The 53rd International Paris Air Show (#PAS19) is the world’s largest aviation exhibition. This year’s event was expected to bring orders, announcements, and heated press conferences.
In 2017, more than 2,381 exhibitors from 48 countries showcased its products during the first three days at Le Bourget, where more than $150 billion worth of deals were announced, including 897 orders and commitments for a total of 934 commercial aircraft.
The total order tally from 2017 logged 1,226 orders and commitments, including 352 firm orders, 699 letters of intent (LOI) or memorandums of understanding (MOU), 40 purchasing options, and 135 optional LOIs.
This year, however, there was a considerable decrease in orders and commitments, mainly caused by a less stable economic environment and the major crisis that hit Boeing’s best-selling aircraft, the 737 MAX.
But before the show closed its doors, Airbus managed to, once again, inject some more orders into the already filled A321XLR backlog, which had grown from zero to 206 during the first three days of #PAS19.
Other competitors, including Boeing, Embraer, Bombardier, and Mitsubishi did not announce any sales today. Here’s a summary of today’s orders and a wrap-up summary to the 53rd International Paris Air Show.
A321XLR: The Queen Of Paris
Airbus started the day with an undisclosed order for 20 A321XLRs. These unidentified customers are something very common at air shows, and even though they don’t really turn into major headlines, selling 20 planes is definitely a big plus for Airbus and its recently-launched program.
Up next, the European planemaker announced a couple of A220 orders, followed by an important manufacturing update.
First, Nordic Aviation Capital signed a Memorandum of Understanding for 20 A220 aircraft, followed by JetBlue, which confirmed its existing purchasing options, converting 10 of them to new A220-300s, as well as an additional order for 13 A321XLR aircraft.
With this order, JetBlue will operate five sub-fleets of Airbus A321 aircraft: A321 (Mint), A321 (Regular), A321neo, A321LR, and A321XLR.
With NAC and JetBlue securing further A220 orders, Airbus revealed that its Mobile, Alabama production line is one step closer to reality, “as the first large aircraft components for the first aircraft have been delivered to the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility,” said the manufacturer.
“The first of the major component assemblies (MCAs), consisting of the aft fuselage and cockpit, arrived by truck at the Airbus’ U.S. Manufacturing Facility at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley.”
More A321XLR orders followed, with flynas signing a Memorandum of Understanding for 10 A321XLRs. For Airbus, the A321XLR sales log for day four rapidly climbed to 30 units.
Day four, which is often a day where very few orders are announced, turned into the perfect day for Airbus to say goodbye to #PAS19. The manufacturer secured well over 210 A321XLR orders since Monday, as well as 70 A220-100/300—an overall tremendous success.
The Final Tally: Airbus On Top
This year, the available aircraft on display was noticeably smaller than in previous shows. American manufacturers Boeing, Bombardier, and Embraer brought only a fraction of the planes they usually put on display.
Adding to the malaise is a backdrop of a declining global economic situation.
Airbus celebrated its 50th anniversary not only by flooding the exhibition with all its current aircraft; it also rocked the boat by almost doubling the orders that its biggest competitor, Boeing, managed to sell.
The European manufacturer managed to secure 410 orders, which include firm, memorandums of understanding/letters of intent, and purchasing options. Boeing, on the other hand, managed to secure 283.
Interestingly, out of. the 283 orders Boeing received, 200 came from IAG and its unexpected, life-saving order for the 737 MAX program. Had IAG decided not to go forward with this, Boeing would have sold a marginal 83 planes.
Brazilian manufacturer Embraer came third with 117 units, followed by ATR not too far behind in fourth with 87 units.
Mitsubishi comes last in the table from the one Memorandum of Understanding for 15 M100 aircraft to an undisclosed North American carrier.
But when the firm order numbers come into play, Airbus sold more planes than Boeing, Embraer, and ATR combined.
Sadly for Mitsubishi, not a single firm order was logged. Airways had predicted that the Japanese manufacturer was going to announce the purchase of Bombardier’s CRJ program during the show—possibly attracting numerous customers to its combined MRJ/CRJ portfolio. However, this did not happen.
Overall Numbers Are Consistently Down
Last year’s Farnborough Air Show had Airbus sell 431 units of commercial aircraft, about 21 more than what was secured at Paris this year.
Boeing,’s picture in Paris, however, is completely different than what was seen in Farnborough last year. The North American manufacturer managed to sell 673 units, decreasing to 283 this year.
Noticeably, out of last year’s 673 sales, 564 were for the Boeing 737 MAX.
For Embraer, this wasn’t really a strong air show either. Farnborough saw it sold 300 units in less than an hour, whereas now, we have only seen 87 units sold in the last four days.
For ATR, Paris has been a considerable success, having improved from just selling eight units at Farnborough to 87 this year.
All eyes will now be on the Farnborough Air Show in July 2020, just a little over 12 months away, where Boeing should come back with a final fix to its crippling 737 MAX grounding, and the 777X’s test flying campaign well underway. Also, both Boeing and Embraer will come to the show as one, offering a combined productunder the Boeing Commeercial – Brasil brand.
Also, depending on the market and worldwide economic state, the long-haul segment of the spectrum should see more orders than what was announced here in Paris, with both the A350 and 777X not selling a single unit.
Overall, it was a lukewarm show with only a handful of significant surprises. Next year should be consistently better in Farnborough, especially if Boeing and Airbus manage to come forward with a viable ultra-long-range variant that will feed Qantas Airways’ ‘Project Sunrise.’