Airbus on Monday launched a long-range version of its A321neo jet at the Paris Airshow.
Airbus Chief Salesman Christian Scherer said in Le Bourget, France, that with the new jet, one could fly from north-eastern Asia into south Asia; from the Middle East to Bali or from Japan deep into Australia.
“It is therefore the lowest-risk investment for airlines on these kinds of routes,” Scherer said.
The European planemaker will announce close to 200 orders for the new model over the week, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Leasing company Air Lease Corp became the first customer of the new aircraft, taking 27 as part of a deal for 100 Airbus planes.
Sources familiar with the matter said JetBlue Airways Corp would also buy some of the new jets.
The aerospace industry’s biggest annual event, which alternates with Britain’s Farnborough Airshow, is traditionally a slugging match between Airbus and Boeing sales teams in the $150 billion a year commercial aircraft market.
Airbus and Boeing are also grappling with their own problems. The U.S. planemaker is striving to bring its top-selling 737 MAX jet back into service after its grounding following two fatal crashes.
Airbus, meanwhile, is occupied with a long-running corruption scandal.
Boeing executives took turns to apologise for the loss of life in the crashes and pledged to apply the lessons learned to future planes following criticism of its response to the disasters in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people.
“This is the most trying of times,” Boeing commercial airplanes boss Kevin McAllister told a news conference.
Airbus shares were up 0.9 per cent at 123.50 euros in early trade
Airbus did not give a price for the A321XLR jet but the current A321neo has a list price of $129.5 million. (Reuters/NAN)