Le Bourget, France — Boeing announced on Monday what it claims will be the most efficient jet yet in the highly competitive civil aviation market as it tries to claw back market share from rival Airbus.
"Today, it is our pleasure to officially announce the newest member of our 737 family, the 737 Max 10," Kevin McAllister, head of the company’s commercial aviation division, said as the Paris Air Show got under way.
It announced more than 100 orders worth about $13.5bn, although some were customers changing their selection of models from previous orders.
The Max 10 will be the largest of the updated 737 series, which competes head on with Airbus’s A320neo family. With the latest advances in engines and aerodynamics, they promise significant fuel savings to airlines, which have responded with hundreds of orders for single-aisle aircraft that are the workhorses of their fleets.
Airbus, which moved first to update its aircraft used in most mid-range flights, now has a 60% market share.
The 737 Max 10, which can carry up to 230 passengers, is the largest in the class, and Boeing said it would be 5% cheaper to operate than the Airbus A321neo. As these aircraft can carry more passengers, they have attracted interest from low-cost airlines as well as carriers aiming to exploit their range that allows them to make flights across the Atlantic.
McAllister said the 737 Max10 would be "the most efficient single-aisle airplane in the skies". Boeing has a test version of the 737 Max 9 on display at LeBourget airport north of Paris, which hosts the air show.
Airbus announced orders for more than 100 jets in its A320neo family, including 12 of the latest A321neo model, worth more than $11.5bn.
While Airbus and Boeing dominate the world’s civil aviation industry, the duopoly is not without challengers: competition is looming, notably from Russia and China, which have been test-flying their own mid-range models.
The air show comes a little too early for either Russia’s Irkut, with its MC-21, or China’s Comac, with the much-flagged C919, to be able to showcase their aircraft there, but both will leave little doubt they expect to win a big slice of the aviation pie in the future.
Airbus will also showcase its new long-haul model A350-1000 and Boeing its 787-10 Dreamliner, while Ukraine’s Antonov will present its 132 D.
Airbus will have on hand a new "plus"-size version of its A380 as it tries to revive interest among airlines in the superjumbo double-decker aircraft. Changes to the cabin will allow airlines to add another 80 seats to the aircraft that carry about 500 passengers on average without reducing comfort.
With aerodynamic improvements, Airbus said the aircraft would be 13% cheaper to operate on a per-seat basis from current models.
It is the first major update to the aircraft since it entered service in 2007. Airbus, which has been talking with airlines for years about improvements to the aircraft to take advantage of the latest cost-saving technologies, slowed down production of the aircraft in 2016.
While new civilian aircraft orders will probably fall short of the $130bn the Paris show clocked up last time — mostly thanks to airlines ordering the latest fuel-efficient Boeing and Airbus aircraft — the industry is still optimistic about sustained growth.