DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Airbus on Monday fattened an order for its new A320neo jets and Boeing snagged another customer for the 787 at the Dubai Airshow as Mideast buyers showed they remain bullish despite the uncertain global economy.
The deals, which followed a record $18 billion airplane order for Boeing from Dubai airline Emirates the day before, added ammunition to forecasts from the two major aircraft manufacturers that predicted the region will continue to generate hundreds of billions of dollars in demand for new planes for years to come.
European manufacturer Airbus predicted Monday that the Middle East will require some 1,920 new planes worth more than $347 billion through 2030. It estimates Mideast passenger numbers will grow 6.4 percent annually – well above the predicted world average increase of 4.8 percent.
Boeing thinks the potential market is even bigger. Its own forecast, released shortly after its rival’s, puts Mideast demand at 2,520 planes worth $450 billion by the end of next decade.
Much of the growth is driven by fast-growing Gulf airlines, which have boomed in recent years by funneling long-haul travelers through expanding global hubs like Dubai and the Qatari capital Doha.
In terms of deals, Airbus scored the biggest prize of the day, boosting an existing commitment from Kuwait’s Aviation Lease and Finance Co. for the A320neo to 50 planes. The leasing firm, known as ALAFCO, also took options to buy another 30 of the planes.