It's almost show time!

The Paris Air Show is always a spectacle and promises to be filled with fireworks this year. Boeing will have an unprecedented number of airplanes at the show providing a feast for the eyes. It really will be a great scene as the 787 Dreamliner, the 747-8 Intercontinental, the 747-8 Freighter, an Air Berlin 737-700 with the new Boeing Sky Interior, and a Qatar Airways Boeing 777-200LR fly in next week.

Airbus takes the position that announcing large order numbers are important for a successful air show. For many years, we’ve taken the approach of counting firm orders as they come in throughout the year rather than stockpiling them for the air shows. Two different approaches that have yielded similar results when all is tallied at the end of the year.

If you look at the numbers from the past five years, you’ll see that Boeing and Airbus are almost evenly matched when it comes to the total number of real, firm orders: 3791 for Boeing, 3753 for Airbus.

Next week in Paris, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Airbus come out with a mix of 1000 different things including orders, conversions, purchase agreements, options, MOUs, LOIs, and so on. But in my opinion, it really is about running the race from start to finish —January through December.

For all you prognosticators, I invite you to take your best guess on what the final Airbus “count” from Paris will be in the comments section of this post. We’ll check back after the show to see how things turned out.


The view from chalet row during the 2009 Paris Air Show.

Comments (25)

Dan Murphy (Ontario, California USA):

I agree with your comments.
Airbus loves to make a splash especially on their home turf. They'll be pumping the A320NEO and the ramp up of the A380.

I say they'll announce sales of 200 planes while Boeing will come in with a modest 50 to 75.

Daniel Tsang (Hong Kong):

Certainly Boeing takes a different approach, which I personally prefer over MOU.

Airlines can always walk away from nonbinding MOU without any compensation, like Emirates' LOI for 30 A330-300 that wasn't finalized.

I'd say 500 MOU, LOI and firm orders for Airbus, with the majority being A320 neo orders.

However, I firmly believe Boeing isn't going to waver and it's my opinion that Boeing will launch a clean-sheet, composite-based 737X.

After all, Out of Autoclave CFRP production technologies already exist, and even the CNRP (Carbon Nanotubed Reinforced Polymer) could emerge as a game-changer.

CNRP is stronger but 30% lighter than the CFRP and is being used on F-35.

Randy, does Boeing study new kinds of composites for its 737X study?

Tim Knowlton (Everett, Washington USA):

There will no doubt be a banter or two about the Hercules (C-130 variants)versus the Grizzly (A-400M), and other EADS military programs such as the Rafale and the Mirage and their presently active role (finally) in NATO actions in contrast to a variety of american military aircraft supporting the same actions.

The commercial aircraft side of airbus will talk up "beancounts" as usual and likely inflate the numbers into possibly the 80's or beyond for "power puffing" of their equally strained market foothold without much variation from expectations.

Richard M (New South Wales):

Good luck with the circus Randy !
I predict 143 Airbus "airshow orders".

Wout De Backer (Rotterdam, The Netherlands):

I can't wait to see what you guys have brought to the airshow. Too bad the B747s and B787 will have left by the time the general public (including myself) visits. I hope you haven't all left by then and that there's still someone left to talk to.

I'm also very anxious to learn about the Boeing 737-modification or replacement. Please, keep us posted. And, of course, you're right: It's all about the full package, start to finish of the financial year.

(Hopefully) See you in Paris!

By an aerospace engineering student and avid Boeing fan.

Bob (Woodland, CA):

I'll say that Airbus will pull out 75 new orders and Boeing will be lets say 65. I don't think it's a good year yet for major orders to pop up. I could be WAY off base though.

Santos (indonesia):

hi randy,
right now, there is one hot issue in Indonesia about the will of Indonesian government to purchase one BBJ 2 as president air force one. The medias here have not explained well the specification of the aircraft, what's inside the aircraft, how seat arrangement and when the order will be announced.

hopefully, you can explain to us in Indonesia.


V V (Montreal, Québec):

In two years, things will have changed. There will be other persons on the scene. The number of orders in Paris airshow 2013 will decrease significantly. We will check back in 2013 and then in 2015.

Mark W (NY USA):

I dare not predict. My hope is the 747-8I will garner some interest, and hopefully some orders. All the best next week.

Terry (Houston):

Would much rather see the Boeing planes than listen to Airbus talk . Best to you Randy

Seth (Seattle):

My hopes are high that the 747-8 will appeal highly to both passenger, and cargo airlines. It is definitely a super aircraft, with a proven track record...My guess is that Airbus will pull out all it's tricks from their funny bag and announce 280 plus orders.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States ):

I hope to see future plans revealed for the 777 and the 737 at the Paris Air Show. I think moderate to healthy sized but not massive orders will be handed to Boeing and other manufactures this time around. I hope to see more orders for the 747-8I at the air show.

aeroturbopower (

I would say something between 500-700 NEO orders/LoI's, MoU's or whatever. Qatar and HongKong for 10+ A380's. Jet for 10 A330 as already reported. You guys at B. wíll have some orders, too, of course, at least one for the 747-8I and clarifying up some unidentified customers. Then who knows if U-Turn Al will at long last order the CSeries? But I guess one or two orders from others will be there? ATR already announced they will have four orders. MRJ could have on0e or two. And finally Embraer will no sit quiet at the siidelines...

