For this week's news roundup, we examine the Boeing-Airbus rivalry in lead up to the Paris Air Show, Ryanair expansion and digital transformation at airlines.

Boeing & Airbus to Square Off at Paris Air Show

With Boeing's well-documented 737 MAX saga, the moment seems ripe for the taking for Airbus at next week's Paris Air Show. The conference takes place from June 17 - June 23, consisting of four trading days and three general admission days.

2019 has been a slow year for aircraft orders — Boeing reported no new orders for April and May — but all of that is set to change. The Paris Air Show historically has been a major point of sale for aircraft manufacturers.

Boeing's troubles paired with the launch of the A321XLR, seem to give Airbus the upper hand going into next week. Although not a direct competitor, Airbus may very well use this opportunity to attract customers to the A321XLR while the announcement of the Boeing 797 is expected to be delayed.

And of course, the 737 MAX story continues to play out. The latest comes from U.S. legislators who suggest Boeing wanted to wait three years to fix the 737 MAX.

Ryanair Expansion

The big news from the low-cost carrier is that it will buy Malta Air. This gives the carrier a a Maltese air operator’s certificate (AOC) – airline license – and access to markets in North Africa.

In addition to the 61 Ryanair routes to and from Malta, Ryanair plans to generate several new routes and double its fleet in Malta to 10.

This move — along with its purchase of Laudamotion — points to what appears to be ambitions for Ryanair to expand, and possibly do so beyond Europe. Currently the carrier does operate in markets such as Jordan, Morocco and Israel, but could it go further?

Ryanair in the past has toyed with the idea of traveling transatlantic but such a move never gained much steam. The low-cost long-haul market has been a fickle one, with new entrants popping up such as JetBlue. At the very least, Ryanair is appears primed for further expansion into Africa.

Digital Transformation of Airlines

One of the much talked about buzzwords in commercial aviation is digital transformation. Unlike adjacent industries, airlines have been slow to digitize their operations.

Sarwant Singh of Forbes, recently dove into this topic, citing a report from Frost & Sullivan that suggests digital transformation programs in the airline industry could generate an incremental value of $5-$10 for every passenger, annually.

With so much to gain, airlines are beginning to adopt innovative business models and changing core functions. Head over to the link to read Singh's full breakdown of the Frost & Sullivan study and his take on digital transformation.

Just this week, we can point to examples of this transformation happening. United Airlines has partnered with TripActions to offer more efficient booking, and is enhancing its booking curves. We're also seeing airlines apply this to other areas of the business. Airlines are Increasingly Connecting Artificial Intelligence to Their MRO Strategies. Again, these are just a few of many examples.

Best of the Rest