Boeing vs. Airbus: Who Won Paris Air Show 2019?
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
The 2019 iteration of the Paris Air Show started off relatively slow. Boeing finished the first day of the show with not a single new commercial order.
Many expected a slow show for Boeing. As the manufacturer entered month three of the grounding of its 737 MAX aircraft following the crashes of two of its planes — with Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air — the company was expected to lay low. Sure, maybe an order here or there, but no New Midsize Airplane (NMA) launch. And surely no 737 MAX orders, the thinking went.
The one thing that did get the show off to a notable start, however, was Airbus’s confirmation on Monday that it would launch its longest-range, single-aisle plane: the A321XLR. It quickly landed orders from American Airlines Middle Eastern Airlines, among others. All the while, the Boeing chalet remained quiet. Until Tuesday afternoon, the jetmaker’s visit to the 2019 air show was highlighted by an order for 30 787 Dreamliners by existing customer Korean Air.
Then came the bombshell.
On Tuesday afternoon, Willie Walsh, CEO of International Airlines Group — the parent company of British Airways and Iberia — announced the group was ordering Boeing’s troubled 737 MAX aircraft. Not just a handful, but 200 of them, split between the 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 10 variants, with some heading to LEVEL and some to Vueling.
The order took everyone by surprise, and perhaps provided Boeing and its MAX program the lifeline it needed. Coming into the show, no airline had ordered the MAX since the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash and subsequent grounding of the aircraft worldwide.
While it likely saved the air show for Boeing — and took the MAX off the mat — the order came at a cost for Boeing. While the order was valued at more than $24 billion, Walsh and IAG likely got the 200 jets for a steal. Not only do airlines get heavily discounted deals when buying great number of aircraft in a single order, but given the fact that Boeing was likely desperate for the order, IAG’s probably received a substantial discount.
“We are truly honored 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,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Kevin McAllister, said in a statement.
Boeing remained quiet on the issues surrounding its MAX aircraft during the air show. The airliner remains grounded, awaiting a fix and regulatory approval before returning to the skies.
Although Boeing’s IAG 737 MAX order was a jaw-dropper, Airbus had the far more consistent show. Aside from launching the A321XLR, which has a range of about 5,400 miles and will begin flying in 2023, the European manufacturer also locked in orders from Air Lease Corporation, Virgin Atlantic, Middle East Airlines, Cebu Pacific, International Airlines Group (for Aer Lingus and Iberia), Qantas, JetBlue and Indigo Partners (for Frontier, Wizz Air and JetSMART), among others.
So, who “won” the Paris Air Show? On the face of it and in terms of orders for planes, Airbus took the show. Not only did it announce a new plane, but it was well received from airlines, with more than 200 orders from the beginning of the week. Along with the orders for the A321XLR, Airbus announced dozens additional orders for aircraft ranging from A330neos to A220s and more. Plus, Airbus had the pleasure in knowing that its A321XLR announcement came before Boeing’s still-virtual New Midsize Airplane (NMA).
But, that said, Boeing very well might consider the show as much of a win as it could have imagined. With the surprise blockbuster order from IAG to purchase 200 of its tainted 737 MAX aircraft, the manufacturer may have gotten more out of the show than it was originally expecting.
It’s worth noting that when it comes to aircraft orders, there are a range of commitments — Letter of Intents, Memorandum of Understanding, firm orders, converted orders. Not all orders that were announced a the Paris Air Show should be taken in the same light, as some are likely to drop off or be converted.
The below comparison includes orders for commercial aircraft between the two manufacturers that were placed during the week of the Paris Air Show.
|Air Lease Corporation (5 787-9s)||Air Lease Corporation (50 A220-300s; 27 A321XLRs; 23 A321neos)|
|International Airlines Group (200 737 MAXs)||American Airlines (50 A321XLRs)|
|Korean Air (30 787s)||Cebu Pacific (16 A330neos; 10 A321XLRs; 5 A320neos)|
|Turkmenistan Airlines (1 777-200LR)||China Airlines (11 A321neos)|
|Delta Air Lines (5 A220s)|
|Indigo Partners (50 A321XLRs)|
|International Airlines Group (14 A321XLRs)|
|JetBlue (13 A321XLRs; 10 A220-300s)|
|Middle East Airlines (4 A321XLRs)|
|Qantas (36 A321XLR)|
|Saudi Arabian Airlines (15 A321XLRs; undisclosed number of A320neos)|
|Virgin Atlantic (14 A330neos)|
|TOTAL: 236||TOTAL: 345+|
Of course, these orders could, in fact, change in the end. For a year that was deemed by many to be a quiet and uneventful air show, both Boeing and Airbus added some important orders to their books. For Airbus, affirmation that its A321XLR was wanted, and for Boeing, a new order on the books for its 737 MAX. As for what happens in the future of the MAX program, however, is still up for discussion.
Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees