June 18, 2015, Paris Air Show: It was one of the most hotly contested campaigns in Europe, for a triple-digit order from the Hungarian low
cost carrier, Wizz, for either the Boeing 737 MAX 200 or the Airbus A320 family.
For Boeing, a win was sorely needed for a second customer for the 737 MAX 200. It would also mean displacing Airbus as the incumbent supplier to Wizz.
For Airbus, it didn’t want to be displaced and winning this deal would increase the A320neo family lead over the MAX and keep a thumb on the MAX 200.
In a deal signed just 10 minutes before the scheduled press conference of a “customer announcement,” Airbus won and Boeing lost.
The win allowed Airbus to claim victory over Boeing at the Paris Air Show, where Boeing had put in a
surprisingly strong showing this year, ending with about 310 orders and commitments. Wizz put Airbus over the top at 421 orders and commitments, valued at $57bn. (At this writing, Boeing hadn’t issued its end-of-show tally that would include a valuation.)
The 737 MAX 200, a 200- seat aircraft in high density, 28-inch seat pitch, has only one customer to-date, launch customer Ryanair. According to Market Intelligence that is now a few months old, Boeing offered the 200 to Wizz for $35m. This price was unconfirmed and no more recent information was available. Airbus’ best and final counter offer price for the A321neo, in 239 seat high density configuration, is also unavailable.
Engines have not been selected.
John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer-customers, was clearly jubilant at the win over Boeing with Wizz and the last minute win for the Air Show. Leahy crowed at the A320neo family market share over the 737 MAX being 60%, now with a backlog of more than 4,000 orders. Boeing’s MAX backlog is just under 3,000.