Paris Air Show Order Race Has Airbus Topping Boeing With A Flurry Of A321XLR Orders

Airbus (EADSY) retook the lead from Boeing (BA) with a flurry of A321XLR orders Wednesday and teased a “big number” for end of the Paris Air Show.




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After the third day of the air show, Airbus had more than 200 orders for its A321XLR, a new extra-long range narrow body jet it debuted in Paris.

American Airlines (AAL) agreed to purchase 50 A321XLR jets, which includes the conversion of 30 prior A321neo orders. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

The big order lowered expectations that American might be a major buyer of a future mid-market Boeing jet, dubbed by industry watchers as the 797. Boeing has yet to give the project a green light as it grapples with the 737 Max crisis.

Prior to the American Airlines order, Airbus has commitments worth $40.4 billion at the Paris Air Show vs. the $33.9 billion Boeing has.

Airbus A321XLR Orders Soar

Australia’s Qantas said earlier Wednesday it would buy up to 36 A321XLR jets, which included 26 conversions from prior orders. The deal is valued at $1.4 billion at list prices, but carriers typically get discounts for large orders.

Frontier Airlines owner Indigo Partners announced plans to buy 50 A321XLR jets. The deal includes 32 new planes and 18 upgrades.

The A321XLR orders come a day after Boeing announced a huge 200 737 Max letter of intent from the International Airlines Group, which is the parent of Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia.

Norwegian Air Shuttle is in talks to buy the A321XLR as well, sources told Bloomberg Tuesday.

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Boeing shares closed down 1.4% to 368.56 on the stock market today. Airbus’ U.S.-listed shares slipped 1.1%.

Stay Until End Of Paris Air Show

The first few days of the show have historically seen the most orders, with news petering out by the end. But Airbus suggested it isn’t done with surprises.

“The counter keeps clocking and continues to clock,” Airbus sales chief Christian Scherer said Wednesday after the deal with Indigo Partner was announced. Scherer told industry watchers to wait for the end of the show. “It’s a big number,” he said of orders expected.

Jefferies International analyst Sandy Morris said that the Paris Air Show has started off slowly like the 2018 Farnborough show and could be the new normal.

Boeing Freighter Orders

Qatar Airways said it would buy five more Boeing 777 freighters, in a deal valued at $1.8 billion at list prices.

On Tuesday, Amazon (AMZN) said it was buying 15 Boeing 737 freighters.

Follow Gillian Rich on Twitter @IBD_GRich for aviation news and more. 

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