The Paris Air Show 2019 reigned the headlines all throughout last week, June 17-23, with big deals, new aircraft unveilings and innovation in autonomous and electric flight taking the center stage at the event. But expectations coming into the show had been low for the world’s two largest aircraft manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing. Was it all negative in the end?

In the weeks ahead of the airshow, industry analysts had little optimism regarding the amount of commercial aircraft deals Boeing and Airbus would seal at this year’s biggest aerospace event. Engulfed in the 737 MAX crisis, no one expected Boeing to shine. But the industry did look forward to an update on the plane maker’s new middle-of-the-market aircraft – the Boeing 797 or NMA.

Until rumors began to circle about the possible launch of an extra long-range variant of Airbus’ A320 family jet, there seemed to be no big surprises in store by the European plane maker either. Industry analysts, therefore, presumed the two plane makers would rely on their more traditional aircraft to secure deals at Le Bourget.

What was troubling, however, was that both Airbus and Boeing were coming into the event experiencing a serious order slowdown. In April, Airbus saw just five new orders – two A330s and three A350s; in May – just one – an ACJ320neo business jet, which was sold to a private buyer, as the plane maker’s orders and deliveries book indicates.

Considering the same time period for Boeing – in April, the company received just four orders – for the 737 MAX – from an undisclosed customer; and in May, the company had exactly zero orders for any of its commercial planes, Boeing’s orders and deliveries logs reveal. And this is not taking into account the amount of cancellations that both plane makers witnessed since the beginning of the year. Both Airbus and Boeing’s hopes were to make up for the lost business at the Paris Airshow.

Airbus reigned as Boeing remained reserved

The European plane maker stole the thunder early on with the launch of its new long haul A321XLR jet. According to current estimations, based on the company’s announcements, Airbus received 142 orders and commitments for the XLR: 27 from Air Lease Corporation, 32 from Indigo Partners, 20 from American Airlines, 15 from Saudi Arabian Airlines, 14 from IAG; Cebu Pacific, Qantas, Flynas each committed to 10 XLRs; another four were ordered by one of the launch customers, Middle East Airlines.

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It‘s official: Airbus has launched the longest-range narrow-body jetliner, the A321XLR, on the first day of the Paris Air Show 2019, Monday, June 17. While the launch itself comes as no surprise, the European plane maker is now set to break records at the airshow in a major blow to its U.S. rival Boeing when it comes to mid-market aircraft.
 

Aside of orders and commitments, customers also opted to convert some of the Airbus jets in their fleets, mostly A320neos and A321neos, to the A321XLR version. An estimated total of 97 conversions were requested by some of the airlines mentioned previously: American Airlines decided to convert 30 planes, Qantas – 26, Indigo Partners – 18, JetBlue Airways – 13, and Flynas – 10. The pricing of the brand-new A321XLR has not yet been disclosed, but the A320neo is valued at about $110.6 million, and the A321neo is worth $129.5 million at list prices.