The world is in the process of recovering from COVID-19 and that means airlines want new aircraft to keep on top of demand, meet upcoming environmental targets and to replace older fleets. This post is specific to Airbus orders and announcements at the Dubai Air Show and will be updated as orders flow through. It is also worth noting that due to the fact that ATR is a joint venture, between Airbus and Leonardo, ATR aircraft will be included in this article.

Indigo Partners Orders 255 A321neos

Airbus has kicked off day one with a mammoth order from Indigo Partners for 255 A321neo aircraft, including 127 A321XLR models.

Indigo Partners is the parent airline of Wizz, Frontier, JetSmart and Volaris and has previously signed massive deals with Airbus. Notably, the firm signed for 430 A320neo family aircraft worth $49.5 billion at list prices at the 2017 Dubai Air Show. Todays order takes Indigo Partners’ total A320 order book to 1,145 aircraft. 

The aircraft will be delivered to the airlines as follows:

  • Wizz Air: 102 aircraft (75 A321neo + 27 A321XLR)
  • Frontier: 91 aircraft (A321neo)
  • Volaris: 39 aircraft (A321neo)
  • JetSMART: 23 aircraft (21 A321neo + 2 A321XLR)

The A321XLR is the latest member of the A320neo family and boasts a range of 4,700 nautical miles, equating to 11 hours in the air.

Hydrogen ATR Deal Secured

ACIA Aero Leasing and Universal Hydrogen have signed a letter of intent to convert up to 30 ATR 72-600s to fly on liquid hydrogen. The plan comes as the world increasingly worries about climate change, emphasising the need to aggressively push for more sustainable aviation fuel types.

By converting hydrogen into electricity using fuel cells, two electric motors can be used to replace the existing turboprops.

In addition to working on ATRs, Universal Hydrogen is also in the process of developing a conversion kit for the De Havilland Dash 8.

The aim is to get the conversion kit certified by 2025 with a supplemental type certificate, which is specific to an aircraft that has been modified from its original design. It not only accounts for the modification, but also how it affects the original design.

A330 MRTT Secures Orders

Airbus landed more orders for the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) during the first day of the show, providing a handy little boost to the program.

The United Arab Emirates Air Force & Air Defence signed for an additional two tankers, bringing their total order to five. With deliveries starting in 2024, this agreement will also cover the upgrade of the country’s current A330MRTT fleet to the latest enhanced version.

The Spanish Ministry of Defence also placed an order for three Airbus A330 MRTT. Under the agreement, the handover of the first aircraft in transport configuration is scheduled in the coming days, followed by its conversion to MRTT in 2024.

Airbus will convert the aircraft into a military tanker at their Spanish headquarters in Getafe, Spain. It will be equipped with their hose and drogue refuelling system as well as specific medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) equipment.

Included in the deal is spare parts coverage, ground support equipment, training and in-service support until the end of the contract.

TAROM Orders Additional ATR 72-600s

TAROM has signed a firm order to acquire three ATR 72-600 as part of a continuation of its fleet modernisation which began in 2019. The deal will also see the airline upscale its ATR 42-500 fleet to the larger 72-seat ATR 72-600 aircraft.

“Having been an ATR pilot, I have witnessed first-hand, the importance of the connectivity that they provide. They are an essential link to communities all over Romania. As a CEO, I also see the value of their efficiency and flexibility.”

TAROM Chief Executive Officer Catalin Prunariu

Binter Canarias Orders Additional ATRs

Binter Canarias signed a firm order for four ATR 72-600 aircraft, with options for one more during the first day of the show. The deal marks the final step in Binter’s plan to replace its remaining ATR 72-500 models with the latest variant.

“The ATR 72-600 has become our flagship aircraft and with 23 of them in our fleet, upon the completion of these deliveries, it provides the backbone of air connectivity throughout the Canary Islands.”

Rodolfo Nunez President of Binter Canarias

Day 2 Orders and Announcements

Air Lease Corp Orders 111 Airbus Aircraft, Launches A350 Freighter

Air Lease Corporation has joined Indigo Partners in regards to inking massive aircraft deals after today announcing an order for 111 Airbus aircraft. Included in the order is the A350 Freighter, making them the launch customer for the type.

