DUBAI — The first trade day of the 2023 edition of the Dubai Airshow has come to an end, and what a day! Split across seven different announcements, Day 1 of DAS2023 collected over 300 orders from commercial airlines just from Europe and the Middle East.
At the Paris Air Show 2023, Airbus emerged as the most profitable manufacturer in terms of orders, thanks to the record-breaking 500-aircraft order from Indigo (6E). However, the tide has now turned, as Boeing has secured orders for an impressive 271 aircraft units from six different carriers and lessors.
To provide a recap of Day 1, let’s examine the significant order announcements covered by the Airways crew, both at the show and beyond.
SunExpress PlacesIts Largest Single-Aircraft Order
The prominent Turkish leisure carrier based in Antalya, SunExpress (XQ), made the largest single-aircraft order of the Dubai Airshow thus far. The airline has committed to acquiring up to 90 Boeing 737 MAX family aircraft directly from the manufacturer.
This order consists of 45 firm units and an additional 45 options, covering two different variants of the series. Initially, the company expects to add 28 Boeing 737-8 and 17 737-10 aircraft to its fleet in the coming years.
Currently, SunExpress operates 60 Boeing 737 family airplanes, 40 of which are from the new-generation family. Over the next decade, this number will exceed 150 aircraft, enabling the airline to expand its operations within and beyond its existing European networks.
Emirates Consolidates its Host Position
As we discovered in our pre-event coverage, Emirates (EK) is playing a crucial role as the host of the airshow held at World Central Airport (DWC). Although it is not their main operational hub, the UAE’s national carrier has strengthened its presence at the Dubai Airshow by placing an order for 125 new-generation widebody Boeing aircraft.
Despite still undergoing the certification process, Emirates has shown significant interest in the Boeing 777X aircraft program. The airline will expand its order book for this long-haul aircraft by adding 90 more units, with 35 for the Boeing 777-8 and 55 for the Boeing 777-9.
In addition to the Boeing 777X, Emirates has once again expressed confidence in the successful Dreamliner program. The airline has also revised its existing order for the Boeing 787 family, now consisting of 35 aircraft: 20 Boeing 787-8s and 15 of the longer 787-10 variant.
FlyDubai Now Bets on Widebody Operations
The announcement made by FlyDubai (FZ) may have been the most significant of the entire day, even overshadowing the news from its sister airline. For the first time in its history, FZ will be adding widebody aircraft to its fleet, marking a significant departure from its previous single-aircraft approach.
The airline has placed an order for 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, signaling a major shift in FZ’s strategy. This move will allow the airline to expand its reach to distant destinations in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, and Southwest Africa.
As the airline sets its sights on the long-haul market, it will be intriguing to observe how the carrier integrates itself into the industry alongside EK. It will also be interesting to see which routes will be assigned to each carrier from Dubai International Airport (DXB).
More Dreamliners for the Royals
Helping Boeing shift its supply chain strategy from traditional methods used in the aerospace industry, the Dreamliner program continues to attract orders at airshows and beyond, even after being in operation for 10 years. The aircraft has proven to age gracefully. While these recent orders may not be as substantial as previous ones, two more airlines have placed orders for the Dreamliner.
Firstly, Royal Air Maroc (AT), the national carrier of Morocco, has confirmed its plans to add two more Boeing 787-9 aircraft to its fleet in the coming years. The airline aims to quadruple its fleet size over the next 15 years.
In addition, Royal Jordanian (RJ), a Middle Eastern airline, is further demonstrating its confidence in the Dreamliner by expanding its operations with an additional four units. This move will support the airline’s expansion on long-haul routes worldwide.
A New Boeing 737 MAX Customer: EgyptAir
Regardless of the decade, new airlines will continue to join the growing list of customers who fly the new Boeing 737 MAX family.
Today, the focus is on EgyptAir (MS), which is set to become a new operator of the series by 2025. This comes after the airline signed a leasing agreement with the Air Lease Corporation (ALC) for 18 units of the Boeing 737-8 variant.
The carrier has been a significant customer of the entire Boeing 737 family, operating up to 45 units since the introduction of the first 737-200 in 1975. In the case of the Boeing 737 MAX family, MS has agreed with ALC to lease the 18 units for an initial period of 12 years.
AirBaltic, the Largest A220-300 Operator by 2030
It is rare for aviation enthusiasts to easily associate an airline with a specific aircraft variant, but AirBaltic (BT) is one airline that stands out in this regard.
As a carrier connecting the Baltic States with the rest of the world, BT currently operates over 40 units of the A220-300 variant. The airline has further expanded its order book by adding 30 additional units, which will be delivered to the fleet by 2030. This will bring the total number of A220 aircraft in BT’s fleet to up to 100, solidifying its position as the largest operator of this extended version globally.
Thanks to the fuel efficiency of the P&W 1100 engines and the advanced aerodynamics of the aircraft, the Airbus A220 is capable of flying non-stop for over 3,500 nautical miles. BT has taken advantage of this capability by launching new routes connecting Riga (RIX) and Vilnius (VNO) with Dubai (DXB), with flight durations exceeding 7 hours.
Featured image: Stan Deal, CEO of Boeing, during the EgyptAir Boeing 737 MAX order announcement in Dubai. Photo: Simone Chellini/Airways