Albeit weighed down by the crashes, ensuing safety concerns and the grounding of its fleet of roughly 400 jets around the world, Boeing managed to reach Day 3 of the Dubai Air Show with bids for about 50 of its embattled 737 Max jets, a day after getting a firm order worth US$1.2 billion for 10 of the jets from Turkey’s leisure airline SunExpress, the “first firm order” for the plane since it was grounded in March.
The relief for the American airframer came from Air Astana, which intends to order 30 737 Max 8 aircraft to serve as the backbone of its new low-cost airline FlyArystan.
The Kazakhstan flag-carrier signed a letter of intent with Boeing for the airplanes, with a list price value of US$3.6 billion.
“Since its launch in May this year, FlyArystan has exceeded all expectations and it is clear that low cost air travel has a great future in Kazakhstan and Central Asia,” said Peter Foster, President and CEO of Air Astana. ”
“Today we operate both 757s and 767s and 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”.
Air Astana has had a strong relationship with Boeing ever since the airline started flying in 2002 with a pair of 737NGs.
“Air Astana has become one of the leading airlines in Central Asia with its deep focus on safety, reliability, efficiency and customer service. At Boeing, we share those same values and are honoured to expand our partnership with the 737 MAX,” said Stan Deal, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Boeing competitor Airbus, meanwhile, also moved ahead with some deals on Day 3 after securing US$30 billion in deals a day earlier at the airshow. Air Senegal announced a memorandum of understanding to purchase eight Airbus A220 in an order worth US$734 million at list price.
Airbus also secured purchases from British budget carrier EasyJet, which said it will order 12 additional A320neos it previously had options to buy, pushing the airline’s total order for the single-aisle plane to 159. The airline operates across Europe with a fleet of entirely Airbus aircraft, serving 155 European airports.
The list price of the A320neo in 2018 was US$110.6 million, making the order for 12 worth about USUS$1.3 billion. Airlines, however, typically negotiate better prices.
On Day 2, the European aerospace giant had inked deals with Emirates and local low-cost airline Air Arabia ordering dozens of A350s and A320s.
“We are pleased to sign a firm order for 50 A350 XWBs,” said Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates CEO.
The new aircraft “will give us added operational flexibility in terms of capacity, range and deployment. In effect, we are strengthening our business model to provide efficient and comfortable air transport services to, and through, our Dubai hub,” he added.
Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said he was “very proud that Airbus 350 has been selected by Emirates.”
Emirates‘ fleet already includes many superjumbo A380s, however, Airbus had already announced in February that it would halt production of its largest jet due to declining demand.
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