The Paris Air Show can be a bit twitchy at times as Boeing found overnight when the launch of its 737 MAX 10 single aisle jet proved very successful at taking sales off smaller, earlier launched versions of its revised single aisle family.
That shouldn’t detract from the new variant’s strong points, but it is a reminder in relation to all Paris exhibitors and their claims for buyers and of course spectators, to beware of spin.
The rigorously spin resistant Leeham News analysis and reporting site has this to say about the prolonged gestation of the largest of the MAX babies, in this earlier article, and in last night’s follow up.
It has even been calculated, in the discussions, and elsewhere, that the 240 new orders for the 230 nominal passenger count 737 MAX 10 include perhaps poorly described memorandums of understanding rather than ‘$$$ orders’ and may represent additional MAX family sales of 66 jets, which is slightly less 737s than currently in service with Qantas (which is being much pursued by Boeing and Airbus to replace them of course with their newer technology offerings.)
There is now the clearest of trends among single aisle jet buyers to choose the bigger variants, and to up-size earlier orders where that is possible before delivery.
All of this said, for fanboys and fangirls of the jet makers, Boeing has scored a smashing victory over Airbus in terms of orders, commitments, understandings, and the exchanges of deep heavy breathing protestations of admiration on Monday, day one of the serious Paris Air Show business.
Overall, Boeing will also have to perform miracles of salespersonship to overtake the crushing success to date of its A320 NEO higher tech single aisle family over the at times lacklustre ordering of its delayed 737 MAX family response. Airbus went into the new single aisle jet market hard, and early, and is outselling Boeing by around 6:4 as the result of occupying the single aisle high ground early and doing so with well defined products.
No-one in the general and technical media knows exactly what deals Airbus and Boeing have offered to secure sales of airliners that are said to only rarely actually change hands for anything like the official list prices.
In a game where very high fuel prices are fading into recent history, real purchase prices are said to make or break deals rather than claims of margins of technical or design superiority. This makes it unwise to predict winners.