Boeing launches new 737 aircraft at Paris Air Show

The US planemaker said it had more than 240 orders and commitments from at least 10 customers for the new 737 MAX 10. President Emmanuel Macron flew into Paris on an Airbus A400M military transporter to open the world's biggest air show.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A Boeing 737 MAX on the static display, before the opening of the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget airport near Paris, France.

Boeing unveiled 737 MAX 10, a new model of its best-selling 737 aircraft, at the 52nd International Paris Air Show on Monday, injecting life into a faltering civil aviation market.

French President Emmanuel Macron flew in to Paris and opened the world's biggest air show.

Boeing generated a burst of activity at the show by launching 737 MAX 10 to plug a gap in its portfolio at the top end of the market for single-aisle jets following runaway sales of the rival Airbus A321neo.

Two Patrouille de France jets perform a training aerial show in Le Bourget on June 18, 2017 on the eve of the opening of the International Paris Air Show. Source: AFP

The US planemaker said it had more than 240 orders and commitments from at least 10 customers for the new 737, which can carry up to 230 people in a single-class configuration.

"The MAX 10 is going to add more value for customers and more energy to the marketplace," Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said at a presentation ceremony.

However, Airbus immediately hit back with an order for 100 of its popular A320neo planes from leasing firm GECAS.

It suggested that much of the interest in the MAX 10 was from existing Boeing customers switching orders from other models.

"We think the 737 MAX 10 is a competitor to the (MAX) 9 and that's why a lot of people are converting," said Airbus sales chief John Leahy.

Military aircraft

While demand for passenger jets may be faltering, there are signs interest in military aircraft is picking up after years in the doldrums due to government budget cuts and weak growth.

Lockheed Martin is in the final stages of negotiating a $37 billion-plus deal to sell 440 F-35 fighter jets to a group of 11 nations including the US, sources said.

A Lockheed Martin F-35 jetfighter performs its flying display on June 16, 2017 in Le Bourget, three days ahead of the opening of the Paris Air Show. Source: AFP

That would be the biggest deal yet for the stealthy warplane, set to make its Paris Air Show debut this week.

Macron jets in

In another boost for a defence project, President Macron flew into the show on an Airbus A400M military transporter in his first official engagement since winning a parliamentary majority in elections on Sunday.

The Airbus A400M carrying French President Emmanuel Macron arrives at Le Bourget airport on June 19, 2017 for the opening of the Paris Air Show. Source: AFP

His arrival was followed by a flypast by the world's largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, and France's aerial display team.

France's President Emmanuel Macron (L) sits in a Dassault Aviation Rafale fighter jet as Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier looks on. Source: AFP

The ceremony lent high-level support to two ambitious European aerospace projects tarnished by problems: the A400M because of chronic cost overruns and delays and the A380 because of weak sales that threaten its future.

Airbus said on Sunday it was working on an upgrade of the A380 - called A380plus - with fuel-saving wingtips.

An Airbus A380 on display during the Paris Air Show on June 19, 2017. Source: AFP

Airbus chief Fabrice Bregier said on Monday the company was in talks with several potential customers for the upgraded plane. But it would only be put into production if it received "a large order", he said, without elaborating.

Four-engined, double-decker superjumbos such as the A380 and Boeing's 747 were once viewed as the future of air travel between international hubs, but interest has waned as airlines have preferred cheaper, more nimble aircraft.

TRTWorld and agencies