Setback for Boeing after Saudi airline cancels order for 737 Max aircraft

Setback for Boeing after Saudi airline cancels order for 737 Max aircraft

Agency News

Dubai, Jul 7: Saudi Arabian budget airline Flyadeal cancelled an order of 30 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, Boeing said on Sunday.

"We understand that Flyadeal will not finalise its commitment to the 737 MAX at this time given the airline’s schedule requirements," a Boeing spokesperson said.

The decision follows the crashes of two 737 Max jets, the first in Indonesia in October followed by one in Ethiopia in March, which killed 346 people.

Flyadeal in December made a provisional order, worth $5.9 billion (Dh21.6bn) at list prices, for 30 Boeing 737 Max jets and options for 20 more.

Instead flyadeal will operate a fleet of Airbus A320 planes.

Flyadeal announced that it would take delivery of 30 A320neos ordered by its parent, state-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines, at the Paris Air Show in June.

"This order will result in flyadeal operating an all-Airbus A320 fleet in the future," it said.

Flyadeal, which has operated leased A320 jets since launching in September 2017, will take delivery of the new Airbus aircraft from 2021.

Flyadeal's decision to opt for Boeing’s European rival is another setback for Boeing as it tries to return the 737 Max to the skies after its crashes.

The disasters triggered a global grounding of the jet in March with no clear timeline for when the industry work-horse will resume service. Aviation regulators must first approve changes to the aircraft's software and a new pilot training programme before it can fly again.

Oman Air also warned in June it would hold talks with Airbus if Boeing did not provide support and recovery for the MAX.

Meanwhile, Emirati carrier Flydubai, the second-largest customer of the Boeing 737 Max, in April also said it is in talks with Airbus for an order of the competing A320 Neo model in the absence of a time frame for the return of the Max to service. (UNI)