Low cost carrier Flydubai has announced a commitment to order 225 Boeing 737 Max aircraft worth $27bn at the Dubai Airshow.
The order, which includes 175 jets and purchase options for 50 more, is the third placed by the airline with Boeing in its eight-year history.
More than 50 of the new planes will be 737 Max 10s, the largest member of the 737 line, with the balance made up of Max 8 and 9s.
Flydubai currently has a fleet of Boeing 737-800s and 737 Max 8 aircraft, with a further 70 due for delivery by 2023 following an order for 75 Maxs and 11 737-800s made at the 2013 Dubai Airshow.
After today’s announcement it has a total of 320 aircraft on order.
The airline’s chairman HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said it would receive the planes over 10 years, starting in 2019, and use them to continue to expand its route network from 97 destinations at present.
“This is a huge, if expected win for Boeing and one now seriously has to question as to why Air Arabia has slipped down the pecking order. That it has not ordered new airplanes to the magnitude that Flydubai has means that either they are hitting the buffers on organic growth or they aren’t entirely won over by the competing A320neo family,” said Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research.
The deal steals some of the thunder of Boeing’s rival Airbus, which just announced the largest order by volume in its history at the Dubai Airshow.
The deal for 430 A320neos from US aviation investor Bill Franke’s Indigo Partners more than doubles Airbus’ previous order book for the year.
Boeing also sealed a $15.1bn order from Flydubai’s sister airline Emirates on the first day of the Dubai Airshow.
The two government-owned airlines are working more closely together than ever before as part of efforts to boost synergies and cut costs.
“The size of the order, for 225 airplanes, including the new 737-9 which is in flight testing and the newly launched 737-10 underscores Flydubai’s intent to expand its operations in preparation for a planned move to Terminal Three at Dubai International to sit with Emirates, ahead their joint move to Dubai World Central later on,” Ahmad added.
Boeing has more than 4,000 orders from 92 customers for the 737 Max family compared to 5,200 orders from 95 customers for the Airbus A320neo family.