Macron kicks off Paris Air Show with airborne entrance

A man walks on the corniche in Doha Qatar

A man walks on the corniche in Doha Qatar

On the other hand, the latest variant of the most popular aircraft on the planet - the 737 MAX 9, is now the most sought after aircraft for aviation enthusiasts.

Mr. McAllister said more than 10 customers have already committed to buying the plane.

CDB Aviation, the aircraft leasing arm of China Development Bank, is in talks to place orders with both Boeing and Airbus and could complete at least one of the deals by the show.

Boeing said Monday that its board of directors has given the green light to develop a new super-stretched version of its single-aisle 737 Max.

But Boeing generated a fresh burst of activity at the world's biggest airshow by launching the 737 MAX 10 to plug a gap in its portfolio at the top end of the market for single-aisle jets following runaway sales of European rival Airbus' A321neo. Its first large passenger jet, the C919, took its maiden flight last month, and is competing for market share with the A320 and 737 ranges. The Seattle-based company did not say who the customer was.

It will also have an increased maximum take-off weight and need less regular maintenance checks. After a slew of successful product introductions over the past few years, Airbus has little new to show, and its order book is already filled with commitments for planes stretching out nearly a decade.

Sub-Saharan Africa's largest carrier already has an order for 12 -900 variants, though it has also been looking at the stretched -1000, as well as Boeing Co.'s rival 777-8, Chief Executive Officer Tewolde Gebre Mariam said past year.

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The 737 competes with the Airbus A320neo family of jets that the European manufacturer introduced previous year, which has had about 4,600 orders.

Analysts said one unknown quantity is how numerous MAX 10 orders may merely be replacing previous orders for other variants as Boeing rejigs its medium-haul portfolio.

In another boost for a defence project, French President Emmanuel Macron was due to fly into the show on an Airbus A400M military transporter in his first official engagement since winning a parliamentary majority in elections on Sunday.

Airbus will also showcase its new long-haul model A350-1000 and Boeing its 787-10 Dreamliner while Ukraine's Antonov will present its 132 D.

Macron, trying to raise his worldwide profile, appears to have chosen the A400-M to give a boost of confidence to the long-troubled European military transporter project.

The launch is expected to trigger a procession of roughly 150 mostly small- to medium-sized orders from airlines, industry sources said.

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