Historic day at Dubai Air Show

Nov. 15, 2017, © Leeham Co.: It was an historic day for commercial aviation at the Dubai Air Show.

Airbus and Indigo Partners announced an order for 430 aircraft (the A320neo family), a record in units and in value ($49.5bn).

Boeing announced a huge order from flyDubai, an affiliate of Emirates Airline, for 225 737 MAXes. Value: $27bn.

Parenthetically, CDB Leasing firmed up an order for 90 A320neo family members announced at the Paris Air Show.

Indigo Partners

Indigo Partners has no relationship to the Indian airline, Indigo, which had the largest backlog of A320s. Partners owns Frontier Airlines in the US, (United States) and owns or is a major investor in , JetSMART (Chile), Volaris (Mexico) and Wizz Air (Hungary).

The MOU includes 273 A320neos and 157 A321neos. The aircraft will be allocated as follows:

  • Wizz: 72 A320neo, 74 A321neo
  • Frontier: 100 A320neo, 34 A321neo
  • JetSMART: 56 A320neo, 14 A321neo
  • Volaris: 46 A320neo, 34 A321neo

Engines will be selected later.


flyDubai committed to 50 MAX 10s, with 125 being split between the MAX 8 and MAX 9. The remaining 50 of the 225 aircraft are at this stage purchase rights. The entire package must be converted to a firm order.

CDB Leasing

CDB said the “agreement was reached in two steps: an original purchase agreement signed in 2014 for 45 A320neo Family aircraft, which remained undisclosed to date; and the firming up of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for an additional 30 A320neo and 15 A321neo aircraft announced at the Le Bourget Paris Airshow in June 2017.”


51 Comments on “Historic day at Dubai Air Show

  1. Exciting day, but as the dust settles, suppliers, deliveries. Lots of challenges ahead.

    Was wondering on the FlyDubai order if there somewhere in the fine print is a conversion clause that they can change some of the order to an NMA and be first in line? The 50 purchase rights for example.

  2. Do Airbus have enough A320s left to sell Delta within the required time period?

    • Get on with building that new shed in Mobile, then Boeing can decide whether they want C series or A321s assembled there.

    • Aviation Week says the bulk of deliveries for Indigo will be in 2025/26.

      Airbus will have gone to 60/month by then. I think Mobile is on the cards. 70/month, for they appear to be running out of slots even at 60/month

      Nice place to be in. But placing an order that you don’t get for 8 years doesn’t square with me. Entire wars have been started and finished in 8 years!

      • To answer the Delta question? Seems not, unless Delta can wait years. Alternate: Mobile

  3. As happy as I am for every single person who profits from those giant sales. I still wonder if we will look back one day shaking our heads about how happily we destroyed the foundation of human life, this very planet. I really hope mankind will be quick enough in reducing human impact on earth in other parts of industries to compensate for the increasing air traffic.

  4. Indigo Partners..
    Who are they..bet half your readers never heard of this company before.
    Started out as a consultant firm..
    Would’ve preferred an order from a more established leasing firm. .

    • IMU this is not a leasing firm ( established or not )
      This is what UTC is to P&W, Hamilton Sundstrand, Goodrich. ( well the last two have been folded into UTC Systems.)

  5. Is this the only rabbit Airbus have this year? It is a pretty big rabbit but just reinforces the status quo. Airbus has sold out 6-7 months of SA production but are still getting caned on TA orders. Are we going to have any more excitement?

    • We’ll have to wait another couple of months to know but I can’t see JL going quietly.

      • God bless him but does JL go anywhere quietly? LOL
        Seriously it’s going to be kind of boring without him. Maybe he will get a column or something.
        Maybe Boeing could hire him!

  6. I wish all participants of this site a long and healthy life and I hope we all will witness in 2025 Frontier Airlines triple its fleet.

  7. Seems to me that Airbus is now locked out of Emirates aside from possibly the A380.
    No A32xneos for the years to come.
    No A350…for ‘ever’? (like 10-15y min)
    No A33x…for ‘ever’? idem?
    No new A380 (both playing chicken)

    777x, MAXes…etc.

    Hum… someone not too happy in Toulouse here.

    • Maybe not as bad as you think. How many more 777X’es do EK have to get to replace the 380’s. Lets say 3 replaces 2 A380’s, Dubai is going to get mighty busy, gates, runways, luggage collection, delays.

      Let see if they are busy shooting themselves in the foot?

  8. First off, semi-seriously, are (east) Europeans really aware of what “taking a wizz” means readily to most Americans? Secondly, more seriously, with Ryanair, Easyjet, Jet2, Eurowings, Norwegian, LOT, Air Baltic, Wizz Air, the Czech start-up (whose name I forget, but’s whose ordered several Boeing 37s), etc. either looking for growth in EE, or home-based there—and ordering easily over a 1,000 aircraft collectively, I would imagine a bunch more “Air Berlin” results in time!

