Airbus (EADSF) has secured two major orders from airlines based in the United Arab Emirates, jumping out to an early lead over rival Boeing in the race for new business at the Dubai Airshow.
Dubai-based Emirates announced Monday that it had ordered 50 A350s from Airbus, giving the wide-body jet a prominent role in a fleet that already includes the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777.
The deal, worth $16 billion at list prices, replaces an Emirates order announced in February for 30 Airbus A350s and 40 A330Neos. Airlines typically negotiate substantial discounts to listed prices.
Airbus received an additional order for 120 planes in its A320neo family from a budget carrier based in the UAE. Air Arabia said the $14 billion order would more than triple its current fleet strength.
The Dubai Airshow failed to produce big sales Sunday during its opening day. But the $30 billion in orders secured by Airbus could help spark more dealmaking before the event wraps up Thursday.
Boeing will be seeking to reassure potential buyers that its 737 Max will soon return to service following crashes of planes operated by Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air, killing 346 people.
Stan Deal, president and CEO of commercial airplanes at Boeing, told reporters in Dubai that the company still believes it can get US certification before the end of this year on the 737 Max. Regulators around the world have said they may need more time.
“We’re going to follow the [US Federal Aviation Administration’s] lead on this,” he said. “This airplane, the process, the tools and certification has to be safe and done well.”
Boeing has continued to build about 42 of the jets each month even though it can’t deliver them while the plane is grounded. Boeing collects most of the money from a sale when a plane is delivered to an airline.
The US planemaker said in a statement Sunday that SunExpress, which operates flights between Europe, Turkey and vacation destinations, had exercised an option for 10 737 MAX 8s.
Yet the 737 Max isn’t the only problem Boeing (BA) faces.
The company warned last month it would cut the production rate for its 787 Dreamliner to about 12 per month by late next year because of diminished demand caused by the US-China trade war.
— Nada Altaher and Chris Isidore contributed reporting.