DUBAI – As day three comes to a close at the Dubai Air Show, the orders have continued to roll in for both Airbus and for Boeing.

However, the European manufacturer has witnessed even more success with the A321XLR, A220 and A330neo programmes alike.

The 737MAX is still gaining momentum, but nothing firm has been announced over the course of today.


The day started off for Airbus with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Air Senegal for eight A220-300 aircraft.

This is a further expansion into the relationship between the two sides, with Air Senegal having received its first A330neo earlier this year.

Air Senegal’s CEO, Mr Ibrahima Kane commented on the deal, stating that the -300 will be most beneficial to the long-haul services of the airline.

“These new A220 aircraft will contribute to developing our long-haul network to Europe and our regional network in Africa. Combined with our recent A330neo aircraft, this new Airbus fleet reveals Air Senegal’s ambition to offer the best travel experience for our passengers.”

Christian Scherer, Airbus’ Chief Commercial Officer commented on how important the likes of Air Senegal and the African continent is to the manufacturer.

“The number of A220s operation on the African continent is steadily growing and we are proud to add Senegal’s new flag carrier in our list of A220 African customers. Offering the lowest operating costs in its category, the A220 is the best aircraft for airlines to launch new domestic and international routes efficiently”.

The second-order came in from Saudi Arabia’s low-cost airline, flynas, who signed a firm order for 10 A321XLR aircraft.

This order follows an agreement signed back in 2016 in which the airline is to receive 80 A320neo Family aircraft.

flynas currently operates 27 A320ceos and four A320neos, carrying around 6.6 million passengers annually. With the new aircraft, it will be wanting to expand on the 1,200 flights per week it already offers.

The success of the A321XLR for today did not stop there. Around 15 minutes before the end of trading, GECAS announced an order with the manufacturer for 20 units of the type as well as 12 A330neos.

The firm order now means that with the A321XLR includes an order for 13 new aircraft as well as the upsizing of seven A321s in the existing backlog as is.

The A330neo side means that GECAS has 45 units of the type on order, with the A320 Family backlog at a staggering 588 units.

Scherer once again thanked GECAS for its continued support and its investment into the leasing world and into Airbus itself.

“Having one of the world’s most respected and influential lessors invest in the A321XLR and the A330neo, speaks volumes on their global appeal, versatility and solid value as an asset. Airbus thanks GECAS on its wise investment and endorsement of the A330neo.”


The first order of the day came from Air Astana’s low-cost wing FlyArystan, who have placed an intent for 30 737MAX8 aircraft, at a list price of $3.6 billion.

Air Astana launched the low-cost carrier back in May of this year, with it witnessing significant growth in the first few months, with international services to Moscow taking off next month.

Commenting on the deal was Peter Foster, the President and CEO of Air Astana who expressed the strong relationship with Boeing as well as reassurance to the MAX program as well.

“Since its launch in May this year, FlyArystan has exceeded all expectations and it is clear that low-cost air travel has a great future in Kazakhstan and Central Asia,”

3D imagery, 737 MAX, MAX, 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX8, 737 MAX 9

“Air Astana has had a strong relationship with Boeing ever since the airline started flying in 2002 with a pair of 737NGs. Today we operate both 757s and 767s and we believe that the MAX will provide a solid platform for the growth of FlyArystan throughout our region, once the aircraft has successfully returned to service”.

Stan Deal, the President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes expressed excitement to secure an agreement with the airline.

“Air Astana has become one of the leading airlines in Central Asia with its deep focus on safety, reliability, efficiency and customer service. At Boeing, we share those same values and are honoured to expand our partnership with the 737 MAX”.

“We believe the efficiency and reliability built into the 737 MAX will be a great fit for FlyArystan. We look forward to working with Peter and his team finalize an agreement that meets their fleet and operational requirements.”

The final order of the day came from the Republic of Ghana who signed a Memorandum of Understanding for three 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, valued at $877.5 million in list prices.

This came following the country’s announcement that it would be starting a brand new airline, with the carrier to be based in Accra.

Initial plans suggest that it would establish the capital as a “strategic hub that serves cities across West Africa” before expanding into Europe, North America and Asia.

It aims to secure funding through long-term private operations.

Commenting on the news was Ihssane Mounir, the Senior VP of Commercial Sales & Marketing at Boeing who emphasised the demand in a place like Ghana.

“Africa boasts a growing, young workforce and vast natural resources. We see the demand for air travel continuing to rise across the continent. Boeing is honoured to work with Ghana in helping re-launch an airline to serve this vast market,”

787 ZA001 air to air

“We look forward to working with the government on an integrated solution that includes the 787-9 Dreamliner and aviation services to support the new airline and provide a superior experience for its future passengers.”

Also commenting on the deal was Joseph Kofi Adda, the Honourable Minister for Aviation and Member of Parliament in the Republic of Ghana who expressed the choices for the 787.

“There is a growing demand for air travel to and from Ghana and we believe the advanced 787-9 Dreamliner gives us an efficient and flexible machine to launch a regional network and eventually serve international destinations in the future,”

“The 787 has an excellent reputation for its operational performance, fuel efficiency and passenger experience and we are confident that we have the right partner for our new carrier.”

It is unclear when the airline will officially launch, but sources suggest that six De Havilland Dash 8’s have been ordered by the government as well for domestic use in this new carrier.

On top of this, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Ethiopian Airlines last year, in which to develop the new airline is still in the works, as well as partnerships with other operators as well.


It remains clear that Airbus is continuing to have a strong sales campaign here at the Dubai Air Show, with all aircraft in the family programmes all securing orders.

Boeing is maintaining itself at a steady pace, securing orders here and there.

Even if there have been intents for a relative number of units on the MAX, we still need to see them recorded as firm orders.

We may not see this until the MAX gets recertified, rumoured to being January next year.

In the meantime, Boeing are still experiencing success with the Dreamliner, but we have not yet seen any orders for the 777X itself.

Emirates’ order for the A350 earlier this week may have hampered any opportunity of getting any additional units into the UAE’s flagship carrier’s backlog.

In the meantime, we can only wait and see if any further orders will be made going into tomorrow or whether that is a day called from both sides of the aerospace giants.