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Paris Air Show: Day Three Secures European Launch Customer for the Boeing 737 MAX 7

On the third day, several orders were announced, including the first Boeing 737 MAX 7 order in Europe, some Airbus A330-900s for a leasing company, and additional Airbus A220-300s for Africa

by Matteo Legnani

June 22, 2023

Photo: Paris Air Show 2023. Courtesy of Airbus

On the third day of the highly anticipated Paris Air Show 2023, Luxair made a significant announcement by becoming the first European carrier to secure an order for the Boeing 737 MAX 7.

The Luxembourg-based airline placed an order for four aircraft, marking a significant milestone for the smallest version of Boeing’s MAX family.

Photo: Courtesy of Boeing

Luxair has been a loyal customer of Boeing, having taken delivery of 23 737 aircraft since 1977. The 737 MAX 7 is considered to be a natural replacement for Luxair’s current fleet of four 737-700s and four 737-800s.

Brad McMullen, Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, expressed delight at Luxair’s selection of the 737 MAX 7, which made the airline the launch customer for this aircraft type in Europe.

McMullen emphasized that the new aircraft would provide Luxair with increased flexibility across its network, allowing the airline to adjust capacity based on seasonality and demand, thereby maximizing profitability throughout the year.

Gilles Feith, CEO of Luxair, highlighted the importance of this agreement, stating that the four Boeing 737 MAX 7s would contribute to securing a long-term future for the national airline.

Feith emphasized that the MAX 7 was an ideal match for Luxair and would meet market requirements. With a seating capacity of 160 passengers, the MAX 7 would offer enhanced flexibility across Luxair’s destination network while significantly reducing fuel consumption.

Photo: First Boeing 737 MAX 7. Courtesy of Boeing.

Although the MAX 7 is one of the two Family variants awaiting certification (together with the larger MAX 10), Luxair’s order reflects the growing popularity of the aircraft.

The first MAX 7 prototype took its inaugural flight from the Renton factory five years ago on March 16, 2018. Originally expected to enter service in January 2019 with Southwest Airlines, the certification process was significantly prolonged due to the accidents involving its larger sibling, the MAX 8.

As of May, the MAX 7 had received a total of 286 orders from three customers: Southwest Airlines (234), Allegiant Air (30), and Westjet (22).

More Indian Orders Flood Le Bourget

In addition to Luxair’s announcement, another Indian operator, Akasa Air, took center stage at the Paris Air Show. The Mumbai-based low-cost carrier unveiled an order for four additional 737 MAX 8s, bringing its total order book with Boeing to 76 jets.

Of these, 23 are 737 MAX-8s, and the remaining 53 are high-capacity 737 MAX 8-200s.

Photo: Akasa Air signing at Paris Air Show 2023 for four 737-8s. Courtesy of Boeing

With operations launched in 2022, Akasa Air currently operates a fleet of 19 airplanes serving 16 destinations, holding a 4.8% domestic market share.

Vinay Dube, Founder and CEO of Akasa Air, expressed excitement about expanding their fleet and emphasized that the new Boeing aircraft would be crucial for the airline’s domestic expansion and future international routes.

This additional order from India follows IndiGo’s day one order, which made history as the largest order of airplanes in the world. IndiGo committed to purchasing 500 Airbus A321neo jets.

Avolon Buys Boeing and Airbus

Leasing giant Avolon, within a day of placing an order for 40 Boeing 737 MAX jets, turned to Airbus and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 20 Airbus A330-900s.

Deliveries of the A330-900s will commence in 2026 and conclude by 2028.

Photo: Courtesy of Airbus

Avolon, which already manages approximately 25 A330-900s with an average age of just 3.3 years, has been a significant buyer of the A330 series. The company currently possesses 51 A330 aircraft, split between the A330-200 and the A330-300.

Andy Cronin, CEO and COO of Avolon, expressed genuine excitement about the demand for aircraft and specifically mentioned the increasing interest in the A330neo worldwide.

TAAG Angola Wraps Things Up

Finally, Taag Angola Airlines confirmed an order for nine Airbus A220-300s. Interestingly, the orders were split across the first three days of the Paris Air Show and were signed with three different lessors.

Photo: Courtesy of Airbus

The A220-300s, with a capacity of 142 passengers (12 in Business and 130 in Economy), will replace Taag Angola Airlines’ current six Boeing 737-700s fleet while increasing capacity on regional routes.

The airline had previously ordered six A220 aircraft at the 2022 Farnborough Air Show, bringing the total number of A220s to 15. The first delivery is expected in April 2024.