Saudi Arabian low-cost carrier flyadeal has made a significant U-turn on its Boeing MAX 8-order that it announced on December 21, 2018. On July 7, 2019 the airline announced it has opted to by 30 Airbus A320neo-family aircraft instead plus 20 options for delivery from 2021.

The purchase is part of the agreement announced by Saudi Arabian Airlines for 100 A320neo’s on June 18 at the Paris Air Show.  In a press release flyadeal revealed the news without explaining why the airline cancelled its MAX-order. Last December, flyadeal said it was ‘thrilled’ to announce that the MAX would be joining the airline in 2019: “The Boeing MAX was selected after a thorough analysis of safety and efficiency of the aircraft by cross-functional internal committees and aviation experts. Our commercial evaluation also confirmed the suitability of the aircraft for flyadeal’s future growth plans”, it said on Twitter at the time.

flyadeal currently operates 11 leased A320ceo’s, having started operations on September 23, 2017 on domestic and regional routes. “flyadeal will be Saudi Arabia’s newest airline, providing a unique experience with an optimal fleet to serve our domestic and regional markets”, CEO Con Korfiatis said in 2017 at the occassion of the first A320ceo-delivery. “The Airbus A320 has been distinctly selected for the needs of our operation, and we look forward to passengers experiencing flyadeal’s onboard service.”

Boeing has yet to reveal the impact the MAX safety issues and grounding has had on its order book. The decision by flyadeal makes this the first airline to actually cancel an order for the type. In March, Indonesia’s Garuda said it would consider cancelling its order for 50 MAX aircraft.

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Richard Schuurman
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Active as journalist since 1987, starting with regional newspaper Zwolse Courant. Grand Prix reporter in 1997 at Dutch monthly Formule 1, general reporter Lelystad/Flevoland at De Stentor/Dagblad Flevoland, from 2002 until June 2021 radio/tv reporter/presentor with Omroep Flevoland.
Since mid-2016 freelance aviation journalist, since June 2021 fully dedicated to aviation. Reporter/editor AirInsight since December 2018. Contributor to Airliner World, Piloot & Vliegtuig. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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