Airbus working to pin down $10bn Air Arabia planes deal

A deal for the A320neo-series may come as early as November’s Dubai Air Show

Etihad is paring orders and shrinking its own network after racking up almost $5 billion in losses over three years
Etihad is paring orders and shrinking its own network after racking up almost $5 billion in losses over three years

Airbus is working to pin down an order for 100 narrow-body aircraft from Air Arabia that would be worth more than $10 billion at list prices, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

A deal for the A320neo-series may come as early as November’s Dubai Air Show, they said, asking not to be named as the plans are private, sister publication Arabian Business reported. 

Nothing has been finalised and Boeing isn’t yet out of the running, the people said, although Air Arabia is currently an Airbus operator and the US planemaker’s 737 Max narrow-body remains grounded after two fatal crashes.

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Air Arabia CEO Adel Ali told Bloomberg in February that he was considering a triple-digit jet deal with Airbus or Boeing to add destinations in Southeast Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe.

He said earlier this month that the purchase should be decided by January. The company already ranks as the biggest discount carrier in the Gulf and North Africa.

A jet purchase would also help the Sharjah-based airline establish a planned new carrier, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, with Etihad Airways after the pair announced an alliance earlier this month.

Etihad is paring orders and shrinking its own network after racking up almost $5 billion in losses over three years.

Air Arabia operates a multi-hub business with bases in Morocco and Egypt, as well as Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates. It has a fleet of about 50 A320 aircraft together a handful of leased A321neos.

Air Arabia, Airbus and Boeing all declined to comment.

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