Dubai Airshow Day Three: Boeing’s Big Book

The third day of the Dubai Airshow has wrapped up, and it’s been another day of orders, orders, orders. After Airbus cleaned up on the first two days of the show, today, Boeing was back with a vengeance. Booking a big order from Indian startup Akasa Air, it grew its MAX order book by several dozen. But that wasn’t the only significant order today – we review the top news from day three of DAS.

777X at DAS
Day three saw Boeing announce its first big order of the show. Photo: Tom Boon | Simple Flying

Airbus kicks things off

Day three of the Dubai Airshow kicked off with an early order for Air Tanzania. The African airline ordered up four aircraft, but not all from the same family. The airline, which already has a very mixed fleet, mixed it up even more with two 737 MAX, a 767 freighter and a single Dreamliner, the 787-8.

While the order was good for Boeing, it remains to be seen if it’s a good move for Air Tanzania. The airline does not operate any 737s, so adding the MAXes will be a challenging integration. It has, in the past, operated some 737 Classics, but will need new pilots, maintenance gear, and spares to keep these MAX aircraft operational.

Air Tanzania Boeing 787-8
Air Tanzania orders new Boeing jets at the Dubai Airshow. Photo: Boeing

The 787-8 will be a simple addition, as it already has two of the type in its fleet. As for the 767F, this will be the first dedicated cargo widebody for the airline, the first 767 for the airline, and could be a costly investment to service and operate. Aside from today’s order, it also flies the Dash, some Fokkers, and the A220. It’s a very mixed fleet indeed.

Airbus continued its winning stream with the addition of Jazeera Airways and an MOU for 28 A320 family aircraft. The order was split into eight A321neo and 20 A320neo, doubling the size of the Jazeera fleet. The all-Airbus operator had previously floated the idea of the MAX, but this was likely nothing more than a bargaining chip, as defecting from the single fleet type it currently has would have been an expensive move.

Airbus and Jazeera Airways signature
The new Airbus order will more than double Jazeera Airways’ fleet. Photo: Airbus

The final Airbus order of the day came from Nigeria’s Ibom Air. The airline had been openly eyeing the Airbus A220 to expand its fleet, having operated two on a wet lease basis for several months now. The A220 has proven to be a good fit, and the airline has ordered 10 of its own, split between the A220-100 and the A220-300.

Ibom Air, Airbus A220, Nigeria
Ibom Air has placed an order for ten Airbus A220s at the 2021 Dubai Airshow. Photo: Airbus

Boeing comes bounding back

With few orders at the show so far, save for some freighters, Boeing was lagging behind Airbus in the race for success. But today saw the US planemaker claw back some of its position, confirming a highly anticipated order for the 737 MAX from Indian startup Akasa Air.

Akasa 737 MAX
Akasa has revealed its pick for its launch type. Photo: Simple Flying

Akasa signed up for 72 737 MAX aircraft, showing its hand after months of speculation. The airline will take both the standard MAX 8 and the high-density MAX 8-200, although the split of aircraft is not yet known. The commitment to the Boeing family is a big win for the US planemaker, and for the MAX, as the majority of India’s burgeoning low-cost scene is facilitated by rival Airbus’ products.

ATR orders
ATR snagged orders for its two turboprop models. Photo: Jon Howell | AviaDev

It would be amiss not to mention the excellent news of an order for ATR’s turboprops. The planemaker announced an order today for its ATR 72-600 aircraft and signed a letter of intent for its new short take-off and landing version of the ATR 42-600, the 42-600S. Afrijet was the order maker for the 72s, while Japanese startup Toki Air has plumped for the STOL aircraft.

It was another exciting day, and delightful to see so many airlines ready to invest in new aircraft for their fleets. It’s a sure sign that the industry is bouncing back. The big question is – are we done yet?

What do you think? Will days four and five bring with them more orders for the OEMs? Let us know your predictions in the comments.