Airbus and Boeing are struggling to get orders for their planes from major carriers at the Dubai Airshow amid a slowdown in regional economic growth in the aftermath of low oil prices, which resulted in airlines to rethink their fleet expansion and growth strategies on weaker demand for travel.
As the premier air show entered its fourth day, the overall order position is much lower than that of the previous edition two years ago. The previous edition of the show generated a $113.8 billion on-site aircraft order book.
With the worsening of industry headwinds, major regional airlines are realising that they don't need as many planes, especially wide-bodied aircraft, as they estimated a few years ago.
So far, Airbus has managed to secure total orders to the tune of approximately 225 aircraft, which consist of wide-body planes and narrow-body planes of varying seating capacities.
The European planemaker received orders for 120 A320neo family planes from budget carrier Air Arabia, 12 A320neo planes from EasyJet, 10 A321XLRS from Flynas, 50 A350 widebody planes from Emirates and 8 A220s from Air Senegal. In yet another development, aircraft leasing company GECAS confirmed a new order for 25 Airbus planes, which include 12 A330neo.
Demand For Boeing 737 MAX
Boeing could secure orders for 65 planes, which include 30 737 MAX narrow-body planes from Kazakhstan's Air Astana and another order for 20 similar planes from an undisclosed customer.
The Air Astana deal is positive for the MAX since the airline has been building its short-haul fleet around the A320neo. "This was a tendered competition we fought hard for and won," said Stan Deal, head of Boeing's jetliner business.
Further, Boeing received an order for three 787-9 variants of the Dreamliner from Ghana, which is in addition to a two-plane 787 order from Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
Global regulators halted commercial flights of Boeing's popular 737 MAX jet in March after two fatal accidents within a span of five months. The US plane maker, which is expected an approval from Federal Aviation Administration to return the Max to the skies by year-end, is working with regulators to certify a fix to flight-automation software that was involved in two deadly crashes.
The demand scene is not that bright for bigger widebody jets as both plane makers face dwindling orders for Boeing 777X and Airbus A380.
The biennial air show held at Dubai's Al Maktoum Airport, which opened on November 17, will close on November 21.