Saudi airline Flyadeal’s decision on Boeing MAX “imminent”: CEO

Flyadeal is owned by the Saudi government through state carrier Saudia, and started operations in 2017. (AFP/File)
Updated 28 April 2019

Saudi airline Flyadeal’s decision on Boeing MAX “imminent”: CEO

  • The airline is reconsidering the purchase after the Ethiopia plane crash
  • The deal between Flyadeal and Boeing was worth $5.9m

DUBAI: Saudi Arabian budget airline Flyadeal's decision on whether it goes ahead with an order for 30 Boeing 737 MAX jets is “imminent,” its chief executive said on Sunday.
The airline is reconsidering the order after two MAX jets fatally crashed in Ethiopia in March and in Indonesia in October.
“We’ve kept an open position in terms of which way we will go on fleet given the situation with the MAX,” Con Korfiatis told Reuters at the Arabian Travel Market exhibition in Dubai.
“At the moment we still don’t have a decision but it is imminent.”
Flyadeal has ordered 30 Boeing 737 MAX 8s with purchasing options for 20 more in a deal Boeing said was worth $5.9 billion at list prices.
The airline, owned by the Saudi Arabian government through state carrier Saudia, has not finalized contractual terms and would be able to cancel the order if it wants to do so.
“It was effectively on the basis of an MoU (memorandum of understanding) subject to final agreements. We haven’t signed final contracts,” Korfiatis said in an interview.
Flyadeal would order the Airbus A320neo, a comparative narrow-body jet it had considered when selecting the MAX, if it cancels the Boeing deal, he said.
Switching the order would not significantly affect the airline’s expansion plans because due to a production backlog, it would have to wait several years to receive the new Boeing jets.
Flyadeal, which operates 11 older, leased A320ceo aircraft, had planned to lease aircraft as it waited for the new planes.
The airline, which started flights in 2017, expects to have a fleet of around 50 leased and ordered aircraft by 2025, Korfiatis said.
The MAX is currently banned from flying in most countries after a total of 346 died in the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes.
Boeing is developing a software fix and new pilot training for regulatory approval in order to get the company’s best-selling plane recertified.
The additional training that Boeing is developing would be “relatively incremental” to what was already required, Korfiatis said, meaning associated costs are unlikely to be significantly more.
Korfiatis praised Boeing’s communications with customers since the March crash that grounded the plane.
“Obviously this a significant issue for them and they are managing it very professionally.”


Lufthansa to freeze hiring, cut costs over coronavirus

Updated 26 February 2020

Lufthansa to freeze hiring, cut costs over coronavirus

  • ‘All new hires ... will be reassessed, suspended or deferred’
  • Lufthansa has also slashed connections with Hong Kong in the face of reduced demand

FRANKFURT AM MAIN: German airline Lufthansa said Wednesday it would freeze new hires and use unpaid leave and additional short-time work to cut costs to help cushion the economic impact of the novel coronavirus.
“To counteract the economic impact of the coronavirus of the early stage,” the group, which also owns carriers Austrian and Swiss, said in a statement that “all new hires ... will be reassessed, suspended or deferred.”
Employees would be offered unpaid leave and more part-time work and the group would also seek to cut administrative costs, it said.
“It is not yet possible to estimate the expected impact ... on earnings,” the group said, adding that it would provide more details at its annual results press conference on March 19.
The Frankfurt-based group said 13 of its aircraft were grounded, after it canceled all flights to and from mainland China by its flagship airline, as well as Austrian and Swiss until March 28.
Lufthansa has also slashed connections with Hong Kong in the face of reduced demand “and additional frequency adjustments to and from Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich are planned,” it said.