Boeing lands a series of passenger and freighter orders at Dubai

By Judson Rollins


November 16, 2021, © Leeham News: Boeing captured a handful of orders and a further expansion into freighter conversion at this week’s Dubai Air Show.

The largest of these, announced Tuesday, is for 72 737 MAXes destined for Indian startup Akasa Air. These will include a mix of 737-8s and 737-8-200s. Akasa plans to offer commercial flights starting next summer.

Several of Boeing’s new orders are for freighters and freighter conversions, not surprising given the recent strength in the global cargo market. As for new aircraft, Emirates ordered two 777Fs and Air Tanzania ordered one 767F.

DHL Express announced its largest conversion order to date, for nine more 767-300 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF). It has already taken delivery of seven out of eight previously ordered 767-300BCFs, which are operated by DHL partner carriers in the Middle East and Latin America.

Boeing also announced it will open three conversion lines for the 737-800BCF. One will be operated by Boeing from next year at London’s Gatwick Airport, and the other two will be operated by KF Aerospace at Kelowna, British Columbia in Canada from 2023.

The company also signed a firm order with Icelease for eleven 737-800BCFs as the launch customer for one of the new conversion lines.

Earlier this year, Boeing said it would open 737-800BCF conversion lines in Guangzhou, China and in Costa Rica.

111 Comments on “Boeing lands a series of passenger and freighter orders at Dubai

  1. Judson – ‘Captured’ or merely announced orders? Boeing evidently needs to talk up long-term demand for cargo capacity, perhaps anticipating that recent growth (driven by Covid-reduced belly capacity on very-reduced passenger-aircraft services) may not be sustained.
    And by all accounts Boeing has not fnally decided on the size of the 777-8F, apparently creeping up toward that of the -9 — which has raised Tim Clark’s eyebrows as he waits to finalize EK’s ultimate requirements. (

    • Whats the problem The A350F is neither the size of the A350K nor that of the 900.
      I can see the 777XF doing without the wing folds as the extra range isnt required either as the fuel required is better as payload

      • “What’s the problem?”
        Oh, just everything that has anything to do with the troubled 777X…

      • the 777XF could do without the wing fold entirely and just have fixed wingtips of the same size as the 777-9x as it has no need to fit into an E gate on the ground. this would save a fair amount of weight and be one less thing to go wrong.

        however the financial cost of a second wingtip design and structural differences at the fold/join location might make the juice not worth the squeeze.

        • Duke/Bilbo:

          On the wings you miss the point that even an Freighter parking slot has restrictions.

          FedEx and UPS with dedicated F gates come to mind.

          Even the open parking that Anchorage has on the apron, is all stripped for wing clearance.

          You don’t fold the wing and you take up more space, which means less parking.

          • The wing fold removal goes along with the reduced length and maybe some winglet instead
            You are wanting to reduce the OWE every way you can and more importantly lift payload or even lift the MTOW if the reduced wingspan can take a heavier load.
            I suppose flight testing will tell about the strength margins

          • Duke:

            Yes it is an issue, you replace the folding wing with an extension, it still has to meet the same mold line (or change significant wing characteristic which they are not going to do)

            That in turn also means you have taken up parking space or exceed the wing limits of your existing.

            Overall its only the folding mechanism involved, and it does not weigh that much.

            So no, Boeing is not going to remove it.

            They never changed the wing on the original 777 when the folding mechanism was more complicated, it was not worth it, other than folding parts the structure was never optimized.

          • No. The wing is shorter when the extensions past the fold are removed and the changed pressure distribution modified by a winglet instead.
            Changing wingspan isn’t unusual, it’s usually making it longer for a new derivative . No reason it cant work the other way when it’s not needed for a shorter range cargo version …and the extra length is folded away after landing

          • Wow. So many commentators said repeatedly BA has been working on the B777XF *for years*, Oops, they have to redesign the wing and back to square one?? Oh no …

          • @ Pedro
            Not just the wing…don’t forget the fuselage, too.
            Cargo operators tend to dislike ruptured fuselages 😏

          • Just found out the B737 MAXs are still grounded in South Korea.

