European aerospace giant Airbus recorded over 100 orders for its aircraft, as the Paris Air Show kicked off on Monday at Le Bourget. According to the aviation consulting firm IBA.iQ, on day one of the show orders and options for the world’s second biggest aerospace company’s planes reached 123.
Boeing didn’t fare so well, however – the US planemaker didn’t announce a single new order.
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Air Lease Corporation, which leases hundreds of planes to airlines around the world, placed an $11 billion order for 100 Airbus planes. The order includes 50 A220-300s and 27 of the newly-launched A321XLRs as well as an incremental order for an additional 23 A321neos.
Air Lease CEO John Plueger told CNBC the XLR will be “a blockbuster” when first deliveries start in 2023. “This is in our view a true 757 replacement, but on a much more fuel efficient basis,” he said.
Virgin Atlantic has selected 14 A330-900s to replace its A330ceos from 2021, with options to further expand its fleet of wide-body aircraft. The firm ordered eight aircraft and six additional on lease from Air Lease Corporation.
Middle East Airlines (MEA), the flag carrier of Lebanon, has signed a firm order for four A321XLRs. It thus became the launch airline customer of Airbus’ latest evolution of the A321neo family.
Over 200 orders are expected for Airbus’ A321XLR this week, including from Norwegian and JetBlue Airways.
Meanwhile, Boeing which is suffering after the grounding of its MAX 737 aircraft due to two deadly crashes has recorded zero orders as of Monday.
The company’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg admitted to CNBC that the 2019 air show would not be about orders, but instead be an opportunity for Boeing to reassure customers and suppliers that Boeing is making progress.
“We’ll get it back in the air when it’s safe — that is the most important thing here,” Muilenburg said.
Boeing’s chief financial officer Greg Smith has earlier revealed the possibility of a name change to the troubled 737 MAX aircraft.
Overall orders at this year’s air show are expected to be their lowest since 2016, according to IBA.iQ.