The Dubai Air Show opens next Sunday with high expectations for new orders at both Boeing and Airbus. With the emergence of the Gulf carriers as key customers, and for the first time orders expected from all three majors at the Air Show, Dubai has joined Paris and Farnborough on the stage as a major event for new order announcements.
Boeing is expected to launch 777X with major orders from Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways (though Qatar is a dark horse), with the majority of sales for its 407 seat 777-9 version. Expectations are from 50 to 100 planes for each carrier, and even 200+ orders are rumored. Combined with the 25 aircraft order from Lufthansa, the 777-X will have a strong start if the rumored orders materialize.
Airbus is expected to expand its A350 order book through an order with Etihad, which is also looking at the A320neo family. And Emirates is always a potential customer for additional aircraft, whether A380 or A350. With all three major Gulf carriers being A350 customers, the potential for additional orders exists, as the order book for the A350 appears sold out until 2020. Given the high demand for more fuel efficient aircraft, it is likely that Airbus will announce an increase in the A350 production rate in the near future to accommodate demand.
Airlines in the region, along with the OEMs, now seem to enjoy the limelight of announcing orders at air shows, especially one in their own backyard, so it should be a busy weekend of announcements as the show commences next week. Expectations are running high, but we’ve seen high expectations evaporate before if final commercial terms can’t be ironed out. But from what we’re hearing, some record setting orders may be in the works, and both major OEMs will be smiling at the end of the show.