IAG’s boosting of Aer Lingus’ transatlantic fleet contributed to Airbus and Boeing landing more than $17bn (€15.2bn) in plane deals on day two of the Paris Airshow as their sales teams scrapped for orders after a downturn in business and the grounding of Boeing’s top-selling jet.
Airbus extended its early lead in orders at the event with a $6bn deal to sell 36 planes to Philippines airline Cebu Air, including 10 of the new long-range A321XLR model launched on Monday.
IAG ordered 14 of Airbus’ new long-range version of the A321 passenger jet for Aer Lingus and Iberia in order to boost their transatlantic routes. IAG said that delivery of the first extra long-range narrowbody aircraft is scheduled for 2023.
Airbus struck a deal to sell a further 30 A320neo aircraft to Saudi Arabian Airlines, worth $3.3bn at list prices, while Malaysia’s AirAsia converted 253 A320neo orders to the A321neo model. Financial terms of the AirAsia deal were not disclosed.
Boeing gained a much needed lift after a slow start to the show on Monday as Korean Air committed to buying 20 of the US company’s 787 Dreamliners, worth $6.3bn at list prices. Air Lease Corp also committed to buying five 787s, worth about $1.5bn.
Despite the flurry of activity, the aerospace industry’s biggest annual event has been quieter than normal, fuelling speculation that a decade-long boom might be coming to an end.
With airlines struggling to contend with overcapacity, slowing economies and geopolitical tensions, some analysts warn Airbus and Boeing could face a growing number of cancellations from their bulging order books. Boeing, in particular, is suffering after the grounding of its MAX 737 aircraft in March following two deadly crashes. The US company was dealt a fresh setback on Monday when its engine supplier revealed a delay affecting its all-new 777X jet.
Airbus and Boeing remain confident of continued strong demand for more fuel-efficient jets as emissions regulations tighten and air travel continues to rise, driven by Asia’s growing middle classes. Boeing on Monday raised its 20-year industry demand forecast.
“Although investors have started to ask questions about the state of the upcycle, the aerospace industry remains very confident in the current state of the market,” analysts at Vertical Research Partners said.
American Airlines and leasing giant GECAS are also understood to be in talks to buy Airbus’ new A321XLR, which is aimed at helping airlines deliver new routes with smaller planes and stealing a march on Boeing’s own plans for a potential new mid-market jet.