The Dubai Air Show is approaching and according to the press conference schedule it will start with a busy Sunday. Boeing has occasionally blocked two conference rooms at once, so we can conclude that they expect to have some announcements. But many deals are made perfect in the last minute, so many the bookings could be tentative. Just think of how the story between Qatar and Airbus went two years ago when U-Turn Al accused Airbus of not knowing how to build airplanes just to order some dozens an hour later...
I think it is out of question that the B777X - or the B777-8/-9 how we can
call it now - will be the big star of the show. I don't think that the negative
vote of the IAM regarding the contract offer from Boeing will have any impact
on the orders from Emirates, Etihad, Cathay, Qatar(???) and who else looks for
this aircraft. And although there seems to be some discussions about the engine thrust needed (A350-1000 anyone?) I don't think that
bothers these airlines to order now. But it could lead to some new discussions
between Boeing and Lufthansa (and GE probably) as I guess Lufthansa can very
well sort out what impact on seat costs for their typical routes a more
powerful (and therefore heavier and thirstier) engine and a heavier aircraft
has. It is fair to believe Lufthansa was already offered a very good price,
being the first airline to officially order the aircraft. But a further price reduction,
based on the cost impact the more powerful engine for, say, 12 years is in the
That will not undermine the business case for the new B777 family, of
course. In fact, I wonder if we will see the B777-8/-9 to sell even faster than
the B787? With the expected block buster orders from the Gulf carriers to begin
with that could very well be...
What else can we expect?
Some orders for the A320neo and the A350 for Etihad maybe. Spicejet is rumored
to lean towards the A320neo. Jet Airways is also in the running for the next
round of narrowbodies and according to rumors have already ordered the B737MAX
as an unidentified customer but wants the A320neo for JetKonnect. flydubai also
could order narrowbodies as well as Air Arabia. Monarch Airlines said some
weeks ago they are close to make an order, but that does not have to be in sync
with the Dubai Air Show.
We could also see some engine decisions regarding the A320neo. There are a
few large orders pending. The decisions from American Airlines will probably
take a while as they have come out of bankruptcy and to sort out the merger
with US Airways first. But there is Lion Air (174 A/C), easyjet (100 A/C), the
second batch of Lufthansa (70 A/C), the second 50 A/C from Norwegian, Turkish
Airlines (57 A/C) and many others...
There are probably also some engine orders open for the B787 that could be
With the expected orders for the new B777 this Air Show will probably set a
new record for orders in terms of value!