Paris Air Show: Day 1 News Roundup

The Paris Air Show has just started its week long run at Le Bourget. It is one of the biggest events on the aviation calendar. Day one has just wrapped up

Aircraft manufacturers have lowered expectations of big orders at this year’s Paris Air Show. In previous years, airlines have often placed large orders at the event. However, this year it seems they are starting to adjust those orders to reflect prevailing market conditions.

Paris Air Show
The 2019 Paris Air Show is on this week at Le Bourget. Photo: Wikimedia

But both Airbus and Boeing have big order books to keep them busy into the foreseeable future. The star of this week’s Paris Air Show, however, is expected to be Airbus. They are already flying high while Boeing is battling problems on several fronts, including the ongoing 737 MAX grounding.

Day one has provided some newsworthy highlights, but in terms of sales proved to be one of the slowest days in recent Air Show history. There were some 150 order commitments (28 firm) on the first day of the Paris Air Show with Airbus leading the charge.

Here’s a news roundup of day one.

Virgin Atlantic takes A330-900neos.

Airbus and Virgin Atlantic were fast out of the gate with an announcement that the airline would take up to 20 A330-900neos.

Paris Air Show
Virgin Atlantic has ordered up to 20 A330-900neos. Photo: Wikimedia

Virgin Atlantic will use the new aircraft to replace existing A330 aircraft in its fleet. Virgin Atlantic’s current A330 fleet has an average age of over 10 years.

The order is valued at USD$4.1 billion. In a report in The Guardian, Virgin Atlantic’s Chief Executive, Shai Weiss, said the new A330neos would play a pivotal role in our fleet transformation.

Virgin Atlantic will start taking delivery of the new aircraft from 2021.

Airbus announces the new A321XLR

Airbus kicked off Day One of the Paris Air Show by unveiling a new aircraft, the single aisle A321XLR.  

The A321XLR is a derivative of the A321XL which in turn is a byproduct of the A321. In comparison with the original A321, the A321XLR promises jet fuel savings of 30% and a range up 4,700 nautical miles.

Paris Air Show
Airbus launched the new A321XLR at the 2019 Paris Air Show. Photo: Airbus

When the aircraft starts flying in 2023, it will be the world’s longest range single aisle aircraft, capable of jetting passengers nonstop from cities like Miami down to Buenos Aires.

Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines (MEA) managed to upstage its larger competitors by becoming the launch customer for the A321XLR, ordering four of the aircraft.

CNN is reporting that MEA’s order was followed up by an announcement that Virgin Atlantic was taking 14 and Air Lease Corporation wanted 27 A321XLR’s, as a part of a larger multi aircraft order.

Video of the day:

United’s Embraer order

United ordered 20 Embraer 175 aircraft and took options for 19 more in an order worth up to USD$1.9 billion. These Embraers will replace some of United’s older aircraft as part of their regional fleet replacement program.

Paris Air Show
United Airlines has ordered 20 Embraer 175’s to add to its regional fleet. Photo: Wikimedia

It also marks a deepening of the relationship between United and Embraer with deliveries expected to begin later in 2020.

Air Lease Corporation the biggest buyer

The busiest buyer at the Paris Air Show on day one has been Air Lease Corporation, a Los Angeles based aircraft leasing company. In addition to taking 27 of the A321XLRs, Air Lease Corporation signed a letter of intent for 50 A220-300s and an additional 23 A321neos to top up an existing order

The A220-300 order comes on the same day that Airbus said it would not be making a stretch version of the aircraft.

Paris Air Show
Air Lease Corporation ordered 50 A220s today at the Paris Air Show. Photo: Wikimedia

Air Lease Corporation has great faith in the A220, expecting it to dominate the 100-150 seat aircraft category for the foreseeable future. Likewise, they expect the A321XLR to prove extremely popular with airlines and their customers.

What’s about Boeing?

Boeing had a quiet day and is expecting a quiet week.

It opened day one at the Air Show with a mea culpa for the 737 MAX crashes and subsequent grounding. Kevin McAllister, president and CEO of Boeing’s commercial aircraft told ABC News that;

“We are very sorry for the loss of lives … It is a pivotal moment for all of us. It’s a time for us to make sure that accidents like this never happen again.”

It comes as news also breaks that the anticipated first flight of the 777x has been pushed back and an expected announcement concerning Qatar being the first Boeing 797 has been potentially delayed.

But Boeing is nothing if not resilient and we can reasonably expect some good news and firm orders as the Paris Air Show continues.

That’s day one. Simple Flying will keep you fully informed about events at the Paris Air Show.

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