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New 737 MAX orders could be ‘breaking of the dam’ for Boeing

Grounded 737 MAX jets at Seattle's Boeing Field. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

As Boeing continues to face flack for its grounded 737 MAX jets, the company has now gotten a boost, marked by the arrival of long-awaited (and much-needed) new orders for the maligned plane.

Boeing employee: I would not put my family on 737 MAX right now

International Airlines Group — the parent company for British Airways and Aer Lingus among others — recently announced plans to order 200 Boeing 737 MAX jets. IAG’s order would include both MAX 8 and MAX 10 planes. These are the same planes that are currently grounded after the deadly crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia.

While Boeing has been largely shielded against cancellations of existing orders, airlines had largely stopped putting in new requests for the 737 MAX, with just two orders submitted in the first two months of 2019. By comparison, the company had gotten 112 orders in the opening quarter of 2018.

Now, Boeing appears to be rebounding at the perfect time, with the Paris Air Show taking place this week.

“This could well be the start of breaking the dam, so to speak,” aviation industry analyst Scott Hamilton told KIRO Radio. “That couldn’t have come at a better time and be better news for Boeing.”

IAG’s current fleet is mostly composed of the Airbus A320, the primary rival to Boeing’s own 737 line. Airbus’s A321 jet was also unveiled Monday at the Paris Air Show. Airbus is poised to announce as many as 200 orders for the new plane.

Boeing cuts back on 737 Max production

The new 737 MAX orders isn’t the only good news for Boeing to come out of the Paris Air Show. Korean Air announced its plans to add 30 new Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes. The order is worth about $6.3 billion and quadruples its 787 fleet to 40.

The Air Lease Corporation also committed to five new 787-9 Dreamliners to expand its fleet to 56.

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