          • According to what’s being reported in media:
            ” … the principals required by the CAAC have been basically met, and Boeing can be allowed to enter the technical procedures of airworthiness certification …
            “Boeing can be allowed to seek for a formal return later,”

          • Pedro:

            Weird twist of reality that you convert a bizarre speculation by Dukefurl into what Boeing is going to do.

            That like saying Martha Stewart is an expert in Aviation, phew.

          • It seems that someone has forgotten a very pertinent saying:
            “The opera isn’t over ’til the fat lady sings”


            “Don’t count your chickens until their actually hatched”


          • @TW

            Oops, Martha is a successful entrepreneur and (was?) a self-made billionaire I heard. DoU???

            Well, it’s important to know whom you listen to. That’s determines the outcome.
            We’ll see if and when orders are announced, BA has shown it has a history of being overly “optimistic”, to put it mildly. Noses are growing longer. (Witness today’s news story.) So do many commentators here.

          • @TW

            What’s the root cause for one to consider it’s necessary to give the freighter a new wing?? Simply brush it under the carpet is not going to solve the problem, don’t you know?? 🤔

          • How come S. Korea grounded the MAX for so long but rarely (if any) covered by the media??

          • Pedro:

            The root cause is one guy who thinks he is an expert on how wings are built and in never never land as to what happens if you change them.

            Equally not a clue on spacing on ramps and gates as even in a bizarre universe if you did that, you still bust the clearances.

            What he does not get is that even parking spaces are build with limits.

            I worked with those when the 777 F came in, the gates were for MD-11 maximum, the only ones unrestricted were two for A380F.

            The rest had to stagger.

          • @Bryce

            According to Yonhap:
            “After a yearlong monitoring of the B737 Max planes, which have resumed flights in other countries, and based on the opinions gathered from aviation and other experts, the government concluded the safety issues have been cleared, according to the ministry.

            “In South Korea, Eastar Jet, a low-cost carrier undergoing court process for a merger, is the only player that operates the B737 Max. 

  2. The Akasa Air order for B737 MAX aircraft was anticipated by the aviation press and I’m glad it came through for Boeing, its not going to hurt the workers at Airbus. Given the urgency of Akasa’s founder and Airbus’s A320/A321 backlog it probably was the only solution. Boeing will win orders just on delivery I suspect.

    I suspect that at this time the backlog of A321neo is possibly longer than that of the competing Boeing B737-10, an aircraft not yet certified.

    Boeing is clearly trying to make the B777-8 airframe do the optimal job of both freighter and ultra long haul which at this point is not pleasing its main customer.

    Tim Clark certain makes both frank, sober and illuminating discussions and unfortunately the media sometimes sensationalise him. One wonder however why he makes these public announcements?

    • TC like to hear himself talk.

      Same thing on the wonders of the new and improved Trent 900 for the A380 that had all new engine fuel improvements.

      You don’t hear how good its doing! TC needs to be put out to pasture.

      • Just ‘negotiation talk’ . Same as when you are buying a house or even car. You say its exactly what I want , but needs other extras or makeover, but I might force myself to live with it once the price is right.
        Its talking down the price of the plane you will buy thats all.

        As Scott found out , getting exactly what you want in a house costs quite a lot more.

        • Sure.
          The USAF complaining bitterly about the KC46 is also just “negotiation talk” 😏

          • They have been delivered.
            It’s clearly not a future order issue.
            Indeed they keep buying more

      • “TC like to hear himself talk.” I like to hear him talk! He used to have plenty of “business” interviews on the Emirates entertainment system. It was insightful about emirates and management general. Obviously his talks do raise Emirates profile. Emirates clearly have issues with the delayed B777-9 deliveries, its effected their plans and I’d say A380 retirement pace. It’s unusual for a COO to talk so frankly about a suppliers problems. Could also be coming from the CEO. I think he’s letting the world know that Emirates will accept nothing less than a perfect aircraft. The MAX spooked a lot of airlines.

        • BA kept saying to TC it’s business as usual and delivery in 18 months or so. I’ll keep an eye out for how long this promise lasts and the world be reminded: oops, BA did it AGAIN.

