The biggest ever single-aisle order for Airbus and the biggest ever single-aisle order from a Middle Eastern carrier came as a late bonus for the Dubai Airshow as the global industry assembled in the glitzy desert city.  

Airbus had been quiet all week following a breakdown in negotiations for a major A380 deal with Emirates but as the show was tailing off it burst back into life with a $49.5 billion agreement for 430 A320neo aircraft with US investment company, Indigo Partners.

The mega contract doubles the Airbus backlog and Indigo will place the aircraft with European and South American airlines.

Boeing bounces back

Then Boeing was also bouncing as Dubai-based hybrid budget-airline Flydubai signed for 225 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, in a deal that will more than triple the airline’s current fleet of 61 aircraft. The aircraft will be delivered over a ten-year period, beginning in 2019

Bombardier was also celebrating with a launch customer for the CSeries in the Middle East in EgyptAir. The Cairo carrier spread its largesse with orders for the Boeing 787 and Airbus A320.  Host carrier Emirates had also been busy with a 40 order aircraft for the 787-10, bringing the show’s final tally to more than $113 billion in total.

But there is more to the success of the show than orders. The global supply chain will be interested in the serious suggestion that manufacturing and aircraft assembly could move to the Gulf for both military and civil programmes.


Defence contractors were in the ascendancy at the event, as tensions continue to mount in the region. Russia and China had display teams in action while the Sukhoi Su-35 was visible in the flying display, amid speculation that the company is in talks with the UAE. Meanwhile the UAE continues to talk up its goal of acquiring F-35 aircraft from the US. 

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