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Boeing sees strong ME growth

Abdul Basit
Filed on November 13, 2011

The Boeing Company said Middle East will continue to grow and airplane maker ruled out any impact of Arab Spring on its order book, according to top officials of the company. They said, at a news conference in Dubai, Arab Spring did not impact on commercial airplane orders and the company has strong order book from regional airlines.

But eurozone crisis could impact on financing packages for purchases of aircraft as European banks become more cautious, they added.

Boeing has a strong firm order book of 300 aircraft from the Middle East and the company expects more orders during the Dubai Airshow. There are 130 firm orders from the region for 787 Dreamliner, according to the company executives.

Qatar Airways will get the first Dreamliner in the middle of next year while other customers for the same aircraft in the region are ALAFCO, Etihad Airways, Iraqi Airways, Gulf Air, Royal Jordanian, and Saudi Arabian Airline.

The US aircraft manufacturer on Saturday underscored the region’s current and future growth potential for both the commercial aviation and defense sectors at. The company intends to continue building its presence in the Middle East with a focus on partnerships with regional entities.

“We remain committed to further strengthening our presence and partnerships with governments, enterprises and customers to develop and grow regional aerospace infrastructure and capabilities,” Jeffrey Johnson, president of Boeing Middle East, said.

Johnson said it has seen a softening in defence equipment orders in the region following the Arab Spring as governments in the region start giving priority to social programmes. But he expects defense spending will pick-up next year. The world’s most advanced passenger jet, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, a tiltrotor military transport aircraft, will make their Middle East air show debuts amid a range of exciting products and services Boeing is showcasing at the week-long air show.

Boeing works with a wide range of customers and partners in the Middle East, including the region’s leading airlines, national defense forces, communications enterprises and academic institutions. It maintains offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and Riyadh and has a pool of highly qualified and dedicated personnel based in the region to support its customers.

Saudi Arabia is a significant market for Boeing. “The value Boeing places on local partnerships is reflected in the number of successful ventures we have established over the years in Saudi Arabia and other parts of the region,” said Ahmed Jazzar, president, Boeing Saudi Arabia.

Boeing Defense Space & Security (BDS), is seeking to expand its regional footprint. Existing customers who already operate a wide range of Boeing systems are looking to further upgrade and expand their fighter, rotorcraft, airlift and battle-management capabilities.

“We have seen a tremendous amount of interest in our defense solutions from governments across the Middle East as plans for upgrading defense capabilities move forward,” said Paul Oliver, BDS Middle East and Africa regional vice president, International Business Development. “We are constantly exploring opportunities to increase our customer base in the Middle East.”

100 new commitments for 737 MAX

Boeing Company said it has got around 100 new commitments for its updated version of 737 MAX that increased the total to 700, according to a top official of the airplane maker.

“We have got commitments for over 700 aircraft so we think the customers like what we are doing and we continue to talk to additional customers,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive James Albaugh told reporters on Saturday in Dubai. The 737 MAX is an updated version of its best-selling model with new engines and that is due to enter service in 2017. The aircraft manufacturer had 600 draft commitments in late October.

The company, which has not yet got firm orders for it, hopes to win some firm deals in addition to more provisional orders by the end of the year or early next year.

American Airlines has been identified publicly the only customer. The US Airplane maker is fine-tuning the performance guarantees and pricing before signing firm contracts.

The company plans to sell the more efficient 737 MAX for more than the $81 million list price of the current 737 model. The 737 MAX, which is powered by more efficient engines burning less fuel, has got attraction by flydubai and Oman Air. Boeing executives confirmed interest by these two regional airlines in the aircraft.

abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com


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