Day 3 at the Dubai Airshow: Boeing scores and Airbus picks up a new customer

Nov 16, 2021

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Tuesday was the third day of the five-day Dubai Airshow, and it looks like the third time is the charm for Boeing.

The U.S. planemaker scored a major order from new low-cost Indian carrier Akasa Air, which will purchase 72 of Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft.

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The deal is valued at $9 billion at list prices, although customers never actually pay full price — the actual sale values are usually kept confidential.

The order includes two variants — the 737-8, and the higher capacity 737-8-200.

Deliveries will start next year, and Asaka Air plans to begin service in summer of 2022.

Boeing also confirmed a smaller order — one of several commercial orders for under 10 airplanes it’s locked down over the show.

That order, from Air Tanzania, will see a 767-300 Freighter, two 737 Max jets, and a 787-8 Dreamliner, was already on Boeing’s public order book, but the buyer had not yet been identified.

Boeing was not the only one selling airplanes in Africa. European rival Airbus announced the sale of 10 A220s to upstart Nigerian airline Ibom Air.

Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer; Mfon Udom, chief executive officer of Ibom Air; and Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, governor of Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom state, announcing Ibom Air’s order for ten A220 aircraft at the Dubai Airshow. Photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy.

Ibom, which is owned by the Nigerian state of Akwa Ibom, began flying in 2019 with a fleet of CRJ-900s. It currently also wet leases two A220s along with its five owned CRJs.

The order is currently split between three A220-300s and seven smaller A220-100s, although Airbus and representatives for Ibom Air said that mix is likely to change based on needs as the aircraft are delivered.

More: First look: Inside Boeing’s first prototype 777X

Airbus also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways for the purchase of 20 A320neos and eight A321neos, although this order still has to be firmed.

Aside from that, it was another day of planespotting and touring unique aircraft for show-goers.

Airbus demonstrates its A350 during the flying display at the Dubai Airshow on Tuesday. Photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy.

While the biennial Dubai Airshow typically falls secondary compared to the Paris and Farnborough airshows, Dubai 2021 is the first pandemic-era gathering, significantly elevating the stage on which the show is taking place. Passenger airlines were not necessarily expected to place major orders this show, which has focused on industry recovery on the civil aviation side.

The Dubai Airshow runs through Thursday, Nov. 18, so be sure to check back for more on-the-ground reporting from TPG.

Featured photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy.

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