        • Both Emirates and Qatar serve the same end destinations and Qatar might get the upper hand eventually with its A350-1000’s vs. Emirates 777-300ER. But still the 777-300ER rules in this cargo heavy world as Qatar fly all their 777’s and have a number of A350 parked. Emirates also fly almost all 777-300ER’s.

          • The Qatar A350s are parked because of some sort of paint issue that Al Baker thinks they have…he’s even managed to get the Qatari regulator on the bandwagon. The EASA can’t find an issue, nor can other big A350 users such as Cathay and SIA…but that just makes it all the harder to back down.

          • Bryce:

            You are extremely poorly informed on the subject. I know the following will not change that approach, but it is educational for others who really are interested in facts.

            The Quatari AHJ grounded the A350s, not the Airline.

            Said paint is causing cracks in panels. How deep or how fast they might propagate is not known.

            So, unlike the EASA or FAA that allow things to fly until they crash, the AHJ there has taken a prudent stance that it has to be understood and corrected.

            Cracks can propagate explosively or hey can sit there for long periods of time. No one knows in this area as the mechanism is new.

            We do know that GE changed a coating on the GenX shaft and it shuck blades out the back withing hours of run time.

            A few years back, an A380 threw a disk over Greenland. Nothing wrong with the materials or maint as far as the knowledge base went (extensive on jet engine now), but there was a cold welding process in a material never seen before.

            Its better to be prudent than see a plane go down (granted you are hypocritical on that subject in this case vs the MAX)

            EASA was letting European carriers fly 787 with two bad RR engines.

            India refused to let Indigo fly the A320 PW equipped with even one iffy engine.

            The UK had a Sikorsky shed a roto0r over the North Sea due to what started as a microscopic crack in the rotor shaft.

            Eurocopter ala Airbus lost at least one Puma to a gear box failure that was due to crack .

            So, yes cracks have to be taken extremely seriously and with the best possible caution (grounding) until you can sort it out.

          • Strange that no other airline or regulator has reported these mysterious “cracks”.
            And where did you get all this supposed info on the issue? Qatar has only issued very vague and evasive statements about a “paint degradation issue”.

          • Our commentator mixed up spinning fan blades with fuselage??

            This spinning is apparently going out of control. 😂

          • Airbus potential liability on the underwing crack issue is concerning. We know little of the actual issue. Explosive propagation from fatigue cracks is very unlikely in CFRP since the fibres interrupt propagation of the crack. That’s the point of a Composite. Nevertheless micro cracks can develop in the plastic and at the interface between the plastic and fibre. Maybe Airbus needs to take back a wing and break it or at least put it trough some kind of X-ray microscopy.

    • William — “…I suspect that … the backlog of A321neo is possibly longer than that of the competing Boeing B737-10…” Possibly it is. It must be assumed that so-called backlogs include every order, option, MoU, LoI, pencilled-in line slot, apparent selection of future equipment, and declared aspiration. No doubt the wise commenters among our number can advise on what proportion of them all can be discounted for lack of committed substance? After that, we might just find that first available airframes are not quite so far into the future as is implied (whatever we say about “the aviation press” anticipating orders — or, rather, announcements of the same).
      As to sensationalizing Clark’s comments, it is to be hoped that reported quotes are, in fact, correct. And we also must accommodate the possibility that some of the things he says are thinly veiled megaphone diplomacy aimed at particular corners of France and the US, but the parties all know each other pretty well by now — and someone using words to mean what they actually do mean is to be welcomed.

  3. Boeing didn’t invite media to attend the two signing ceremonies? Why?? Avoiding as much scrutiny as possible?

    • Pedro – “Why??” Or, indeed, why not?
      In truth, “signing” ceremonies at air-shows usually involve certificates to mark/record only the announcement of an “order” or, I suspect, sometimes no more than the selection of manufacturer and model, which may be several months before any relevant “pencilled-in line slot,” LoI, MoU, option, or “order”… In other words, your scrutiny might yield little more than “nothing to see here…;” the media has often “been there, done that.”

