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Paris Air Show: IAG orders 200 Boeing 737 Max jets

By Darryl Coote & Danielle Haynes
Paris Air Show: IAG orders 200 Boeing 737 Max jets
A Boeing 787-9 performs a demonstration flight on the opening day of the 53rd international Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, north of Paris, on Monday. Photo by Eco Clement/UPI | License Photo

June 19 (UPI) -- A day after Boeing failed to secure any orders for new planes at the Paris Air Show, the embattled aircraft manufacturer announced it inked a letter of intent with International Airlines Group for 200 737 Max aircraft, the first major deal for the plane since it was grounded earlier this year.

Announced during the second day of the air show, the $24 billion deal sees the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and LEVEL ordering a mix of Boeing's 737 Max 8 and Max 10 jets, though it has not announced the specific numbers of each.

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IAG said the planes, pending final approval of the order, will be delivered between 2023 and 2027.

"We are very pleased to sign this letter of intent with Boeing and are certain that these aircraft will be a great addition to IAG's short-haul fleet," IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said in a statement.

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The order is the first major deal Boeing has secured for its 737 Max aircraft since the plane was grounded in March following a second fatal crash involving the plane in a matter of months.

While 737 Max aircraft are still parked on tarmacs, Walsh said he is sure that Boeing will have the planes back in the sky before long.

"We have every confidence in Boeing and expect that the aircraft will make a successful return to service in the coming months having received approval from regulators," he said.

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The plane will remain grounded until it completes a software fix that addresses issues with its Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which was linked to the crashes in Indonesia last October and Ethiopia in March.

"We are truly honored and humbled by the leadership at International Airlines Group for placing their trust and confidence in the 737 Max and, ultimately, in the people of Boeing and our deep commitment to quality and safety above all else," Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Kevin McAllister said in a statement. "We are delighted that the IAG team recognized the superior qualities of the 737 Max and has indicated an intention to return to the Boeing 737 family."

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Boeing also announced Tuesday it had sold 20 of its 787-10 and 10 787-9 Dreamliners to Korean Air.

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Meanwhile, IAG, with 582 aircraft flying to 268 destinations, is one of the world's largest airline groups, wasn't done shopping Tuesday and purchased eight Airbus A321XLR aircraft for Iberia and six for Aer Lingus with an option to buy 14 more.

The French aircraft manufacturer unveiled the A321XLR, the next generation of the A321LR, Monday during the first day of the air show, and pulled in more than 100 orders for aircraft while Boeing was only able to secure a handful of orders for converted planes.

Among those ordered were 50 from American Airlines. The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline upgraded 30 of its orders for the Airbus A321neo to the A321XLR, and added an additional 20 A321XLRs.

The A321XLR is the longest-range narrow body aircraft and is meant for longer routes on which there aren't enough passengers to warrant a twin aisle jet.

New aircraft take flight at 2019 Paris Air Show

Embraer's Praetor 600 business aircraft performs a demonstration flight during the 53rd international Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, France on Tuesday. Photo by Eco Clement/UPI | License Photo

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