The order consists of the following aircraft:

  • 25 A220-300s
  • 55 A321neos
  • 20 A321XLRs
  • 4 A330neos
  • 7 A350 Freighers

ATR and Pratt and Whitney Unveil New Engine for ATR 72 and 42 Aircraft

ATR will introduce a new engine to its series of 72 and 42 model turboprop aircraft.

The Pratt and Whitney PW127XT engine offers airlines a 20 percent reduction in maintenance costs and three percent reduction in fuel burn. Wing time has been extended by 40 percent, bringing the engine overhaul hours to 20,000, hence the XT in the model name meaning “Extra Time”.

The engine has also been designed to operate with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in line with ATRs goal of 100 percent SAD compatibility by 2025.

“The PW127XT engine series sets a new precedent in regional aviation and is available today. This is a concrete illustration of our belief that an incremental approach is the answer to a sustainable future, whilst helping airlines save costs. ATR delivers the most sustainable and economical aircraft in its market segment and will continue to do so in the years to come.”

ATR Chief Executive Stefano Bortoli
Dubai Airshow 2021: Airbus Orders and Announcements

Day 3 Orders and Announcements

Jazeera Airways Signs for 28 Airbus A320neo Family Aircraft

Day three of the 2021 Dubai Airshow has seen Airbus secure a preliminary order for 28 A320neo Family aircraft from Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways.

The deal, which comes in excess of $3.3 billion, comprises of 20 A320neos and eight A321neos and will enable Jazeera Airways effectively double its current fleet size to 35 aircraft by 2026.

“By taking both A320neo and A321 neo options we will have great flexibility to extend our network to medium and longer haul destinations from Kuwait, offering passengers more choice to travel and enjoy popular destinations as much as underserved ones”.

Rohit Ramachandran, CEO Jazeera Airways

Jazeera has yet to choose an engine to power the new aircraft, however their existing A320neo fleet is powered by CFM LEAP engines.

Ibom Air Firms Order for 10 Airbus A220 Jets

Nigerian airline, Ibom Air, has placed a firm order for 10 Airbus A220 jets. It was reported two days ago that the airline was in the final stages of placing an order with Airbus.

Once delivered, the 10 additional aircraft will join Ibom’s existing fleet of two A220s and five Bombardier CRJ900s.

“The addition of the A220 to our fleet will support our growth strategy and boost operational efficiency. It will also offer our passengers more space and enhanced cabin experience, as a value add for choosing us.”

Mfon Udom, CEO of Ibom

ATR Orders and Commitments Continue with Toki Air and Afrijet

Japanese carrier Toki Air has signed a letter of intent with ATR to become the first airline in Japan to operate the ATR 42-600S. The S designation in the model name identifies the aircraft as a short take-off and landing (STOL) capable machine.

This is particularly important when Toki Air is operating at airports like Niigata Airport, which only has an 890 metre runway. The enhanced short runway performance is modelled around 40 passengers being on board in normal flight conditions.

Deliveries will begin in 2025, however Toki Air already has a lease agreement for two ATR 72-600 models that will be handed over to the airline next year.

Dubai Airshow 2021: Airbus Orders and Announcements
ATR 42-600S

As for Afrijet, the airline signed for three ATR 72-600 aircraft and will use them to replace its fleet of ATR 72-500 models.

From the second aircraft onwards, Afrijet will be receiving ATR 72-600 aircraft powered by Pratt and Whitney’s newly launched PW127XT-M engine. The new engine delivers increased efficiency, helping reduce operating costs and emissions.

Air Senegal to Lease Five New A220-300s

Macquarie AirFinance as announced that Air Senegal will lease five Airbus A220-300 aircraft from them, with deliveries commencing in 2023.

“We are delighted to conclude this agreement with Air Senegal, which we see as the start of a successful long-term partnership together”

John Willingham, Chief Executive Officer, Macquarie AirFinance

Air Senegal operates an all-Airbus/ATR fleet consisting of A319s, A321s, A330neos and ATR 72-600s. The airline has eight A220-300s on order, with deliveries scheduled for 2021.