Only weeks after announcing an order for twelve Airbus A320neos and A321neos, Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) has also made a final decision on its widebody fleet renewal. The airline confirmed its Memorandum of Understanding for the Boeing 787-8 signed at last year’s Farnborough Airshow but doubled the number of aircraft from four to eight. Azerbaijan’s Dreamliner order makes perfect sense.
This makes perfect sense with the strategy that CEO Jahangir Asgarov set out on that very hot day in July (see main picture). The MoU for four Dreamliners was to include two on direct order plus a few leased aircraft. Asgarov spoke about up to four leased 787-8s and added that Azerbaijan wished to grow the Dreamliner fleet to ten aircraft in 2030 to satisfy its growth and renewal plans, including the two 787-8s that are in the fleet since 2014.
By signing a direct order for eight 787-8s during a ceremony in Baku today in the presence of Stan Deal, Boeing Commercial Airlines President and CEO, Azerbaijan Airlines has now satisfied its demand through 2030 without the need for leasing the aircraft. Moreover, no lessor currently has the smallest Dreamliner in its unfilled orders backlog, which would have made it difficult if not impossible for Azerbaijan to source the aircraft on the leasing market anyway.
While signed today, the order has been in Boeing’s backlog for some time for an undisclosed customer. No details about delivery dates and engines have been announced, but Azerbaijan’s two Dreamliners use General Electric GEnx powerplants.
Azerbaijan’s fleet plans are now finalized, but it is worth reminding that Asgarov teased Stan Deal in Farnborough last year when he kind of begged him to bring the Boeing 757 back into production.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News. From January 2023, he will add a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.