Saudi carrier flyadeal ditches grounded Boeing MAX for Airbus

RIYADH (AFP) – Saudi budget carrier flyadeal has withdrawn a provisional order for Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX jets, the United States (US) plane maker said last Sunday, as the airline confirmed it will operate an entirely Airbus fleet.

“We understand that flyadeal will not finalise its commitment to the 737 MAX at this time given the airline’s schedule requirements,” a Boeing spokesman said.

The carrier’s provisional order was for “up to 50 MAXs – commitment for 30 and then options for 20 more,” the spokesman added.

The announcements mark another setback for Boeing, whose global fleet of 737 MAX planes has been grounded since mid-March following two crashes which claimed 346 lives.

In a separate statement, flyadeal said it will operate an all-A320 fleet, buying up to 50 of these aircraft from Boeing’s European rival Airbus.

“Flyadeal announces a significant growth to its fleet, with an order for 30 A320 NEO aircraft, and options for a further 20 A320 NEO family aircraft,” the carrier said, adding that deliveries will begin in 2021.

“This is in response to continuing growth in passenger demand across domestic, regional and international routes.”

The purchases are part of an order placed last month at the Paris Air Show by Saudi Arabian Airlines, flyadeal’s parent company.

Employees of the Flyadeal airlines company take a selfie during the launching ceremony held at the King Abdulaziz airport in Jeddah. – AFP