Paris Air Show: New jets from Boeing and Airbus generate interest

Boeing and Airbus may reveal plans or details about new passenger jets at the Paris Air Show, which opens this weekend.

The show in Le Bourget, France, runs from June 17 to 23, and could see a surge in airplane orders and big news from the regional electric aviation world that may affect Magnix, a Redmond-based electric airplane motor maker.

Airbus is widely expected to launch its A321 Extra Long Range passenger jet at the show, in part to celebrate the French-German aircraft manufacturer’s 50th anniversary before thousands of workers and hometown aviation enthusiasts, three aerospace analysts said.

“With Boeing focused on resolving the Max crisis … Airbus likely will have extra motivation to launch the XLR, which is expected,” Cowen and Company analyst Cai von Ruhmor told clients.

Airbus aims to get its A321 XLR to market in 2023, analysts say, a full two years before Boeing’s New Mid-Market Airplane, with a 2025 entry into service — if it proceeds. By going first, Airbus’ strategy would be to poach possible Boeing orders for the mid-sized jet and dent the Chicago-based jet maker’s potential profits.

Boeing wasn’t expected to discuss either the 737 Max or its NMA plans in Paris, saying this spring its focus remains on returning the 737 Max fleet to flight after two crashes and a global grounding.

However, Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop recently said that Boeing plans a Paris NMA announcement.

Questioned about the plane at a conference in Charlotte, Hyslop tantalized the audience by saying, “I suggest you go to the Paris Air Show.”

Hyslop also revealed that Boeing wants to “build” its first 100 NMAs virtually before beginning physical assembly. He said that what some analysts have labeled the 797 “will be a great airplane” built “in an amazing production facility.”

The Business Journal revealed in 2018 that several top Boeing managers and engineers joined the NMA effort, including one who said on his LinkedIn he was “developing production plans for the NMA/797.”

In 2019, Airbus and Boeing have reported just 30 net commercial aircraft orders and seen cancellations increase.

Analysts suspect the two jet makers may have kept new orders secret — especially lucrative wide body deals — to reveal them with fanfare at the show.

“Strong wide body order activity and launch orders for the potential A321XLR would be incrementally positive” for the entire aerospace sector, Canaccord Genuity analyst Ken Herbert said.

Seattle-based Michel Merluzeau, an analyst with AIR, said orders might also shrink in Paris, compared to previous air shows where 200 to 300 were revealed. That’s because the aerospace cycle is slowing: both international passenger airline profits and air cargo volumes shrinking.