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On Day One of the Paris Air Show, Boeing recorded zero new orders for any of its airplanes. The specter of the failed 737 Max’s shadow still looming large at the largest air show and aerospace-industry exhibition event in the world.
Following two crashes that claimed 346 lives, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg admitted that this air show isn’t about orders, but about reassuring concerned companies, passengers and customers that Boeing is indeed making progress getting the 737 Max back in the air after all 371 Boeing 737 MAX planes were grounded worldwide in March.
Investigators have focused on design flaws in the plane’s automated flight controls called the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system, or MCAS. Despite the flaws, which caused great loss of human life, Boeing said last month that it has completed the software that addressed aircraft’s safety issues, however, Federal Aviation Administration still has to approve the change. And Muilenburg has been clear that this approval won’t be happening during the Paris Air Show.
Muilenburg told CNBC, “We’ll get it back in the air when it’s safe — that is the most important thing here.”
Meanwhile, Airbus recorded orders and options for 123 planes on June 17, according to the aviation consulting firm IBA.iQ, reports CNBC. Airbus grabbed most of the plane orders with its new narrow-body plane, the A321XLR. On Monday morning, Air Lease Corporation, a company that leases hundreds of planes to airlines around the globe, placed an $11 billion order for 100 Airbus planes, including 27 A321XLR planes, which will not be delivered until 2023.
Speaking to CNBC, Air Lease CEO John Plueger told the publication the XLR will be “a blockbuster.” He added, “This is in our view a true 757 replacement but on a much more fuel efficient basis.”
Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury believes the stretch version of the A321LR will be certified in the next four years. “We think there is strong demand for the plane.”
Despite Airbus’ many orders, the overall orders of the Paris Air Show are expected to be the lowest since 2016, according to IBA.iQ. Given Boeing’s recent debacle, this should come as no surprise.
At one point during the Paris Air Show, Boeing CFO Greg Smith discussed a possible name change as a means of “rebranding” the grounded planes.
“We’re committed to doing what we need to do to restore it. If that means changing the brand to restore it, then we’ll address that,” said Smith to Bloomberg.
However, after the interview, Boeing backpedaled and told Reuters that there isn’t on a name change currently in the works.
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Boeing spokesman Paul Bergman commented, “Our immediate focus is the safe return of the Max to service and re-earning the trust of airlines and the traveling public. We remain open-minded to all input from customers and other stakeholders, but have no plans at this time to change the name of the 737 MAX.”
Interestingly enough, President Donald Trump weighed in on Boeing’s public relations issues back in March.
Trump tweeted, “What do I know about branding, maybe nothing (but I did become President!), but if I were Boeing, I would FIX the Boeing 737 MAX, add some additional great features, & REBRAND the plane with a new name.”
Despite the Republican’s tweet, Boeing says the name will stay as is—for now.
And while customers may not be hopping on board to board a new Boeing, the company did announce General Electric’s aircraft leasing division, GECAS, which is set to convert a previous order of 10 737-900 planes into freighter models.