LONDON — The first day of the show is officially over, and the press centre has mostly cleared out as patchy clouds move in over the field. Predictably it was a fairly busy first day.
First, Airbus launched the A330neo at the very moment the show opened: 10AM sharp. Despite Airbus’ consistent waffling and continuous public cautioning, the launch was widely expected and thus no particular surprise. The room was full to capacity as company president and CEO Fabrice Bregier made the announcement, while always colorful COO-Customers (head of sales) John Leahy relished the opportunity to enjoy the limelight.
Meanwhile, only a few doors down, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner gave a briefing for a room of equal size but not even close to half full. Obviously a stark contrast the ultra-hype of last airshow Boeing made a big splash at: Dubai. While Boeing had some action today, we suspect there’s a good choice they’re still holding their best cards (or at least a few more of them) for later this week, after the 330neo hype wears off.
Bombardier’s announcement for 20 more CSeries jets (only an LOI, not firm), and the conversion of several jets from options to firm, was unfortunately swept under the 330neo current. Yet it’s the best the airplane has done in quite some time, order-wise. It has also been a marked departure for Bombardier, which typically has seen less than spectacular performances from these types of shows. We suspect that Bombardier is probably done with CSeries orders for the show, barring anything firming here on show grounds. But we do know the company has some news on the Q400 tomorrow. Sources indicate that it could be another change/upgrade to the turboprop in addition to an order.
Perhaps lost most of all was Sukou’s Superjet, which managed an order for 7 SSJ100s for Kazakh airline Bek Air. The jets will be delivered beginning in 2015.
More generally, we thought it was interesting that Boeing executives have continually made the A330’s age a talking point during the show. As in “the A330 has a 1970s cross-section, 1980s wing, and only a 2000s engine” (Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s VP Marketing). Funny thing, though, aren’t both the 737 and 747 1960s airplanes? Yeah, I know, the 747-8 is a lot of new airplane, but the A330neo will have a lot of new too. We’ll have to ask about that.
Oh and Eastern Air Lines ordering the MRJ? That was…unexpected.
20 A320neo, IAG / option to firm
50 A320neo, AerCap / option to firm
60 A321neo, ALC / firm
25 A330-900neo, ALC / MOU
ATR; up to 75:
25/50 ATR 42-600, Nordic Aviation Capital / firm + options
20 CS100, Loong Air / LOI
2 CS100, Petra / LOI
2 CS300, Petra / LOI
2 CS100 Falcon Aviation / option to firm
6 737 MAX 8, OK Airways / firm
4 737-800NG, OK Airways / firm
30 737 MAX 8, Monarch / intent to order
6 787-9, Avolon Aerospace / firm
5 737 MAX 9 / option to firm
3 ARJ 21, Republic of Congo / firm
1 ARJ 21, Yanshang Corp / firm
1 ARJ 21, Nanshan Group / firm
Embraer; up to 100
50/50 Trans States Holdings / commitment + options
MRJ; up to 40
20/20, Eastern Air Lines / firm + options
7 SSJ100 / firm