Airline manufacturers register impressive run at the Le Bourget
The 53rd Paris Air Show witnessed surprising deals and collaborations for airline manufacturers as they gathered in France from 17-23 June 2019. The biennial event saw dozens of airlines and leasing companies place orders for commercial aircraft despite a gloomy civil aviation market forecast. The prestigious air show witnessed the sale of around 938 planes, down slightly from the last two years, but more than what was anticipated by the analysts.
The most talked about order was the signing of the Boeing 737 MAX deal between Boeing and one of the world’s largest airline groups, International Airlines Group (IAG), on June 19. IAG said it plans to build its future fleet with the Boeing 737 MAX with an intention to purchase 200 MAX jets. The two companies have been in discussion regarding the opportunity and signed a letter of intent at the Paris Air Show in a deal that would be valued at more than USD24 billion, per list prices.
In selecting the 737 MAX, IAG says it will fly a combination of the 737 MAX 8, which seats up to 178 passengers in a two-class configuration, and the larger 737 MAX 10 jet, which can accommodate as many as 230 passengers. The airline did not disclose a specific split between the two MAX models, though it anticipates deploying the aircraft at a number of the group’s airlines including Vueling and LEVEL.
“We are truly honoured and humbled by the leadership at International Airlines Group for placing their trust and confidence in the 737 MAX and, ultimately, in the people of Boeing and our deep commitment to quality and safety above all else,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Kevin McAllister. “We are delighted that the IAG team recognised the superior qualities of the 737 MAX and has indicated an intention to return to the Boeing 737 family. We look forward to building on our long-standing partnership with IAG for many years to come,” he said.
The 737 MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets and other improvements to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market. The 737 MAX is 14 per cent more fuel-efficient than today’s most efficient Next-Generation 737s, and 20 per cent better than the original Next-Generation 737s when they entered service.
Korean Air also announced its intent to acquire 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliners at the biennial event. Boeing, Korean Air and Air Lease Corporation announced at the Paris Air Show the airline plans to add 30 new 787 Dreamliner airplanes to its fleet, with a commitment to purchase 10 new 787-10s and 10 additional 787-9 airplanes valued at USD6.3 billion at current list prices. As part of this agreement, Korean Air will also lease 10 787-10s from ALC.
In another significant deal for the aerospace giant, Qatar Airways also committed to purchase an additional five Boeing 777 freighters valued at USD1.8 billion, at the event. The purchase will increase the airline’s 777 fleet by 20 per cent, claimed His Excellency Jassim Saif Ahmed Al-Sulaiti, Qatari minister of transport and communications. Taiwan’s flag carrier China Airlines also with an intent to modernise its cargo fleet with up to six 777 Freighters decided to strike the deal with Boeing. The airline operates 51 Boeing airplanes. The new deal for six 777 Freighters will facilitate in streamlining maintenance and parts for its 777 fleet.
Turkmenistan Airlines, the national carrier of Turkmenistan, also announced the airline’s plan to extend its long-haul operations by adding a fourth 777-200LR (Long Range) airplane to its fleet. The commitment, valued at USD 346.9 million at list price, will be reflected on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website once it is finalised.
Boeing also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Irish lessor and cargo operator ASL Aviation for 20 Boeing 737-800BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter). The deal includes firm orders for 10 Boeing 737-800 freighter aircraft and purchase rights for further 10 units.
GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) signed an agreement with Boeing at the Paris Air Show exercising 10 purchase rights to firm orders and adding 15 more purchase rights for the 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF). This order was the third time that GECAS purchased Boeing’s newest freighter since the programme was announced in 2016. GECAS, the commercial aircraft leasing and financing arm of General Electric, now has 65 orders and options for the 737-800BCF.
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