Three airlines are making big moves at the 2019 Paris Air Show, all for different reasons. After forced cancellations due to the 737 MAX grounding, American Airlines will add 50 A321LR aircraft to their fleet, while International Airlines Group signed a letter of intent to add 200 737 MAX airframes to their carriers by 2027.
Three companies are grabbing headlines at the 2019 Paris Air Show due to the purchases announced for their respective airline fleets. During the week of June 17, 2019, the carrier trio announced the addition of over 250 aircraft orders valued at billions of dollars.
The biggest shock may come from International Airlines Group, the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia. The conglomerate signed a letter of intent to purchase 200 Boeing 737 MAX-8 and 737 MAX-10 aircraft, each valued at between $117 million and $131 million. The company says they “negotiated a substantial discount from the list price.”
The letter of intent is moving forward despite the worldwide ground order on all 737 MAX aircraft. IAG notes the aircraft will go into short-haul service with British Airways from London Gatwick Airport (LGW), Level and Vueling. Executives for the company are optimistic the issues will be resolved when the first is expected to join the fleet in 2023.
“We’re very pleased to sign this letter of intent with Boeing and are certain that these aircraft will be a great addition to IAG’s shorthaul fleet,” Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG, said in a press release. “We have every confidence in Boeing and expect that the aircraft will make a successful return to service in the coming months having received approval from the regulators.”
FlyerTalkers are surprised by IAG’s bold move. Many are noting that London Gatwick Airport will receive new aircraft, while the 2023 introduction date gives Boeing plenty of time to fix their widely reported problems.
“Why would IAG order the 737 MAX given the troubles it is having?” FlyerTalker BAeuro asks on the forums. “Surely it would have been more sensible to increase their A320neo order, unless the MAX has cheaper running costs for the low fares required at [British Airways London Gatwick operations, Level and Vueling].”
Meanwhile, American Airlines Group is moving forward with an order that was rumored before the Paris Air Show. Bloomberg reports the Fort Worth-based carrier will add 50 Airbus A321XLR aircraft to their fleet. The total order calls for 20 new A321XLR orders and the conversion of 30 more A321neo orders to A321XLRs. The total order of new aircraft has a list value of around $2.8 billion dollars.
American is joined by Qantas in ordering additional A321XLR airframes to their fleet. At the Paris Air Show, Qantas announced they will add 36 of the long-distance, narrow-body airframes to their order sheet. According to Aviation Week, the Australian carrier will add 10 new orders and upgrade 26 A321neo orders to A321XLR orders.
[Featured Image: Paris Air Show 2019/Anthony War]