American Airlines Completes Deal For 18 737 MAX Aircraft From Dubai

Aerospace corporation and aircraft lessor Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) announced today that it had substantially completed a sale-and-leaseback deal for 18 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for American Airlines. The company, owned by Emirates’ CEO, says the transaction reflects its belief in the product strength of the MAX 8 aircraft.

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American Airlines will lease 18 new Boeing 737 MAX jets via Dubai Aerospace Enterprise. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Deal from Q3 last year

The deal was signed between the two parties in the third quarter of 2020. The first of the new jets was delivered in December last year. After an initially tight schedule with up to two planes per day, the space between deliveries stretched in the new year.

“This transaction reflects our agility, our balance sheet strength, our underwriting capability, our ability to assist one of our long-term customers, and our belief in the product strength of the 737 MAX 8 aircraft,” DAE’s Chief Executive Officer, Firoz Tarapore, said in a statement shared with WAM.

Mr Tarapore further added that he was pleased to see an increasing number of global regulators returning the MAX to the skies. Meanwhile, Ihssane Mounir, Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales and Marketing at Boeing stated that,

“DAE is putting their purchasing strategy and growth plan in action and helping operators during this challenging time in our industry. We are delighted to once again partner with DAE to support a valued customer such as American Airlines and we are honoured by their trust and confidence in the Boeing 737 family.”

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American Airlines has orders for a total of 100 737 MAX 8s and was the first US operator to recommence revenue services with the type. Photo: Getty Images

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450 flights for American MAXs first month

After 20 months of grounding, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cleared the 737 MAX for commercial flight in November last year. At that time, American Airlines had 24 MAX 8s in its fleet.

Since then, it has taken delivery of an additional 17 acquired through the sale-and-leaseback agreement with DAE, the first arriving mid-December. A spokesperson for the airline confirmed that the last is expected for delivery later this year. American has orders for a total of 100 of the jet.

American operated its first revenue flight with one of its MAX 8s after the ungrounding on December 29th as the first US operator to do so. During the first month of restored 737 MAX services, the airline operated no less than 450 flights with the type.

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DAE owns a total of 22 MAX 8s, 18 of which are leased to American. Photo: Getty Images

DAE, the UAE, and the MAX

DAE’s owned and committed fleet consists of 22 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. In total, the company has close to 425 Boeing, Airbus, and ATR aircraft. The corporation’s owner is none other than Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, CEO of Emirates, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, and member of the royal family.

The UAE’s own civilian aviation regulatory body lifted its ban on the type a little over a month ago, on February 17th. Dubai-based low-cost carrier Flydubai had 14 of the aircraft at the time of its grounding in March 2019 and had to limit its European offerings as a result. Meanwhile, neighboring Saudi Arabia also allowed the MAX to return to service on March 1st, which will free up the routes available for Flydubai to deploy the model on.

What are your thoughts on the MAX close to four months since the FAA’s ungrounding? Tell us in the comments.