Dubai Airshow: Airbus nails $30bn of new plane orders

The Dubai Airshow took off yesterday to a slow start amid little expectations of major orders to match the multi-billion-dollar sales generated at the last edition of the biennial fair. (AFP)
Updated 19 November 2019

Dubai Airshow: Airbus nails $30bn of new plane orders

  • Emirates claims biggest order of the show with 20 additional wide-body Airbus A350 aircraft

DUBAI: Airbus nailed down $30 billion in new plane orders on the second day of the Dubai Airshow after previous rounds of the biennial showcase saw its competitor Boeing take the lion’s share of deals.

The largest deal came from the Middle East’s biggest carrier, the Dubai-based Emirates, which announced it would be buying 20 additional wide-body Airbus A350s, bringing its total order for the aircraft to 50 in an
agreement worth $16 billion at list price. That deal, however, replaces a $21.4 billion agreement struck in February to purchase 70 Airbus aircraft, which had included 40
of the A330neo. Delivery is slated to start in 2023.

In another big announcement for Airbus, Emirati budget carrier Air Arabia said it would be purchasing 120 new Airbus planes in a deal worth $14 billion at list price.

Air Arabia, which operates mainly out of the emirate of Sharjah, already has a fleet entirely made up of Airbus. The new deal will include 73 A320neos, 27 A321neos and 20 A321 XLRs, with first
delivery in 2024.

It comes as one of the country’s main carriers, Abu Dhabi Etihad Group, announced recently a joint venture with Air Arabia to launch Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, the first low-cost airline based in Abu Dhabi.

Boeing, meanwhile, has used the public appearances of its executives the airshow to stress the company’s commitment to safety after two plane crashes killed
nearly 350 people after take-off from Indonesia in October of last year and from Ethiopia in March. The aircraft’s automated
flight-control system played a part in pushing the planes’ noses down until the jets plummeted.

The crashes forced the grounding of Boeing’s 787 Max fleet around the world. The company is now working to meet a
self-imposed deadline for US regulatory approval of changes to the aircraft and the training of pilots to get it flying again by January.

Despite its troubles, the Max won a vote of confidence from at least one buyer at the airshow. Turkey’s SunExpress announced a purchase of 10 additional 737-8 Max jets, bringing its overall order of the plane to 42. The deal is valued at $1.2 billion, but it’s likely the airline will negotiate for a better deal as Boeing talks to airlines about compensations for the grounding of the aircraft and reaches settlements with relatives of victims who perished.

“We have full confidence that Boeing will deliver us a safe, reliable and efficient aircraft,” CEO of SuxExpress Jens Bischof said. “This requires the undisputed airworthiness of the model... Our utmost priority at SunExpress is and has always been safety.”

The airline is based in the Turkish coastal city of Antalya and jointly owned by Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa.

It’s not the first major order for the jet since its grounding. In June, a mere two months after the second Max jet crashed, one of the world’s largest airline groups — IAG — announced its intention to purchase 200.

Meanwhile, Boeing touted its partnership with Abu Dhabi’s flagship carrier Etihad Airways on Monday as the companies unveiled one of the world’s most fuel-efficient long-haul airplanes. It comes as Etihad seeks to save costs on fuel and position itself as a more
environmentally-conscious choice for travelers.

Etihad’s “Greenliner” is a Boeing 787 Dreamliner that will depart on its first route from Abu Dhabi to Brussels in January 2020. Etihad’s CEO Tony Douglas described the aircraft as a flying laboratory for testing that could benefit the entire industry.


OPEC sees small 2020 oil deficit even before latest supply cut

Updated 12 December 2019

OPEC sees small 2020 oil deficit even before latest supply cut

  • OPEC keeps its 2020 economic and oil demand growth forecasts steady and is more upbeat about the outlook

LONDON: OPEC on Wednesday pointed to a small deficit in the oil market next year due to restraint by Saudi Arabia even before the latest supply pact with other producers takes effect, suggesting a tighter market than previously thought.

In a monthly report, OPEC said demand for its crude will average 29.58 million barrels per day (bpd) next year. OPEC pumped less oil in November than the average 2020 requirement, having in previous months supplied more.

The report retreats further from OPEC’s initial projection of a 2020 supply glut as output from rival producers such as US shale has grown more slowly than expected. This will give a tailwind to efforts by OPEC and partners led by Russia to support the market next year.

OPEC kept its 2020 economic and oil demand growth forecasts steady and was more upbeat about the outlook.

“On the positive side, the global trade slowdown has likely bottomed out, and now the negative trend in industrial production seen in 2019 is expected to reverse in 2020,” the report said.

Oil prices were steady after the report’s release, trading near $64 a barrel, below the level some OPEC officials have said
they favor.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers, a group known as OPEC+, have since Jan. 1 implemented a deal to cut output by 1.2 million bpd to support the market. At meetings last week, OPEC+ agreed to a further cut of 500,000 bpd from Jan. 1 2020.

The report showed OPEC production falling even before the new deal takes effect.

In November, OPEC output fell by 193,000 bpd to 29.55 million bpd, according to figures the group collects from secondary sources, as Saudi Arabia cut supply.

Saudi Arabia told OPEC it made an even bigger cut in supply of over 400,000 bpd last month. The Kingdom had boosted production in October after attacks on its oil facilities in September briefly more than halved output.

The November production rate suggests there would be a 2020 deficit of 30,000 bpd if OPEC kept pumping the same amount and other factors remained equal, less than the 70,000 bpd surplus implied in November’s report and an excess of over 500,000 bpd seen in July. OPEC and its partners have been limiting supply since 2017, helping to revive prices by clearing a glut that built up in 2014 to 2016. But higher prices have also boosted US shale and other rival supplies.

In the report, OPEC said non-OPEC supply will grow by 2.17 million bpd in 2020, unchanged from the previous forecast but 270,000 less than initially thought in July as shale has not grown as quickly as first thought.

“In 2020, non-OPEC supply is expected to see a continued slowdown in growth on the back of decreased investment and lower drilling activities in US tight oil,” OPEC said, using another term for shale.