Air Arabia among those announcing expansion plans

Air Arabia today unveiled plans to expand into new markets, as it signed a lease on six new Airbus A321neo long range aircrafts in a deal valued in excess of US$2.79 billion at current list prices.

The new aircraft will be leased on an eight-year deal with US-based Air Lease Corporation (ALC). They will be added to the Sharjah-based airline’s existing fleet of 50 aircraft, based out of five regional hubs in the UAE’s Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah as well as Morocco, Egypt and Jordan. Their eight-hour flying range will give the airline capacity to expand into new markets including South East Asia, Eastern Europe and the wider African continent.

Speaking as he signed the deal, Air Arabia Group CEO, Adel Al Ali, commented: “To expand a business, you don’t always need to order aircraft. The addition of these A321new LR aircraft allow us to expand our service to longer range destinations and helps offer more flexibility on our existing high density routes. We look forward to receiving the new aircraft in 2019 as we continue to offer our customers an excellent product with more destinations to discover.”

The signing of the contract was the latest deal on a busy second day of the Dubai Airshow 2017. The UAE Ministry of Defence also unveiled further deals worth more than US$891.5 million with eight individual companies, securing a range of logistical, technical support, aircraft hiring and telecommunications services. The list of deals also included a US$120 million purchase of P-3 bombs from Tawazun Dynamics LL, to be prepared for use on Mirage 9-2000 and Black Hawk aircraft.

Elsewhere, Boeing and Kuwait’s Aviation Lease and Finance Company (ALAFCO) finalised an order for 20 additional 737 MAX 8s, doubling their order to 40 aircraft in a deal valued at US$2.2 billion at current list prices. Meanwhile, Kuwait’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) endorsed a memorandum of understanding aimed at sharing experience and expertise to further develop cooperation on boosting performance. It was signed in the presence of GCAA Chairman Saif Al-Suwaidi and DGCA President Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al-Hmoud Al-Sabah.

Abu Dhabi-based investment company, Mubadala, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Honeywell International to bring a suite of maintenance, repair and operations products to the Middle East. The MoU was signed by Badr Al Olama, Director of Aerospace at Mubadala, and Randy Anderson, President, Aerospace, Europe, Middle East, Africa and India at Honeywell.

Airships Arabia signed a partnership with Skyship Services and its leasing affiliate Airship Management Limited for the operation of a Skyship 600 within the GCC, while regulations are developed in the UAE to enable Airships Arabia to apply for its own Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC). Discussions with the GCAA and the DCAA are in progress, but it is anticipated that the airship will be flying in Dubai in the first quarter of 2018.

Commenting on day two’s business, Michele van Akelijen, Managing Director of organisers Tarsus F&E LLC Middle East, said: “We’ve seen a great and wide-ranging series of deals being done over the past 48 hours, with many more to come over the course of what is proving to be the biggest and most diverse Dubai Airshow to date. It’s great to see so many new business partnerships being formed and we look forward to seeing a host of further developments across the aerospace industry in the coming days.”

The Dubai Airshow continues until 16 November at DWC, Dubai Airshow Site and is open to trade visitors from within the aerospace industry. Visitor tickets can be purchased from and are valid for the full five days.

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