Major Fleet Upgrades Announced at Paris Air Show


The annual Paris Air Show is commonly the site of major airplane order announcements and the 2013 version did not disappoint. While Boeing and Airbus have the biggest numbers smaller manufacturers also had big news during the week. Embraer scored several notable orders both in the United States and abroad, along with announcements of new aircraft types expected by the end of the decade.

For Boeing and Airbus, the show offered the opportunity to sell their newest larger planes—the 787-10 for Boeing and the A350-1000 for Airbus—and also their smaller planes. When it came to the big planes, the 787-10 was the star of the show. It attracted more than 100 orders from five customers; some of the orders will be conversions from previous contracts while many are new options. The A350-1000 saw its biggest boost from United Airlines, which committed to ordering 35 of the type. These planes are slated to replace the aging Boeing 747s in United’s fleet starting in 2018.


Boeing and Ryanair announced an order for 175 new 737 aircraft, the workhorse of the Ryanair fleet. It is expected that some of these orders will be converted to the newer 737-MAX in the future as the delivery timeframe for that newer type is firmed. Similarly, Lufthansa firmed an order for 100 single-aisle planes from Airbus; 70 of these planes will be the "neo" models with newer engines and other improvements which make them more efficient that the current models.

For Embraer the major news was in large orders and a revamped product line. Their new E2 family of planes will fit in to the 70-130 seat market, a space that Boeing and Airbus have vacated in recent years. Embraer hopes to control a large chunk of that market with these new aircraft, which are expected to enter service from 2018-2020. The company signed orders for hundreds of the new planes, including a single firm order of 100 from SkyWest, a regional operator in the United States.

Lots of new planes will be taking to the skies by the end of the decade. This bodes well for both passenger comfort and the environmental impact of air travel; the new planes are generally 15-30% more efficient than older models.

Photos courtesy of Paris Air Show