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Dubai Airshow: UAE carriers give Airbus a Dubai boost

Posted 19 November 2019 · Add Comment

Dubai’s Emirates Airline is taking the A350s, while Sharjah’s low-cost carrier, Air Arabia, placed orders for 73 A320neo, 27 A321neo, and 20 A321XLR aircraft.

The choice of the latest extra-long-range aircraft will enable Air Arabia to extend its destination offering, according to the airline’s CEO, Adel Ali.

Both deals have been widely anticipated, although criticism of some performance issues in the new aircraft had led to doubts over whether the agreements would be ready for this week’s show.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman and CEO of Emirates, expressed his delight that the order – which formed part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) earlier in the year – had been completed and would allow the airline to plan well into the future.

“The first aircraft will arrive in 2023 and be delivered through to 2028,” he said. “They are a good fit for us and give us greater flexibility.”

He said plans included the introduction of a premium economy in the new type.

The original MoU had called for 30 A350XWB and 40 A330s. The A330s have been dropped from the firm order.

The A350s will feature Trent-900 engines from Rolls-Royce.

Sheikh Ahmed said: “This $16 billion deal reflects our confidence in the future of the UAE’s aviation sector, and is a strong affirmation of Dubai’s strategy to be a global nexus connected to cities, communities and economies via a world-class and modern aviation sector.”

Sharjah will be competing to connect cities with the Air Arabia expansion.

Ali said: “Air Arabia’s fleet growth strategy has always been driven by commercial demand and we are glad to announce one of the region’s largest single-aisle orders with Airbus to support our growth plans.

“This new milestone underpins, not only our solid financial fundamentals, but also the strength of the multi-hub growth strategy that we have adopted over the years, while remaining focused on efficiency, performance and passenger experience.

“We plan to expand our service to further and newer destinations, while remaining loyal to our low-cost business model,” he said.

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