      • Pedro:

        Well the truth is that Akasa is owned and run by space aliens and Boeing is accommodating to the customer as not to whig out people who are (well whigged out) by that kind of ownership.

        You have to applaud Boeing for being discreet.

        • Well ,the 777-9 just touched down in Doha… Interesting to see if anything comes out of it…

          • That’s good news. Hopefully, it is running well. Also, it crossed my mind, that maybe the 777-9 will find a niche as a combi. They sold a fair amount of 747s in this category.

          • Yea I would like to see Boeing get back on track. I suspect the 777X is fine, Boeing needs to do its homework proving it.

            I think the day of the Combi is done but its a new day so one to keep an eye on.

            I believe UPS has one or two of the 747-400 combi’s from (ANA Cargo?)

  4. It seems that Boeing is on somewhat of a sugar campaign in India:
    “SpiceJet, Boeing settle claims related to grounding of 737 Max aircraft”

    Note the key statement:
    “This paves the way for the induction of efficient and younger Max aircraft into SpiceJet’s fleet and ensures the resumption of new aircraft deliveries from our order of 155 Max aircraft, it added.”

  5. Congratulations to Boeing with the series of passenger and freighter orders at Dubai.

    Boeing is loosing it’s leading position in Wide Body aircraft also.

    Time for a long term strategy review with all stake holders. Including supply chain (Collins, GE, Spirit), shareholders, government (NASA, Congress, US Exim, DoD and FAA).

    With the Boeing board in a humble, transparent role reflecting the companies current position.

    • Airbus cant confirm A320neo delivery slots for existing orders? Sounds unlikely. Dont they assign fixed delievery slots?

      • I also found that odd.
        Perhaps the general lowering of the production rate has pushed out the Etihad slots?

        • My understanding is Douglas was referring to the B787 in general; Douglas also said Etihad wouldn’t have to make a decision about its A320neo order for another three years (after Etihad restructured its order around early 2019).

    • If Etihad cancels 16 aircraft, 10 from Airbus and 6 from Boeing that softens the underlaying event for the bigger public.

      Better than “Etihad first to cancel 777-9”

  6. Emirates Skycargo orders two 777F to be delivered in April and June next year. Hmmm ….

    BA has more production slots to fill?

    • Delays to 777X certification -even though those issues are around the new integrated software system and some 3rd party supplied wing flap actuators, they havent prebuilt many planes- means more slots for the ‘old’ model which continues in production.

      • …rather neutral choice of language to describe things as serious as uncommanded pitch changes and unexpected fuselage rupture…

        6 months since that embarrassing FAA letter in May, and still no TIA. And the letter itself was sent after 9 months of insufficient progress on certification failings. That equates to a total of 15 months in limbo.

          • Duke:

            I recall a number of A330 aircraft that had that occur and they never came up with an explanation.

            Of course from a hypocritical view that is different of course.

      • -> ” … they havent prebuilt many plane …”

        Boeing already produced the first 777-9s for Lufthansa and Emirates. There are about *two dozen -9s* stored at Everett Paine Field …
        according to LNA, Nov 2, 2020

    • Pedro:

      Yes, they should just quit trying. I mean the 777F has been such a failure.

      Oh, that is right, it was the A330F that fell on its jacked up nose.

    • Confidence in the management can deliver what they promised without much delay?

    • Launching with a leasing company is a disappointment.

      All your “fanboy” prognostications for A350 freighter orders before the show really missed the mark.

      • What “prognostications”?
        I said “I sense order announcements coming”… and a launch order was announced, wasn’t it?

        How many orders were there for the non-existent 777XF?

      • BA still hunting for launch customer(s) for B777XF, apparently its delay tactics works very well.

        Customers are concerned about emission reduction, being late to the market demonstrates BA’s product strategy blind spot(s). Only the blinds can’t see its failures.

      • : Trevor.!
        At least someone agrees with my comments..!!!
        The bias a bit much here ….
        Interesting to hear what they say when Qatar launches the 777xf..!!

        • TC/Trevor — “The bias a bit much here …” One man’s bias is another man’s balance. Isn’t it always interesting to hear what ‘they (whodat? Name them…)’ say?

