Boeing outpaced its rival Airbus in terms of new orders at this year’s Paris Air Show thanks to its new 737 MAX 10 airliner, taking in a total of 571 orders for nearly USD 75 billion. The 737 MAX 10 is aimed at the biggest part of the commercial airline market — single-aisle aircraft for medium-range flights — and scooped up 326 orders worth nearly USD 40 billion at list prices as the jet promises even more fuel economy thanks to improvements to aerodynamics and engine performance. “This wide market acceptance endorsed the 737 MAX 10 as the industry’s most efficient and profitable single-aisle airplane,” Boeing said in a statement.
The Paris Air Show and its counterpart at Farnborough in Britain in even-numbered years are the biggest annual events in the industry where aircraft manufacturers often end up announcing a majority of the orders they take in over the year. Airbus, meanwhile, announced 326 orders worth nearly USD 40 billion.
While it trailed Boeing this year, Airbus had moved first to offer airlines an updated model offering greater fuel efficiency a few years ago. Its swept up hundreds of orders for the various versions of the A320neo, pushing its market share up to 60 percent. Airbus’s chief operating officer for commercial aircraft customers, John Leahy, chose to look at the overall picture.
“Our commercial success this week at Paris extends our already diversified order backlog to a new industry record of over 6,800 aircraft, with 326 orders worth $40 billion,” he said on the last day of the air show reserved for industry representatives. Leahy also said that the gap with Boeing was smaller than it seemed when looking only at signed orders, rather than initial announcements.
He also noted the commercial aircraft market was at a low point in its business cycle, with many airlines waiting for delivery of aircraft ordered in previous years. Airbus chief Fabrice Bregier said that the company’s priority is to step up production of the A320 to 60 a month in 2019 to ensure prompt deliver to clients.
He said Airbus still aims to deliver 200 A320neo planes despite some problems with one of the two engines available to clients. Leahy also disclosed that he met with Tim Clark, head of Emirates airline which is the main customer of the A380, Airbus’s superjumbo, that it has had to slow production of due to a lack of orders over the past 18 months. He said Clark was interested in the updates Airbus is proposing — including the ability to add 80 seats without reducing comfort and greater fuel economy — that will make the plane cheaper to operate for airlines.