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

370 for Airbus, NEO for sale, so that could go higher
115 for Boeing

Very interesting will be AVIC - I think the first Western show appearance for a Chinese manufacturer. Also Bombardier with the CSeries should make a splash. Probably a muted show for Embraer since they're waiting for Boeing to move on the 737, and there I don't think Boeing will announce anything just yet. Probably some more E-Jets contracts. Perhaps the regional guys, Bombardier (jet & turboprop), ATR, Embraer & Superjet International will capture the headlines.

Should be quite entertaining visually.

John Cook (Charleston AFB, SC):

Randy, don't forget one of our great C-17's will be there too compliments of the DoD. P207 takes off today from Joint Base Charleston.

Tim K (Ont Canada):

I don't understand Boeing stance on orders announced at air shows. Air shows are designed on purpose to showcase a company’s new products or ideas. It’s supposed to set a positive environment for the entire industry so what better place to announce new orders than at an airshow. At this years Paris airshow Airbus will probably be announcing at least 200+ NEO orders and a handful of 330, 350, and 380 orders which is great news for the entire industry. Your comments tend to suggest that Boeing is trying to deflate the importance of any positive news from the competition which is rather selfish on your part; perhaps if Boeing had firmed up their plans for the 737 they would also be announcing hundreds of orders and your marketing department would be working overtime to spread the news… at air shows.

Thiagarajan K Rengasamy (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia):

I am not guessing any figures but sure to bet that both 747-8 and 787 will gather some interesting sales..All the Best Randy!

shane amodei (Everett WA):

I'm not able to predict the number of quoted sales but I am sure about the best performing and best looking airplanes...


Airbus: 500-600 NEO commitments, including a firming up Indigo. I'm curious as to what they'll have to give up in terms of A320 "Classics" already booked. Although their sales person in chief said they wouldn't swap out existing orders for NEOs, Tony Fernandes at Air Asia seems to have other ideas. So actual net new orders could be anyone's guess until EADS updates their spreadsheet at the end of the year, or when those NEO commitments get firmed. I wouldn't be surprised to see a couple of A380 orders; Paris seems to be the place for these rare events. Air France/KLM's pending wide body order is what I find really interesting. If the French pols have their way, airbus gets it. If AF has their way...who knows?

Boeing orders? Tell me AA is finally going to finalize their 789s? ;-)

George M (Long Island, NY, USA):

Best wishes for a successful Paris Air Show. I'd love to see some new orders for the 748I. She is a beautiful bird, and I look forward to flying in one someday.

Please light a fire under Boeing management to make a decision re: the 737. I think a clean sheet (with some sorely-needed additional interior width for passenger comfort)is the way to go, and the sooner they commit to it, the sooner it will take to the skies. If Boeing makes an all-out drive to bring the new design to fruition starting now, they can hopefully shrink the lead time to EIS thanks to advances in materials technology and manufacturing processes acquired through the "787 University of Hard Knocks." I don't see any substantial practicality in hanging a new engine on the existing 737; the stubby landing gear and consequent low ground clearance will necessitate major re-design of the fuselage and wings, to what end? It will only delay the inevitable introduction of the next generation of short-haul aircraft and divert resources from both that effort and the parallel need to upgrade the 777 series.

Howard (Taneytown, MD):

Airbus - 223

Boeing - 58

Looking forward to first deliveries of 787 and 747.

Chris C (South Africa):

Hi Randy,

The plan of having the new Air Berlin 737-700 with its new Boeing Sky Interior present at the Paris Air Show is excellent. I flew on flydubai’s brand-new 737-800 (from Kabul, Afghanistan to Dubai, UAE) a few months back that sported the new BSI arrangement and I was truly impressed. The BSI is, as far as I’m concerned, an award-winning design that has clearly propelled the 737NG family well ahead of the competition in terms of cabin design. True to Boeing’s nature, the BSI on the 737NG family highlights Boeing’s leading stance in aviation as being the true innovator and market-preferred airplane maker.

Air-show “order” predictions?

Airbus – A320 NEO (circa 400 “orders” including MoU, LoI, purchase agreements, and conversions)
Airbus – A330 (24 “orders”)
Airbus – A350 (30 “orders”)
Airbus – A380 (12 “orders”)

Boeing – 737 (30 new firm orders)
Boeing – 787 (24 new firm orders)
Boeing – 777 (30 new firm orders)
Boeing – 747 (8 new firm orders)

Thomas Horstmann, Jr. (Portland, Oregon):

I predict 458 and a half aircraft will be announced by Airbus.. :)

Cristiano (Campo Grande, MS, Brazil.):

Because I do rely on Boeing much more than on Airbus. Time has proved which is more professional. To me, although France helped Dumont to launch the first aircraft that could take-off by its means, the philosophy of Airbus on marketing has nothing related to Dumont seriousness. I just hope that the A380 is not so vulnerable like the A330 is.

Tom (Germany):


never heard about "firm orders" or " "orders" "....
Marketing/news paper people might call a MOU or a LOI as something as good as an order - but order is a term used in serious business and means for Airbus that some nonrefundable money was paid and really everything is fixed.

Remember China's last "big deal" with Boeing/ US? There were no new orders (for BCA!) although the last confirmation was missing. It was a "big" show and BCA had problems to explain that McNerney, Obama, and China`s PM put the last pieces of ink on paper for something that was already in the order books - for years!
BTW: Boeing never said that there were new orders - but the media!

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