        • I think it’s very likely that Qatar will place an order for a 777XF — IF such a plane ever gets formally announced.
          Whether Qatar will actually ever receive deliveries of that plane…that’s (much) less certain 😉

      • Why is launching with a lease company a disappointment. Only 7 orders, yes perhaps that is a disappointment. But lease companies are pretty hard headed about value for dollar so I think the launch customer being a lease company is a plus.

        • ALC was/is also the launch customer for the A321 LR/XLR.

          Wouldn’t BA be delighted if a Chinese lessor took some MAXs?

          • jbeeko:

            Usually a lease company does it with PAX aircraft. I assume they have a customer close to committed at least.

            Its an unusual one for an F aircraft. F has always been a lot iffier than PAX.

            As its not firm they may have a back out clause if their customer does not come through.

            Amadeous back in the day had a lot of A380 hype and supply 20 ordered that never actually had any foundation.

            The 5 x A380F for leaser got cancelled as well, never heard who those would be for.

      • -> Along with the supply delays, Boeing’s problem is to develop a brand new plane that’s higher than the A321, he stated. If it doesn’t, then the A321 would additional penetrate the market, making Boeing inroads much more tough to perform.

        -> “The longer Boeing waits, the extra the A321 will penetrate markets and airways, making a transition to different plane harder

        • BA has already missed the boat with regard to an A321 competitor: even if it were announced tomorrow, it would probably still be 7-10 years before EIS.

          Will the MAX-10 be certified on time? As we learned in the recent LNA podcast, John Plueger has his doubts. And even if/when it eventually comes, it still can’t match the competition.

          Just look at the number of A321s ordered in Dubai, and ponder the new opportunities that the A321LR/XLR is offering to airlines like JetBlue and Wizz.

          • The max10 could be seen as a better max9.
            It doesn’t play with the a321 set of products.

      • “CMA CGM Group, a world-leader in shipping and logistics, and Airbus have signed a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the purchase of four A350F freighter aircraft. The order, which is subject to finalisation in the coming weeks, will lift CMA CGM’s total Airbus fleet to nine aircraft, including five A330-200F.” — Airbus PR just out.

    • 75 of those 777’s orders are for freighters/-300er’s, which leaves about 235 orders for the 777X.

      This is still better than the 191 orders they said were still firm, in Jan 2021 – which means they managed to save some 45 units.

      • Frank:

        Programs have been launched on less (A350F!)

        Its a nice backlog, and reality is that most if not all would have been deferring regardless of certification status.

        The big question of course is this like the A380 with that number limit or does it have growth to the order line ? (along with the 777X-F)

        Of course if I could predict it all I would not only be rich but would have put Scott out of business!. Probably a good thing for all I can’t.

  7. As expected, WizzAir wants to use its new Abu Dhabi base to offer flights to various destinations in India:

    “”We have all the approvals from the UAE side, and now we’re in the middle of the process of getting regulatory approvals from the subcontinent countries. It’s up to the destination markets to approve that. All the bilateral services agreements are in place. It is a matter of finalizing documentary and regulatory approvals, and then we are good to go there as well. We will see that happen sometime in 2022,” said Kees Van Schaick, managing director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi.”

    Meanwhile, O’Leary has to put up with the limited range and seat capacity of his 737s…

  8. Amazing forecast for aviation growth in Middle East:

    “DUBAI, 18th November, 2021 (WAM) — Airlines operating in the Middle East region will require 3,020 new passenger and freight aircraft deliveries by 2040, according to the 2021 Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF) launched at the Dubai Airshow 2021. This will bring the total fleet to 3,210 from a 2019 fleet baseline of 1,300 aircraft.

    …Today, five of the world’s largest aviation cities are in the Middle East, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, serving more than 10000 long-haul passengers per day. Another six cities will grow past this threshold in the next twenty years including Dammam, Muscat and Kuwait City.”

