Issue No. 840
The Dubai Order Frenzy
Airlines Go on a Shopping Spree at The Dubai Airshow
Pushing Back: Inside The Issue
In the Before Times, the biennial Farnborough and Paris Airshows were where airframers announced masses of orders from the world's airlines. Those two shows have been idled for two years during the pandemic, but the Dubai Airshow was not. And this year the usually sleepier and more regional airshow was a doozy. Airlines signaled their faith in the recovery by going on something of a shopping spree, announcing orders for almost 500 jets. Airbus was the big winner, with two marquee orders: Air Lease Corp.'s order for 111 aircraft and Indigo Partner's for 255. Boeing did all right as well, with orders from a new Indian startup and airlines in Africa.
But ALC and Airbus buried the lede, as we journalists like to say. The lessor is the launch customer for a new aircraft, a freighter variant of the A350, something Airbus had signaled it would launch. But unlike other aircraft launches, there was no champagne or confetti or even a standalone press release. Instead, the A350F's launch was buried in a release about ALC's order for 111 Airbus jets.
Elsewhere in this issue, we held the second annual Skift Aviation Forum virtually last week, and airline leaders were bullish (and not just about buying aircraft) about the recovery. American Airlines is exiting 27 routes, while United Airlines is ending nine. The leaders of both airlines say they will have enough staff to handle what is expected to be a busy holiday season, but face a pilot shortage on at their regionals for next year. And KLM's Pieter Elbers expressed surprise at the crazy-high load factors his airline saw on November 8, the first day the U.S. re-opened to vaccinated travelers. For more from the conference, turn to the Weekly Skies section below.