Airbus tops billing in Dubai but Boeing finds support for 737 MAX

Published November 20, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

DUBAI (AFP) – Airbus has secured two mammoth sales to Emirates and Air Arabia at the Dubai Airshow, but rival Boeing struck important deals for the 737 MAX despite it being grounded since March.

Boeing made two firm sales and announced another ”letter of intent” for the troubled model, in what analysts said was welcome support for the plane, which was taken out of service following two fatal crashes.

Here is a breakdown of the deals.

Dubai-based Emirates Airline said it would buy 50 Airbus A350-900 widebody aircraft in a deal worth $16 billion, with delivery to begin in May 2023.
The airline, the largest in the Middle East, is reorganizing its fleet after cutting orders of the A380 superjumbo, which airlines have struggled to fill to its capacity of 500 to 850 passengers.

It has a whopping 271 large aircraft, including 113 Airbus A380 superjumbos and 158 Boeing 777 planes.

Emirates order

Emirates said the announcement replaces an earlier plan to buy 30 A350s and 40 A330neos in a deal worth $21.4 billion.

But it also said that discussion on purchasing the A330neos could still be revived.

Air Arabia

UAE low-cost carrier Air Arabia said it would buy 120 Airbus A320s for $14 billion, in an order representing a major expansion for the airline.

It currently operates 53 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, as it moves ahead with plans to add new routes to its network, which flies to 170 destinations.

Last month Air Arabia announced an agreement with Abu Dhabi-based giant Etihad Airways to launch a new low-cost airline based in the UAE capital, to be known as Air Arabia Abu Dhabi.

Turkish SunExpress

Turkish carrier SunExpress ordered 10 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The deal was for a relatively modest $1.2 billion but it represented ”the first firm order” for the plane since it was taken out of service in March.

The sale comes on top of a previous SunExpress order for 32 of the aircraft.

”We have full confidence that Boeing will deliver us a safe, reliable and efficient aircraft,” the airline’s CEO Jens Bischof said.

”However, it goes without saying that this requires the undisputed airworthiness of the model, granted by all relevant authorities.”

Air Astana

Boeing won another boost with Kazakhstan’s flag carrier Air Astana saying it planned to buy 30 of the 737 MAX, with the ”letter of intent” to be finalized in coming months.

Boeing said the planes would ”serve as the backbone” of Air Astana’s new low-cost carrier FlyArystan.

”We believe that the MAX will provide a solid platform for the growth of FlyArystan throughout our region, once the aircraft has successfully returned to service,” said Air Astana President Peter Foster.

The last commercial landmark for the troubled model was in June when Boeing secured a letter of intent by British Airways parent IAG to buy 200 of the planes.