AIRSHOW-Boeing launches new jet with flurry of orders


UPDATE 1-AIRSHOW-Boeing launches new jet with flurry of orders

* Boeing launches 737 MAX 10 with flurry of orders
    * Lockheed close to $37 bln-plus deal for F-35 warplanes
    * French President Macron gives boost to troubled A400M

 (Adds 737 MAX 10 order tally)
    By Tim Hepher and Victoria BryanPARIS, June 19 (Reuters) - Boeing <BA.N> unveiled a new
version of its bestselling 737 aircraft on Monday, injecting
life into a faltering civil aviation market as French President
Emmanuel Macron flew in to open the world's biggest air show in
    After years of booming orders driven by increased air travel
and more fuel-efficient planes, passenger jet manufacturers are
bracing for a slowdown in demand while they focus on meeting
tight delivery schedules and ambitious production targets.
    In a sign of their more modest expectations, some companies
have cut back on staffing and catering at this year's Paris show
and made less space available for the media.
    But Boeing generated a burst of activity on the opening day
by launching the 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 <AIR.PA> A321neo.
    The U.S. 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.
    "Many airports are running out of capacity and for those
airports this is a perfect aircraft," said Ajay Singh, the
chairman of low-cost Indian airline SpiceJet <SPJT.BO>, as his
company signed a provisional deal to buy 40 MAX 10s.
    However, Airbus immediately hit back with an order for 100
of its popular A320neo planes from leasing company GECAS, as
well as a deal for 12 A321neos with Air Lease Corporation.
    Airbus sales chief John Leahy brushed off the latest Boeing
challenge, saying that much of the interest in the MAX 10 was
from existing Boeing customers switching orders from other
    "We think the 737 MAX 10 is a competitor to the (MAX) 9 and
that's why a lot of people are converting," he said.
    Twenty of SpiceJet's provisional order for 40 MAX 10s were
conversions from an existing order for other 737 models.
    GECAS also converted an existing 737 order for 20 planes to
the new model and Europe's largest tour operator TUI Group
<TUIGn.DE> did likewise for 18 aircraft.
    Boeing did announce provisional new orders for 90 MAX 10s
including 50 from Indonesia'sLion Air.
    It also won a boost from leasing giant AerCap <AER.N> for
its 787 Dreamliner long-range jet, which sits in a category for
which demand has been fragile over the past year.
    Industry sources said that Airbus would soon announce an
order for 10 of its A350-900 wide-body jets from Ethiopian
Airways, while it also looked set to clinch a $5 billion deal
with low-cost carrier Viva Air Peru. [nL8N1JF0U4]
    Providing reassurance for planemakers, Qatar Airways said it
was sticking with plans to increase its fleet and routes despite
a diplomatic rift with four Arab nations that have closed their
airspace to the company.
    "We have had a lot of cancellations, especially to the four
countries that did this illegal blockade, but we have found new
markets and this is our growth strategy," Chief Executive Akbar
al Baker told Reuters. [nL8N1JG3A4]

    F-35 DEBUT
    While demand for passenger jets may be ebbing, there are
signs that interest in military aircraft is picking up after
years in the doldrums because of government budget cuts and weak
economic growth.
    Lockheed Martin <LMT.N> 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 United States, two
people familiar with the matter told Reuters. [nL8N1JF0SH]
    That would be the biggest deal yet for the stealth warplane,
which is making its Paris debut this week.
    President Macron flew into the show aboard an Airbus A400M
military transporter in his first official engagement since
winning a parliamentary majority in elections on Sunday.
    His arrival was followed by a flypast by the world's largest
passenger plane, the Airbus A380, with France's aerobatic team.
    The ceremony lent high-level support to two ambitious
European aerospace projects tarnished by difficulties: the A400M
because of chronic cost overruns and delays and the A380 because
of weak sales that threaten its future.
    Airbus said on Sunday that it was working on an A380 upgrade
-- dubbed A380plus -- with fuel-saving wingtips, confirming
plans reported by Reuters in March. [nL8N1JF0MI][nL5N1GK7CS]
    Airbus chief Fabrice Bregier said on Monday that 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.

TAKE A LOOK-Paris Airshow    [ID:nL8N1JF07W]
FACTBOX-Airbus, Boeing commercial aircraft deals at Paris
Airshow    [ID:nL8N1JG25R]
 (Additional reporting by Mike Stone, Matthias Blamont, Andrea
Shalal and Giulia Segreti; Writing by Mark Potter; Editing by
David Clarke and David Goodman)


This article appears in: Stocks , Politics
Referenced Symbols: AER , AIR , BA , LMT , SPJT

More from Reuters


See headlines for AER

Follow on:

Research Brokers before you trade

Want to trade FX?