  9. To MontanaOsprey… Lots of marketing names work in one culture and not in others. Famously, GM sold a car in the US as the Chevrolet Nova, which means “No go” in Spanish. And the car currently known as the Honda Jazz in much of the world is known as the Honda Fit in USA/Canada, but “fit” closely resembles derogatory slang for female genitalia in some major world languages.

  10. Of course EK is getting more A380s. These are negotiations & ten of billions are at stake.

  11. I have a hunch EK might get those A380’s and about 30 A350-1000’s (the rest of the cancelled A350 order) in a package deal.

    That’s the levarage AB should play. “ I promise to keep the A380 alive just for you, but you will offset some of that risk by buying 30 out of the 70 A350’s you cancelled. You need to buy A380’s and I need to sell those A350-1000 ‘s United cancelled on me”. We have a deal???

      • Joe:

        Well as TC runs the operation more or less (unless Dubai tells him otherwise) me thinks your hunch is absolutely wrong in regards to A350.

        What happen with the A380, guess from a small order to none.

        What funny is TC is stuck with a small sub fleet or RR engines that aren’t as good (as near as I can tell) to the GPs he threw under the bus.

  12. One major problem is fitting all Aircrafts into DBX for both Emirates and FlyDubai. There is not room enough. Emirates will have to prioritize which routes will go thru DWC and which can stay at DBX. Most likley will all traffic from India and Pakistan go thru DWC as well as UK to Australia and they have to build “The mother of all TAX-FREE Shops” to aviod an uproar. We will see.

    • Can see high speed (underground?) rail system between two airports, there are going to be logistical problems, and that beautiful fog rolling in.

      • Far too many years ago, I flew into Manilla.

        Coming up the conveyor onto the cirucalr were these huge boxes, we are talking 3 ft by 3 ft and 4 feet tall.

        Everyone but me was collecting them. Not a clue how they stuffed all of them in the aircraft.

        There had to be some kind of free something involved for people going home to the Philippines (it was a holiday of some kind)

        Customs took one look at my pathetic couple of bags and waved me right through so they could dig into the guy who had 4 or 5 of those big boxes.

        Little did they know that I had a tool box under my bags and they might have given me the go over (for Work on Clark but explaining that?)

        To this day not a clue what the deal was but it had to be a good one. The folks with those boxes were my level of working class, not from the front of the Airbus.

        Me, the tool box was under my stuff because it worked better on the cart I had, but it was a good move never the less. I had parts to work on a Generator engine as well that might well have not been taken well!

  13. As for EK, huge orders mean huge discounts (well most of the time!), so although damning for Airbus, sure they will live to fight another day.
    It’s incredible how the fanboyism can work, with so many user complaining that A or B has an over reliance on EK.

    As for names, MontanaOsprey can I suggest that you never mention to a European that you should wear you fanny pack, or that you are full of spunk.

  14. Maybe Airbus was not willing to give EK a huge discount & that pissed off some princes not used to handling no’s.

    • Just been looking at Turkish fleet and routes, after ordering the 787-9’s Boeing will push them for 787-10’s, so AB should do their homework.

      “Anything” is possible I guess but again I see a requirement for an aircraft in capacity between the 359 and 35K with max “paper” range of 6500-7000Nm. Basically base of departure.

      With such an aircraft its much easier to sell up or down into the two current aircraft than make the current two current aircraft fit into the gap.

      • One company back in the late 60s looked at its target market of short range, and hoped its design range of 1700km (920nm or 2 hrs flying) meant it would be more suitable for the large numbers of flights under this distance.
        The Dassault Mercure only sold 12 units. A longer legged version was proposed ( even one with the then mostly unwanted CFM56) but the design parameters of rapid climb and only short time cruising meant it wasnt very good at that.
        Looking back it is now obvious that if it was built by an established manufacturer such as Sud Aviation ( by then merged with Nord as SNIAS ,later Aerospatiale )as a follow on Caravelle it might have some better sucess in its initial configuration and sold a few hundred.
        The moral of the story : Design for shorter range at your peril

        • Keesje:

          I think that is stretching things pretty far, into the plastic area as a mechanic would say.

          A and B know its all part of the game.

          Airbus will give Emirates as much of a discount as they can, but they still have to try to break even.

          When Boeing can sell 737s to United for 25 million and Ryan Air for a discount even Airbus would not touch, you know it can be a pretty amazingly low number.

          TC does not have to take the mods and as he is their only client, Airbus is obviously not going to build one to that spec he won’t take.

