Boeing landed the biggest order so far of the Paris Air Show with a deal Tuesday for 100 of its 737s — the single-aisle jets that Boeing’s CEO calls “the heart of the market” in the years to come.
Fighter jets growled and superjumbos soared above the Le Bourget airfield outside Paris, and the U.S. Air Force secretary met CEOs as thousands gathered for the latest edition of the world’s oldest air show.
Boeing and European rival Airbus clocked scores of sales, with particularly intense competition between Boeing’s 737MAX series of planes and Airbus’ 320 family of jets.
Dutch-based leasing company AerCap ordered 100 737MAX-8 planes after long negotiations, Boeing said Tuesday. The deal is worth up to $10.7 billion, though customers routinely negotiate discounts off list prices.
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Boeing also received orders for 10 of the 737MAX-8 jets, worth up to $1 billion, from the Irish leasing company SMBC Aviation Capital, and a commitment for 30 planes from the Chinese low-cost carrier Rulli Airlines.
Airbus showcased several deals Monday, and announced Tuesday that Japanese low-cost carrier Peach Aviation signed a firm order for three A320 jets and that Korean Air could buy up to 50 A321neo planes.
Despite Airbus’ modest relatively modest announcements Tuesday, CEO Fabrice Bregier noted “much interest” in the A320neo jets. Speaking to The Associated Press, he predicted that his company will bring in a total of 200 orders and commitments this week.
Companies are believed to save up some order announcements for air shows, or freshen up older deals with new additions to make the air show totals look better.
Russia’s economic troubles clouded the stream of contracts, as Aeroflot said it was canceling an order for Boeing 787s.
Acknowledging that Russia is “a tough market right now,” Boeing executive Ray Conner said details of the cancellation are still being negotiated but insisted his company will find other customers for the plane.
While Airbus executives predict high demand for jumbo jets like the A380 to serve growing megacities, Conner had the opposite view, calling that “a limited market.”
“We believe the world continues to fragment,” he said. “Nobody wants to hub up, gather and go off from there.”
Boeing is forecasting demand for 38,050 airplanes over the next 20 years and says 26,730 of those will be single-aisle jets. Airbus projects that 32,600 new planes worth a total of $4.9 trillion will be needed by 2034.