By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer
The focus on the company’s single-aisle aircraft comes a day after Boeing launched the new wide-body 787-10. The air show in Paris, held in alternating years with one in Farnborough, England, provides a platform for jet makers to announce orders that were negotiated earlier or to show off new products.
On Wednesday, Boeing said it will deliver the re-engined 737 MAX sooner than originally planned — in the third quarter, rather than the fourth, of 2017. Southwest Airlines will receive the first MAX jet.
Boeing had built into the MAX’s development timeline the possibility of an earlier first delivery, and the stepped-up tempo won’t raise production risks in Renton, where 737s are built, said Scott Fancher, who leads airplane development for Boeing.
The earlier delivery helps Boeing catch up a bit on rival Airbus, which will deliver its first A320 new engine option aircraft in 2015.
Boeing and CIT Group revealed a new order, valued at $3 billion, for 30 737 MAX 8s on Wednesday. Travel Service, based in the Czech Republic, also expressed interest in ordering three MAX jets, though its order has not been finalized.
Boeing’s existing Next Generation 737 aircraft also received attention Wednesday. Oman Air ordered five 737-900 ER jets in a deal valued at $473 million at list prices. Boeing and Ryanair also said they’ve finalized an order first announced in March for 175 Next Generation 737s. That order is valued at $15.6 billion at list prices.
Airbus also announced orders for the wide-body A350XWB, which flew for the second time Wednesday. The Toulouse, France-based company announced an order Wednesday from Air France-KLM Group for 25 A350-900s, valued at $7.2 billion, and options for the same amount, clinching a deal that had dragged out because of a maintenance dispute with Rolls-Royce Holdings. It also signed an accord with SriLankan Airlines for four A350s.
Boeing CEO Jim McNerney traded jabs through the media with Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus’ parent company, EADS. Both asserted their respective companies have the right strategy for the wide-body jet market.
McNerney has indicated Boeing could launch an updated 777 later this year, while Airbus’ A350XWB family of jets will compete against the 787 lineup and the smaller 777X.
“As we say in America, game on now,” McNerney said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “Our strategy in the wide-body area is to have a broader product offering than our competitor.”
Bloomberg News contributed to this story.