          If Delta ask Boeing for a price Boeing will give it to them, and sell them aircraft if asked.

          All part of the game no matter how insulting Airlines can be.

          I really can’t figure out what Airbus wants or why TC (Dubai) is going about it this way.

          IF TC wants some fairly new latter rev A380s, he can buy MAs (jump or to Mecca and inspect them on their way in and out)

          Factors may be the tie in to Fly Dubai and , the airport mess.

          Maybe they just can’ take 8 a year and they want someone else to help them out.

          • TC wants an A380-900NEO, Airbus can’t figure out how to give it to him. If they did one of their share holders, France, would be mighty angry, as they also have shares in AF, if memory serves me right, which EK would probably finish off. You can bet another share holder, Germany, would get heavily lobbied by LH+unions. Then to top it off some other potencial customers would go bankrupt and TC would get to name his own price. A lot of angles to this. Suspect potencial A350 orders in this hook and bait business as well.

        • That should be ‘quickly climb to cruise altitude to have a longer cruise time for a short haul’

  15. Re: The Emirates A380 negotiations

    I heard these comments by Fabrice Brégier on Bloomberg, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqPepwHmleY&t=67

    My interpretation is that the A380neo is part of the negotiations.

    I have transcribed the comments for clarity, and paste them below.

    Journalist: The A380. You haven’t been selling that plane nearly as much as the A320, for example, but [I mean] not nearly as much as expected this year.

    Brégier: You are right. The market is much more narrow, of course. We expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Emirates. I think we were very close to do that – we will need a few more weeks.

    (cont’d): The reason is simple, this is an aircraft that is favoured by the passengers. When you travel in an A380, you feel very comfortable – it’s quite. But, at the same time, it is seen as big by many airlines. So we need to convince them that the market will grow, and they will make tons of money, like Emirates, with this fantastic aircraft.

    Journalist: Emirates, basically, wants guarantees that you are going to continue to support this plane, produce and support, this line. Can you give them those guarantees?

    Brégier: They are right, and this is the principle of the agreement, if we finalize it. We will be committed to producing this aircraft, I believe at least for the next ten years. We expect to get additional orders. And we expect, within the next then years, to upgrade it massively for a new wave of replacements. So, this is the plan – we need to probably sharpen the pencils.

    • Airbus is stuck between a rock and a hard place. To continue the A380 which loses money for one airline is high risk. Without EK, the A380 would have been dropped years ago. Putting your eggs in one basket is bad business. Does AB cut their loses and drop the A380 or go forward with rose colored glasses, a very tough decision indeed.

    • @JohnB

      Thanks for transcribing Bregier’s comments.

      Brégier: They are right, and this is the principle of the agreement, if we finalize it. We will be committed to producing this aircraft, I believe at least for the next ten years. We expect to get additional orders. And we expect, within the next then years, to upgrade it massively for a new wave of replacements. So, this is the plan – we need to probably sharpen the pencils.

      Upgrading the A380 “massively” would probably mean an upgrade that would entail spending significantly more on a next generation A380, than what would be the case with just a “neo” upgrade.

  16. The rise of the ME airlines have changed the airlines business. But I believe there could be great potential for Rome (Fiumicino) to take a large bite of the European air traffic from and to the East back.

    It has four strips all longer than 3500m, weather is much friendlier than Northern Europe, and on the Southern edge of the main “air traffic highway” An EK type airline could feed from East/West/South into it and flights feed from there into Europe. It could also an US-East connecting with the Hub into central Asia.

    A380’s could definitely find a home here to feed the Rome hub from outside Europe. Traffic from the East bypass the ME hubs and then its just short hop into other parts of Europe. The longest route Rome to Helsinki (1200Nm).

    This could be a threat to the ME airlines, lets see what happens. Go and play on Google Earth, Rome is not a bad spot.

    • Fiumicino is the home base of Alitalia.
      Lufthansa and about seven other airlines are talking about what to d0 with bankrupt Alitalia.
      It is several hundred nautical miles less from Frankfurt to Bejing than from Rome. Rome-Sidney is just 100 nm less than Frankfurt to Sidney. Istanbul is located far better.

      • Yep, but Rome not a bad spot to put your hands on.

        Not many will fly from from the US to Istanbul and the back to Europe.

        Think there could be some dogfights out there.

        • From the US to Europe I would prefer Iceland or Ireland for a distribution hub. Rome is not so close to Europe as many other countries.
          E.g. Air Lingus has 8 A321LR on order.

          • Ireland and Iceland (SA’s) are both good into Europe from the US.

            But coming from a vastly different climate I was wondering about weather impacts on those two?

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