At the Paris Air Show, traditionally the venue where sales worth tens of billions of dollars are generated, Boeing has been struggling. On the first day of the 2019 edition Airbus signed $13 billion in orders for new jets and Boeing… zero.
Among those lining up to order Europe’s aircraft, included Air Lease Corp, the giant US leasing company, which agreed to buy planes worth $11 billion. Air Lease also signed up for the new A321XLR, while Virgin Atlantic bought eight A330 wide-bodies with an option for six more aircraft.
Airbus’s Air Lease deal also included the A220 plane that the Toulouse, France-based company acquired last year from Canada’s Bombardier, providing a further boon for the Europeans.
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury told Bloomberg that “there’s room to run up the score”. Airbus said it was seeing “very strong demand” for its rival A320 family of single-aisle jets.
“As far as we are concerned, you should expect a very positive Paris Air Show with a lot of orders,” Faury added.
Boeing is feeling the pain after the 737 MAX was indefinitely grounded in March after two deadly air disasters directly linked to the company’s “cost-cutting” measures.
According to Bloomberg, “the Air Lease order in particular provided a vote of confidence in the A321XLR, a twin-engine jet that can travel 4,700 nautical miles, more than any other narrow-body on the market. The plane is positioned as a more fuel-efficient successor to Boeing’s discontinued 757, able to connect smaller cities that can’t support service by big wide-body jets.”
Boeing’s planned “new midmarket airplane,” or NMA, dubbed the 797 by analysts, has now been put on hold. The Chicago-based company’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg, said however that the 737 MAX will return to service before the end of 2019.
The final airshow sales total could be devastating for Boeing. According to aviation consultancy IBA Group, of all the orders totalling 575 planes, some 435 will be going to Airbus.