MIAMI – Indigo Partners portfolio airlines Wizz Air (W6), Frontier (F9), Volaris (Y4), and JetSMART (JA) have announced an order for 255 additional A321neo Family aircraft under a combined Indigo Partners agreement.

Boeing also announced the opening of three new freighter Conversion Lines and an order for 11 737-800BCF from Icelease, which will be the launch customer for one of the new conversion lines.

Additionally, Emirates (EK) and Gulf Air (GF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to improve the commercial cooperation between both carriers.

Finally, another MoU signed today at the airshow, Etihad Airways (EY) and Lufthansa Technik AG inked an agreement for a comprehensive partnership on the development of digital solutions.

Photo: Airbus media

Indigo Partners Airbus Order

The Indigo Airbus order penned on the first day of the Dubai Airshow 2021 brings the total number of A320 Family aircraft ordered by the company to 1,145. The planes bought today are a combination of A321neos and A321XLRs, and they will be delivered to the airlines in the following order:

  • Wizz Air: 102 aircraft (75 A321neo + 27 A321XLR)
  • Frontier: 91 aircraft (A321neo)
  • Volaris: 39 aircraft (A321neo)
  • JetSMART: 23 aircraft (21 A321neo + 2 A321XLR)

In addition to this order, Y4 and JA will upconvert 38 A320neo to A321neo from their existing aircraft backlogs.

Wizz’s Airbus A321neo touching down in Malpensa Airport with a smoke. Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

Comments from Indigo Partners, Airbus

“This order reaffirms our portfolio airlines’ commitment to consistent growth through the next decade…With these aircraft, Wizz, Frontier, Volaris and JetSMART will continue to offer low fares, stimulate the markets they serve and improve their industry-leading sustainability profile,” said Bill Franke, Managing Partner of Indigo Partners.

“We are happy to further expand our relationship with our great Indigo Partners’ airlines Wizz, Frontier, Volaris and JetSMART who have acted fast and decisively over the last few months to position themselves for this landmark order as the effect of the pandemic recedes and the world wants more sustainable flying,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International.

Boeing announced plans to open three new freighter conversion lines and signed a firm order with Icelease for 11 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters. Photo: Boeing

Boeing’s New Freighter Conversion Lines, 737-800BCF Orders

At the airshow, Boeing announced plans to add three conversion lines for the market-leading 737-800BCF across North America and Europe, as worldwide demand for freighters continues to rise. As the launch customer for one of the new conversion lines, Icelease secured a definite order with Airbus for eleven freighters.

One conversion line will open in 2022 at Boeing’s London Gatwick (LGW) Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) facility, the company’s state-of-the-art hangar in the United Kingdom, and two conversion lines will open in 2023 at KF Aerospace MRO in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

The purchase for eleven 737-800BCFs will be Icelease’s first converted freighter order with Boeing. Icelease recently expanded its relationship with Corrum Capital through a joint venture called Carolus Cargo Leasing. The lessor will be the first customer at Boeing’s LGW MRO facility for adaptations.

Boeing announced earlier this year that it would increase 737-800BCF conversion capacity at several locations, including a third line at Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company Limited (GAMECO) and two lines in 2022 with a new Costa Rican supplier, Cooperativa Autogestionaria de Servicios Aeroindustriales (COOPESA).

To meet demand, Boeing estimates that 1,720 freighter conversions will be required over the next 20 years. There will be 1,200 standard-body conversions, with almost 20% of demand coming from European carriers and 30% from North American and Latin American carriers.

Boeing said it would have conversion locations in North America, Asia, and Europe once the new lines are operational.

Photo: Emirates Airlines

Emirates, Gulf Air Codeshare Development Agreement

The EK-GF codeshare MoU signed today at the airshow is set to provide the groundwork for prospective codeshare collaboration between the two airlines throughout their respective networks, as well as reciprocal loyalty benefits on Emirates’ Skywards and Gulf Air’s Falconflyer, according to EK. Talks about cargo cooperation are also in the works.

The agreement signals the start of closer collaboration between the two airlines. The MoU was signed by Sir Tim Clark, President of EK, and Captain Waleed AlAlawi, Acting Chief Executive Officer of GF. Members of each airline’s executive management teams were present at the signing event.

Customers flying EK and GF can arrange single-ticket travel with low fares and one-stop baggage check-in to their final destinations. In the beginning, EK will use its “EK” marketed code on GF flights between Bahrain and Dubai, and GF will use its “GF” marketed code on Emirates routes.

During the event, Gulf Air’s Acting Chief Executive Officer said, “This will be a remarkable partnership between one of the first airlines in the Gulf region and one of the biggest carriers in the world. We’re proud to explore opportunities with Emirates to expand our reach and at the same time extend our boutique services to Emirates’ passengers when flying on our network.”

Photo: Lufthansa Technik AG

Etihad Airways, Lufthansa Technik to Collaborate on Digital Operations

Etihad Airways PJSC and Lufthansa Technik AG signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today at the Dubai Air Show for a comprehensive partnership on the development of digital solutions, which will help the airline improve its technical fleet and operations management.

Several items from Lufthansa Technik’s industry-leading AVIATAR digital operations suite will be included in the collaboration. It covers the usage of Fuel Analytics, Condition Monitoring, and automated Line Maintenance Planning in the beginning, with a focus on digital and sustainable tech-ops.

Etihad will be one of the first airlines to use AVIATAR’s revolutionary Fuel Analytics software to improve its fuel efficiency and hence achieve its sustainability goals. Fuel Analytics gives Etihad with the transparency needed to discover any anomalous fuel consumption using artificial intelligence and comprehensive flight data.

About the Dubai Airshow 2021

The Dubai Airshow 2021 is the biggest aerospace event taking place after the pandemic came on the scene. The airshow aims to showcase the resilience and agility of the aerospace sector while playing an instrumental role in bringing the industry together to access invaluable market insights and business opportunities.

The 2021 edition will showcase several new and flagship commercial, military and private aircraft models. You can see the updated list each day here.

Featured image: Dubai Airshow 2021