Boeing (NYSE:BA) unveiled a new version of its bestselling 737 aircraft at the world’s biggest air show, held in Paris. The 737 MAX 10 will plug a gap in Boeing’s portfolio at the top end of the market for single-aisle jets. The new aircraft can carry up to 230 people in a single-class configuration.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Kevin McAllister said in a statement, “Airlines wanted a larger, better option in the large single-aisle segment with the operating advantages of the 737 MAX family.” He continued, “Adding the 737 MAX 10 gives our customers the most flexibility in the market, providing their fleets the range capability, fuel efficiency, and unsurpassed reliability that the 737 MAX family is widely known for.”
Boeing said it had more than 240 orders and commitments from at least 10 customers for the new 737. The orders and commitments are worth as much as $30 billion at list prices. Much of the interest in the MAX 10 seems to be coming from existing Boeing customers switching orders from other models.
Low-cost Indian airline SpiceJet has signed a provisional deal to buy 40 MAX 10s. Twenty of SpiceJet’s provisional order were conversions from an existing order for other 737 models. General Electric Commercial Aviation Services converted an existing 737 order for 20 planes to the new model. Indonesia’s Lion Air has a provisional order for 50 of the jets. TUI Group, Europe’s largest tour operator, also converted orders for 18 aircraft.
French President Emmanuel Macron flew in aboard an Airbus A400M military transporter to open the airshow. It was President Macron’s 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.
Passenger jet manufacturers are bracing for a slowdown in demand in the faltering civil aviation market. Double-decker superjumbos with four engines, such as Boeing’s 747, were once viewed as the future of air travel between international hubs. However, interest in those models has declined as more airlines have focused on cheaper, more nimble aircraft.
While demand for passenger jets may be ebbing, interest in military aircraft appears to be picking up. Lockheed Martin is in the final stages of negotiations for a deal worth at least $37 billion to sell 440 F-35 fighter jets to a group of 11 nations, which includes the United States. That would be the biggest deal for the stealth warplane made to date.