Aviation News

June 17, 2019

What’s Happening At The 2019 Paris Air Show (Updated 3X)

The 2019 edition of the Paris Air Show is happening this week. The biennial show is traditionally a place where new aircraft are launched and new orders flow in. Follow along here all this week as we recap each day’s happenings.

Day 1:

The big news of the day was Airbus’ launch of the A321XLR. With a range of 4,700 nautical miles, the aircraft becomes the narrowbody with the longest range ever. The XLR expands on the A321LR that was launched in 2015.

As with the first range extension, Air Lease Corporation became a launch customer for the A321XLR. The aircraft lessor ordered 27 of the long range narrowbodies as part of a larger, 100 aircraft order. Also ordered were 23 A321neos and 50 A220-300s.

The other A321XLR order came in from Beirut-based Middle East Airlines. The small airline ordered 4 XLRs, bringing its total Airbus orders to 15. MEA intends to use the A321XLR to expand its presence in Africa and Asia.

Meanwhile, Boeing saw no new orders on day one of the show. This was not a big surprise as the airframer looks to rebuild confidence in its 737MAX program and get the 777X flight test program started. Meanwhile, the NMA program continues to wait in the wings.

Boeing started the day with continued apologies for the Lion Air Flight 601 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashes. They stressed that the timeline for returning the grounded narrowbody to flight is up to the regulators, not them.

Meanwhile, there was bad news for the 777X’s first flight. Engine maker General Electric had previously disclosed that an “anomaly” had been discovered in an engine during pre-delivery checks. Today, it was announced that a part needs to be redesigned, pushing the first flight to later this year. Until today, first flight had been anticipated to finally occur this month, perhaps as early as this week.

As for the NMA, the potential all-new middle of the market aircraft, things remained quiet. Boeing would only say that they continue to evaluate the business case for the new airplane.

Day 2:

While the opening day of the Paris Air Show clearly belonged to Airbus, day 2 was Boeing’s day to shine. The embattled airframer came back in a big way with several significant orders including a blockbuster for the 737MAX.

Boeing started the day with the announcement of an order for 30 787 Dreamliners by Korean Air. The order includes 10 each of the 787-9 and 787-10 being sold directly to Korean. A further 10 787-10s will be sold to Air Lease Corporation and leased to Korean Air. Upon completion of the order, Korean Air will have quadrupled the size of their 787 fleet.

In addition to their order for Korean Air, Air Lease Corporation also ordered an additional 5 787-9 Dreamliners. This order will bring ALC’s total Dreamliner fleet to 61 airplanes.

The blockbuster order of the day (and perhaps the show) came from International Airlines Group. Late in the day, the Group announced their intent to purchase 200 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 10 airplanes. The order will be deployed across IAG’s airlines including low cost brands Level and Vueling. Other airlines in the group include British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus.

Of course things weren’t quiet for Airbus either. IAG joined the list of launch customers for the A321XLR with an order for 14 of the type. 8 of the aircraft ordered will be for Iberia, while the remaining 6 are for Aer Lingus.

Another major order came from Cebu Pacific. The Philippine low cost carrier ordered 16 A330-900s, 10 A321XLRs, and 5 A320neos. Notably, the A330-900 order is for a new, higher capacity version that will cram in 460 seats in a single class configuration. The A320neos will also be a new, high density version with room for 194 sardines passengers. While no seat counts were announced for the A321XLR order, planned destinations were listed as India and Australia, both of which are well inside the 4700 nautical mile range of the new model.

Saudi Arabian Airlines added another 30 A320neo family aircraft with a firm order that includes 15 A321XLRs. With the option for an additional 35 aircraft, the total A320neo family fleet for the airline could reach 100 aircraft.

Of course not all orders can be large at these shows. Faroe Islands flag carrier Atlantic Airways ordered 2 A320neo aircraft. The airline currently has a fleet of 3 A320ceo aircraft.

Delta Air Lines, Already an A220 operator, ordered an additional 5 A220-100s, bringing their total number of A220 orders placed to 95. Delta is also the first airline to order the new increased maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) option for the A220. That increased MTOW will be available beginning in 2020 and will apply to the entire Delta A220 fleet, including for aircraft already delivered.

Over at Embraer, things were a bit quieter on day 2. Spanish airline Binter Canarias ordered 2 E195-E2s, bringing their total orders to 5. The airline will receive their first E195-E2 from a 2018 order in the second half of this year.

Rounding out the day was an order from Fuji Dream Airlines for 2 E175s. The aircraft will be fitted with 84 seats in a single class configuration. Fuji Dream Airlines currently operates an all Embraer fleet of 14 aircraft including 3 E170s and 11 E175s.

Day 3:

It was a very busy third day at the 2019 Paris Air Show. Airbus, Boeing, ATR, Embraer, and Mitsubishi all announced orders on the penultimate day of the trade portion of the show.

Over at the Airbus Chalet, the A321XLR continued to book launch customers. Indigo Partners, owner of a number of ultra low cost carriers around the world placed an order for 50 of the aircraft. The order consists of 32 new aircraft, as well as conversions of 18 existing A320neo family aircraft. 20 of the A321XLRs will head to Hungarian carrier Wizz Air, while 18 will be sent to Frontier Airlines in the United States. The remaining 12 will be delivered to Chile’s JetSMART.

