Sales, Services, Saying Sorry: Boeing’s Big Paris Air Show

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg. (Boeing)

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg. (Boeing)

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg admitted Sunday in Paris that the company "clearly had [made] a mistake in the implementation of the alert" on the 737 MAX and in its public communications concerning the issue, according to the Associated Press.

As a result of its struggles with the MAX, which has been grounded since March 13, the date of the second of two deadly crashes, Boeing's stocks have been uncharacteristically down heading into the Paris Air Show. The company has declined to provide financial guidance until it can do so more reliably with the future of its best-selling aircraft still murky.

While it is still unknown when the world's regulators will approve the MAX for a return to flight, things have bent Boeing's way this week, as evidenced by a number of positive announcements from the world's largest aerospace manufacturer.

Boeing and International Airlines Group (IAG) signed a letter of intent at the Paris Air Show for a $24 billion deal to purchase of 200 737 MAX jets. Under the agreement, the airline holding company, which owns such operators as British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus, will add the 737 MAX-8s and MAX-10s to its current fleet of mostly Airbus A320-family aircraft.

"We're very pleased to sign this letter of intent with Boeing and are certain that these aircraft will be a great addition to IAG's short-haul fleet," said Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive. "We have every confidence in Boeing and expect that the aircraft will make a successful return to service in the coming months having received approval from the regulators."

Earlier this year, IAG also placed a firm order for 18 777-9s with an option for 24 more for use by British Airways. First flight of the new triple-7 was recently delayed but is still expected to happen this year, with deliveries beginning in 2020. In addition to its new order, the company also tapped Boeing for services work on its existing fleet, providing British Airways with parts.

This marks the first time Boeing has agreed to supply parts for a non-Boeing platform, seeing the American planemaker providing component services to Airbus' A320-family jets as well as its own 777s.

"We are proud to have the opportunity to serve British Airways' needs, regardless of platform," said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of commercial sales and marketing for Boeing. "In partnership with our partners and repair providers, we look forward to leveraging the strength of our global supply chain's aftermarket resources to support British Airways and help them operate even more efficiently."

IAG also signed a landing gear exchange agreement for the 777, as did Turkish Technic. Elsewhere in Turkey, MRO myTECHNIC signed a full parts package agreement with Boeing. Meanwhile, Chilean LATAM Airlines Group signed a consumables and expendables service agreement naming Boeing as an integrated supply chain provider for global MRO support.

This list of announcements served Boeing's stated goal of quickly growing its global services business. Muilenburg two years ago set a goal of $50 billion in services revenue within a decade.

Boeing also sold 25 787 Dreamliners. Korean Air pledged to purchase 10 787-9s and 10 787-10s with an additional plan for a long-term lease of an additional 10 787-10s from the Air Lease Corporation (ALC). ALC itself announced a commitment to buy five more 787-9s. With over 1,400 vehicles sold across more than 80 customers, Boeing said that makes the 787 the fastest-selling widebody jet in history.

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Air Lease Corporation Regalia. (Boeing)

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Air Lease Corporation Regalia. (Boeing)

"As we continue to innovate our product offering, the 787 Dreamliner family will become the backbone of our long-haul fleet for many years to come," said Walter Cho, chairman of Korean Air. "In addition to 25 percent improved fuel efficiency, the stretched 787-10 offers around 15 percent more space for passengers and cargo than our 787-9s, which will be critical to our long-term business goals."

The 787-10 holds up to 330 passengers in a two-class configuration, up from the 290 served by the smaller Dreamliner. It figures to see heavy use on Korean Air's nonstop trips to North America.

GE Capital Aviation Services is also getting involved, exercising 10 purchase rights to firm orders and adding 15 more purchase rights for 737-800 Boeing-converted freighters.

Boeing's newest freighter sees the company convert next-generation 737s to cargo planes capable of carrying more than 26 tons and flying 2,000 nautical miles. The first 737-800BCF was delivered last year.

“GECAS has a great pulse on the leasing market and what air freight operators are looking for in their cargo fleet," Mounir said. "It is an honor to have GECAS place three orders for the 737-800BCF in as many years."

Receive the latest avionics news right to your inbox