Moving away from the MAX, there was talk over the 777X and also the new NMA (New Mid-Market Aircraft). McAllister mentioned that the 777X is “making steady progress with two frames complete.”
He added that any lessons learned out of the 737 MAX will also be focused on during the development of this larger aircraft. “The 777X will be a terrific airplane to replace twin aircraft and grow new markets,” he commented.
As far as the much-expected NMA, looks like it’s far from being announced by Boeing. The manufacturer seems to be focusing on other issues at hand, while still figuring out how to properly configure this plane to capture lost ground against the Airbus A321XLR. “If we move forward, it will offer twin-aisle comfort at single-aisle economics,” says Boeing.
The first order confirmation for the manufacturer came from leasing company GECAS, who exercised options for 10 converted Boeing 777 Freighters, as well as adding 15 options for 15 737-8Fs.
With GECAS already being the launch customer for the 737-8F, it is just reinforcing the idea of demand that the lessor must be being subjected to if it is ordering more.
Boeing has also announced an extended service agreement with the International Airlines Group (IAG), which consists of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling, and LEVEL.
This agreement includes British Airways signing up for access to Boeing’s global parts pull, which comprises Boeing’s first deal offering an “off-platform” component service to A320 family aircraft. Lastly, British Airways booked its first Landing Gear Exchange agreement for their fleet of 12 Boeing 777-300ERs.
Boeing also took the time over Day one to outline its Commercial Market Outlook. About 44,040 aircraft are going to be needed over the next 20 years at a valuation of $6.8 trillion, 74% of which are single-aisle aircraft, says the manufacturer.
Boeing is taking a considerable focus into Asia where that area is responsible for 40% of future aeroplane demand.
Airbus: Big Day For The Home Team
Airbus kickstarted the day with the announcement of a brand new variant in the A321 family, dubbed the XLR (Xtra Long Range).
It is understood that this aircraft will increase range by 15% to 4,700 nautical miles, offering 180-220 seats in a two-class setup—30% less fuel burn per seat, as well as a Maximum Take-off Weight of 101T.
After the much-expected variant was announced, Air Lease Corporation came in with a massive letter of intent for 100 aircraft, consisting of 50 A220-300s, 27 A321XLRs, and 23 additional A321neos. The deal itself takes ALC’s total orders to 387 units, making it Airbus’ third largest lessor customer.
Another highlight for the day came from Virgin Atlantic, who placed an order for 14 A330-900s, with options for an additional six units. Out of the 14, eight were firm orders, with the other six to be on lease from Air Lease Corporation.
After this important order, the A321XLR gained momentum with an additional sale to Middle East Airlines (MEA) for four units of the type.
These four planes will be delivered in 2023, also making MEA the launch customer of the type. It will also join the 11 standard A321neos that the carrier already has on order.
Embraer & Mitsubishi
Embraer started the week off strong with a deal with United Airlines for its commuter subsidiaries for up to 39 Embraer E175-E1 aircraft.
This consisted of a breakdown between 20 firm, plus rights for 19 more units. At list prices, the deal was worth $1.9 billion if all options are exercised.
The 39 planes follow the previously ordered 25 E175s made at the Farnborough Air Show last year.
Embraer concluded the day with United’s order. It is unclear whether further sales will be announced over the course of the week.
As far as the Japanese planemaker is concerned, Mitsubishi had a big day, not so much for orders, but more for the unveiling of its brand new SpaceJet cabin.
Dubbed the M90 and M100, the manufacturer is aiming to use this aircraft to fill the gap of passenger comfort that they believe the likes of Embraer are not fulfilling for the customer on the regional hops.
As predicted by Airways, the first day of the Paris Air show was dominated by Airbus with the launch of the A321XLR, the mixed order by ALC, and Virgin Atlantic’s A330-900 choice for its long-haul re-fleeting ambitions.
As Boeing continues to cope with the worldwide grounding of its 737 MAX and the delay of its 777-X program, its passenger airplanes division did not manage to sell a single aircraft during the first day of the show—something that’s very unusual for the world’s biggest airplane manufacturer, but completely expected.
Boeing’s new partner, Embraer, did manage to log a single order today; whereas Mitsubishi’s SpaceJet rebrand might be the first step before the Japanese conglomerate announces the potential acquisition of the Bombardier CRJ program in the coming days.
Overall, it was a slow day for what is often seen as the most heated sales battle in the commercial aviation arena. Hopefully, things will pick up tomorrow.
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