PARIS – Day two of the 53rd International Paris Air Show kicked off in a very busy, tense, and competitive fashion for both Airbus and Boeing.

Yesterday, we witnessed a rather lukewarm start to the Paris Air Show. 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—something that’s very unusual for the world’s biggest airplane manufacturer, but completely expected.

In parallel, much of yesterday’s hype surrounding the new Airbus A321XLR airliner was seen by international media as a haymaker punch, putting Boeing’s NMA ambitions into a very steep starting point.

As predicted by Airways, the first day of the Paris Air show was dominated by Airbus with the launch of the A321XLR, a gigantic order from ALC (letter of intent for 100 aircraft, consisting of 50 A220-300s, 27 A321XLRs, and 23 additional A321neos), and Virgin Atlantic’s A330-900 choice for its long-haul re-fleeting ambitions.

Today, however, things shifted in a very surprising manner. Here’s what Day Two of the Paris Air Show brought to the table.

Airbus Strengthens A320neo… but Nothing for the A350

The home team had around six announcements released today, including more sales for its new A321XLR with 39 units sold, bringing the overall count to 70 units in just two days.

Cebu Pacific placed Memorandum of Understandings for 10 of the A321XLRs, as well as 16 A330-900 and five more A320neos.

Saudi Arabian Airlines joined in by placing orders for an additional 65 aircraft, consisting of 50 A320neos and 15 A321XLRs.

The International Airlines Group (IAG), who has been buying big all through today, placed more orders into the A321XLR backlog with 14 planes, which will be assigned to Iberia (eight) and Aer Lingus (six).

Up next is Atlantic Airways, who signed a purchasing agreement for two A320neos to replace its aging Airbus A319s in the fleet.

The Airbus A220 had a little bit more success today, with Delta Air Lines ordering an additional five planes to bring its total order count to 95 aircraft.

A rather interesting announcement came from AirAsia, which converted its outstanding order for 253 Airbus A320neos into A321neos. This is most likely due to adding extra capacity that the carrier will need onto the routes it may serve over the next few years as deliveries begin to take place.

Unfortunately for Airbus, however, not a single order for its A350XWB program has been logged during the first two days of the show. The A330neo has been the main sales driver in the widebody side of the spectrum for the European airplane manufacturer.

Boeing Revives With A Massive 737 MAX Order

Although Boeing made only three customer announcements today, it has managed to respond to yesterday’s Airbus dominance.

With the crisis that had surrounded the 737 MAX, no orders were expected during this air show and the upcoming months.

Enters IAG. Media representatives were summoned to the Boeing chalet to witness the incredible announcement that a Letter of Intent for 200 737 MAX aircraft had been signed.

The aircraft breakdown is a mix of 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 10, with deliveries due to begin in 2023, although CEO Willie Walsh wants them earlier if possible.

List prices value this deal at a whopping $24 billion, but skeptics are suggesting there would be some heavy discounts for the deal to go through.

This massive order for 200 737 MAX planes is a tremendous lifeline for Boeing and its ill-fated program. The North American planemaker is not only scoring a major sale for one of the world’s largest airline conglomerates but is also catching a new narrowbody customer. IAG currently operates one of the world’s largest all-Airbus narrowbody fleets.

Interestingly, however, IAG’s sales announcement for 200 Boeing 737-8 and 737-10s does not mention the name “MAX” in it. Is this a hint that Boeing might be changing its product’s name?

Another order of interest comes from Korean Air, formally booking 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The Seoul-Incheon-based carrier will be leasing 10, and purchasing 10 787-10 aircraft, as well as purchasing 10 787-9s.

And last but not least, the final order announcement for Boeing came from Air Lease Corporation, which signed on for an additional five 787-9 Dreamliners. That particular deal was valued at $1.5 billion list prices.

Just like with Airbus and its A350XWB, Boeing has not managed to sell a single Boeing 777X. However, tomorrow is possibly another day with upcoming surprises.

Embraer Firms Along

Embraer had two order announcements today but was not in the size of yesterday’s commitment from United Airlines for 39 E175s.

The first order came from Fuji Dream Airlines, who opted for two E175-E1 aircraft at a list price of $97.2 million. Deliveries of the aircraft are set to begin this year, with the brand-new planes being equipped with 84 passengers in a single-class configuration.

This order comes in during the of the airline’s 10-year anniversary operating Embraer airplanes. Fuji Dream Airlines took delivery of its first E-Jet in 2009.

The second order announcement for the Brazilian manufacturer came from Binter Canarias, which opted to exercise its options for two more E195-E2s. The Spanish carrier is due to receive the first unit of the type in this period of the year.

The original agreement between Binter and Embraer was inked last year at the Farnborough Air Show. This now adds an extra $141.8 million to Embraer’s sales books.

In all, it was a relatively quiet day for Embraer. Tomorrow will hopefully bring some more sales for the manufacturer’s ‘Profit Hunter.’

ATR Goes Big With Lessors

Another significant highlight came from ATR. Nordic Aviation Capital booked 105 ATR-600 aircraft, valued at $2 billion.

The deal was broken down into three parts: 35 planes are firm orders, with those deliveries taking place between 2020 to 2025. The following 35 are options that can be exercised at any time, with the remaining 35 as purchase rights.

Others of Interest

Other orders of interest came mainly from the Canadian manufacturers, De Havilland and Viking. TAAG Angola placed an order for six De Havilland Dash 8 Q400s for further domestic use across the country.

Air Antilles opted for the smaller De Havilland Dash 6-400s, which will operate on the most important Caribbean links.

It has certainly been a heated day here in Paris—certainly a lot busier and interesting than what we saw yesterday.

With today’s surprising 737 MAX order booked by IAG—in parallel to the airline’s A321XLR purchase agreements—proves that this air show has become tremendously unpredictable.

Let’s see if tomorrow both the Boeing 777X and Airbus A350 attract any important sales.

Stay tuned to Airways for any further developments…