Dubai Air Show opens as aviation soars following pandemic lockdowns


The biennial Dubai Air Show opened yesterday as airlines are poised to make major aircraft purchases after rebounding from the groundings of the coronavirus pandemic.

Boeing announced an order of 45 737 MAX aircraft from budget carrier SunExpress, a joint venture between Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa on the first day of the event.

The order for 45 planes — 28 737-8s and 17 737-10s — includes options that could extend to 90 aircraft, potentially more than doubling the Turkish-German carrier’s fleet of 66.

The ordered planes’ list price would value the deal at more than $5 billion, although usually discounts are negotiated for large orders.

“It’s the largest order in the history of SunExpress,” Max Kownatzki, CEO of the low-cost joint venture, said at the signing ceremony.

Emirates airline also announced a $52 billion order for 95 Boeing planes yesterday.

A bumper week of deals would underline the sector’s recovery from the COVID pandemic.

Global aviation is booming after the pandemic saw worldwide lockdowns and aircraft grounded.

Air traffic is now at 97 percent of pre-COVID levels, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Middle Eastern airlines, which supply key East-West routes for global travel, saw a 26.6 percent increase in September traffic compared to a year earlier, IATA says.

While commercial aviation takes much of the attention, arms manufacturers also have exhibitions at the show. Two major Israeli firms — Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. and Israel Aerospace Industries had been slated to participate.

The firm Russian Helicopters will likely have staff on hand for the air show after appearing at the Abu Dhabi arms fair earlier this year despite being sanctioned by the U.S. and others over Moscow’s attack on Ukraine. ROSCOSMOS, the Russian state space company, is also at the show.__Daily Hurriyet