  9. VERY curious:
    RGN: “Is Airbus on the cusp of unveiling wider A350 cabin?”

    “Is Airbus about to unveil a wider A350 cabin in the interest of making the ten-abreast layout on board its latest widebody twinjet palatable to airlines beyond the leisure and low-cost market — and to compete with Boeing’s 777X? An aside remark at the Dubai Airshow this week suggests that it might be coming down the line in Toulouse, and soon.”

  10. JP Morgan latest forecast expects BA could eliminate excess inventory of 737s by 2025

    • Another disappointing order for the fledgling A350 freighter program.

      I hate to see startups be launch customers. They just do not have the expertise.

      You want a big airline like Federal Express or UPS. Some party that can exert pressure on the OEM when management wants to push junk out the door.

    • Deliveries now pushed out to Feb/Mar *at the earliest*.

      As a result, more and more airframes become eligible for penalty-free cancellation. And for each such cancellation, BA has to refund any pre-payments made by the buyer, which eats into cash reserves.

      What a circus.

      • And my favorite pet peeve – interest expense, continues to accrue.

        Imagine the poor suppliers?

        This is a classic example of never, ever, ever – get tied to one company’s order book. Diversify away.

        • This is classic example of don’t let GE-type bean counters run an engineering company. Calhoun has a great no-nonsense demeanor that would play well on “Shark Tank” but he is in way over his head on this turn-around effort. He should find a nice stable company that needs help managing its earnings.

        • Frank:

          I have read the reports and I don’t think it has slowed further.

          It seems to be 2 a month still. Its like they are late realizing Boeing dropped it from rate 5 to 2.

          Surprised that they have not worked it out delivery wise yet. I think a lot of airlines were ok but I am seeing some see some light at the end of the tunnel and want them to resume.

          Flip side is they clearly (both) want it a one and done without herks and jerks and more stop starts.

          • The Seattle Times reported that BA has *”paused”* the
            aft fuselage assembly waiting for the problems to sort out.

          • Pedro:

            Thank you, I had missed that. I have to watch access to Seattle times due to article limitations.

          • @Pedro

            That’s such a nice way to put it. I wonder if it would work this way too:

            “Hi Honey – I’m home! Guess what? My employment at the company got paused..”

            Sounds so much better than:

            “I got laid off”

            Presentation is everything, huh? If it looks good, it tastes good, I guess

    • Time to put the pedal to the metal??

      -> Must-win for Boeing at IAG? In Q3 call, CFO Steve Gunning said group will need “additional short-haul aircraft” from 2024-25…it’s important to have strong competition between Airbus and Boeing”. He was vague on status of 2019 #737Max MoU, saying it “seems a long time ago now”

      • “seems a long time ago now”

        coding for;

        “We did Boeing a solid, We’re really not taking those planes…”

  11. Believe it or not, the 787 issues have just gotten even worse:
    Seattle Times: “FAA memo reveals more Boeing 787 manufacturing defects, including contamination of carbon fiber composites”

    “SEATTLE — The litany of manufacturing defects on the 787 Dreamliner is expanding as Boeing engineers take apart planes and discover new or more widespread issues, an Federal Aviation Administration internal memo indicates.

    The FAA memo, which was circulated internally Monday and reviewed by the Seattle Times, points to new concerns about a previously unreported defect caused by contamination of the carbon fiber composite material during fabrication of the large structures that make up the 787’s wing, fuselage and tail.

    The FAA memo, which lists safety conditions affecting airplanes currently in service worldwide, states that these tiny gap defects are thought to be present in more than 1,000 Dreamliners. These are not considered an immediate safety concern but could cause premature aging of the airframe.

    …Those planes currently in service can be inspected and reworked later during routine maintenance, the spokesperson said.

    However, complicating the process, the FAA memo states that Boeing doesn’t have the detailed configuration data on each plane to know which may have the defects.

    It’s unclear if coming up with fixes that will satisfy the FAA will further delay resumption of 787 deliveries into next year.”

    Because the ST article is behind a paywall, here’s an equivalent link:

    • No wonder 787 customers waiting for delivery look for 777 long-term leases. 😉

    • You know what this reminds me of? Renovations. I think TW can relate;

      Every time you open up a wall, you seem to find something that needs fixing. It’s all fine and dandy, until it sees the light of day.

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