MIAMI – Day 3 of the Dubai Airshow 2021 sees more low-cost airlines order Boeing and Airbus aircraft, including the 737 MAX, 767-300F, A320neo, and A220.

Large orders continue to be signed, but unlike previous airshows at Dubai, when the big multi-billion orders were predominantly for widebodies and mostly made by the three big Gulf carriers (Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar), narrowbody aircraft and low-cost carriers are dominating the scene.

In summary, newcomer Akasa Air ordered 72 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to launch service in the fast-growing Indian market, Air Tanzania (TC) announced an order for Boeing freighter and passenger jets, Jazeera Airways (J9) committed to 28 new A320neo family aircraft, and Nigerian Ibom Air (QI) purchased ten Airbus A220 aircraft.

The modernization of African aviation is an important development at the show, as it signals a challenge to long-standing players, with regional startups filling the gap left by others that did not succeed. Africa is home to 12% of the world’s people, but it accounts for less than 1% of the global air travel market.

It is also becoming clear this year that large new freighter aircraft are going to become a much larger piece of the pie in the near future. Talks at the show abound as Boeing and Airbus are both currently working on new types of large cargo aircraft, namely their 777XF and A350F versions as the once dominated Boeing 747 freighter market opens up for more efficient cargo widebodies.

Photo: Boeing

Boeing Continues to Perform

The new Indian airline Akasa Air, a trademark of SNV Aviation, has placed an order for 72 Boeing 737 MAX jets to establish its fleet. The order, which is worth roughly US$9bn at list prices, is a significant confirmation of the 737 family’s ability to serve India’s rapidly increasing market.

Specifically, Akasa Air has placed an order for two 737 MAX variants: the 737-8 and the high-capacity 737-8-200 narrowbodies. The 737 MAX will give Akasa Air a competitive edge in its dynamic home market by offering the lowest seat-mile costs for a single-aisle airplane, as well as high dispatch dependability and an improved passenger experience.

Boeing and the United Republic of Tanzania have confirmed an order for a 787-8 Dreamliner, a 767-300 Freighter, and two 737 MAX jets. TC, Tanzania’s national flag airline, will use the jets to expand service from the country to new markets in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

On the Boeing Orders and Deliveries website, the order, worth more than US$726m at list prices, had previously gone unnoticed.

The carrier, based in Dar es Salaam, will add to its current fleet of Boeing 787s, using the new 737s for its regional network and the 767 Freighter to meet Africa’s growing cargo demand.

Finally, a top official with Singapore Airlines (SQ) at the show said on Tuesday that the airline hopes to start Boeing 737 MAX flights before the end of the year, signaling a positive sign for the model’s return to Asia.

In September, the city-aviation state’s regulator permitted 737 MAX flights, more than two years after the planes were banned after two fatal incidents.

Photo: Airbus

Airbus Adds Two New orders

Jazeera Airways, based in Kuwait, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus for 20 A320neos and eight A321neos.

The MoU was signed by Rohit Ramachandran, CEO of J9, and Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International at Airbus.

Photo: Airbus

Finally, QI, a Nigerian airline owned by the state of Akwa Ibom, has placed a firm order for ten A220s at the Dubai Airshow.

Nigeria, with Africa’s largest population and GDP, has significant development potential in both domestic and regional travel. As a result, the A220 is an excellent choice for a wide range of services, from very short-haul flights to intra-continental flights.

Ibom Air currently has two A220s in service. Uyo, Abuja, Calabar, Enugu, Lagos, and Port Harcourt are among the destinations served by the airline. The new A220s will let the airline continue on its expansion path, adding additional flights not only to Nigeria but also to the west African area and Africa as a whole.

Stay tuned to Airways for more coverage as the airshow comes to its final day!

Featured image: Dubai Airshow 2021. Photo: Mohammad Bilal Qureshi /Airways