Another 50 A321XLRs were sold to American Airlines. The Ft. Worth, TX based airline intends to use most of the aircraft in order to replace the 757s in their fleet, with some aircraft left over for expansion. The order consists of 30 conversions from its existing order for 100 A321s placed in 2011. The remaining 20 aircraft are new orders.

Continuing the A321XLR order parade was Australian carrier Qantas, which placed an order for 36 of the aircraft. The order consists of 26 conversions from a previous A320neo Family order along with 10 new, firm orders. The order is expected to be split between Qantas and subsidiary Jetstar, and used to fly from Australia to Asia and the South Pacific.

Rounding out Airbus’s day was an order Dublin-based Accipiter Holdings. The lessor confirmed an order for 20 A320neo aircraft which had originally been signed in March, 2019.

After yesterday’s blockbuster order from IAG, Wednesday was a much slower day for Boeing. Perhaps the biggest news wasn’t an order, but rather the quiet rebranding of the 737 MAX line of aircraft. Moving forward, the aircraft will simply be known as the 737-7/-8/-9/-10, depending on the variant.

In terms of orders, it seemed like today was the 777’s day. China Airlines and Qatar Airways each ordered 5 777F freighters. Meanwhile, little Turkmenistan Airlines announced its intent to order a single 777-200LR. The new aircraft would join a fleet of 3 777-200LRs already at the airline.

In other freighter news, ASL Aviation Holdings signed a memorandum of understanding for as many as 20 737-800BCF cargo aircraft. The BCF program takes existing passenger 737-800s and converts them to freighters. Boeing expects to complete 17 conversions this year, more than doubling last year’s tally.

While it had been a quiet show thus far for Mitsubishi and their recently rebranded and reconfigured SpaceJet aircraft, that changed this morning. An unidentified North American Airline placed an order for 15 of the new SpaceJet M100 aircraft.

Embraer announced an order from KLM for up to 35 E195-E2 aircraft. The agreement includes 15 firm orders and purchase rights for up to 20 additional aircraft. They will be operated by subsidiary Cityhopper.

Finally, over at ATR, Nordic Aviation Capital signed a letter of intent for ATR 72-600 turboprops. The order includes 35 firm orders, 35 options, and an additional 35 purchase rights. The order is the largest of the show for the turboprop makes that has seen a total of 75 firm orders placed in Paris.

The other big news from ATR is the launch of the ATR 42-600S, their new STOL model. The aircraft will be capable of operations on runways as short as 800 meters (2,625 feet). The launch customer is Elix Aviation Capital with an order for 10 aircraft. Air Tahiti has signed up for 2 of the STOL turboprop, while another 5 will be going to an undisclosed customer.

Day 4:

The final Trade Day of the 2019 Paris Air Show ended with a bang for some and a whimper for others. Airbus continued to report orders, even after their traditional end-of-show press briefing. Boeing and the regional aircraft manufacturers on the other hand didn’t report a single order on Thursday. 

Airbus started the day with an order from Saudi Arabian LCC Flynas. They placed an order for 10 A321XLRs, while also converting 10 existing A320neo orders to the A321neo.

On the heels of a very successful show, Airbus reported new orders for 363 aircraft, including 191 firm orders and 214 commitments. They also reported 352 order conversions as airlines upsized their A320neo orders to the A321neo and bought in to the A321XLR program. And while the A350 didn’t see any orders in Paris, the A330neo saw 24 new orders from Cebu Pacific and Virgin Atlantic, and the A220 saw 85 orders.

Even after the closing press conference, Airbus didn’t stop finalizing deals. No sooner had the show totals been announced than executives were back onstage announcing an order from Nordic Aviation Capital for 20 A220s. A few hours later, a deal with JetBlue Airways was also announced. JetBlue converted 13 existing A320neo orders to the A321XLR, while also converting 10 options for the A220-300 into firm orders.

 

And with that, the trade days of the 2019 Paris Air Show came to a close. Airbus had a very successful show with the launch of the A321XLR. Meanwhile, Boeing largely lived up to the expectations that it would have a quiet show, with the notable exception being IAG’s 200 plane blockbuster. Embraer and ATR reaffirmed their positions as the leading regional jet and large turboprop manufacturers. Mitsubishi showed that there is at least a little bit of life in the SpaceJet M100 program. For Bombardier, it was a sign of the times as it sells off its commercial aircraft business: no orders were reported there. While the former CSeries sold relatively well as the A220 during the show, the recently divested Dash-8 program saw no orders. Neither did the CRJ program as rumors of an impending sale of that program to Mitsubishi swirled. 

The next significant show for airliner orders should be the Dubai Airshow in November. And of course the summer of 2020 will see the Farnborough Air Show take place outside of London July 20th through the 24th..



About the Author

Ben Granucci
Ben Granucci, Senior Editor, is an aviation enthusiast and plane spotter based in New York City. Growing up in Connecticut, he has had his eyes toward the sky for as long as he can remember. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.




 
 

 

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