London, Dubai: Airbus SE is working to pin down an order for 100 narrow-body aircraft from Air Arabia PJSC that would be worth more than $10 billion at list prices, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
A deal for the A320neo-series may come as early as November’s Dubai Air Show, they said, asking not to be named as the plans are private. Nothing has been finalised and Boeing Co. isn’t yet out of the running, the people said, though Air Arabia is currently an Airbus operator and the US planemaker’s 737 Max narrow-body remains grounded after two fatal crashes.
Air Arabia has been in discussions with manufacturers about the order for several months, and earlier said the order will be will be made in the second quarter of 2019. That timeline was then postponed, as head of the airline later said that the decision will be made by January 2020. Adel Ali, chief executive officer of Air Arabia, said the company will order 115-120 jets, and is considering models from either Airbus or Boeing.
Ali told Bloomberg in February that he was considering a triple-digit jet deal with Airbus or Boeing to add destinations in Southeast Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe. The company already ranks as the biggest discount carrier in the Arabian Gulf and North Africa.
A jet purchase would also help the Sharjah-based airline establish a planned new carrier, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, with Etihad Airways PJSC after the pair announced an alliance last month.
Air Arabia operates a multi-hub business with bases in Morocco and Egypt, as well as Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates. It has a fleet of about 50 A320 aircraft together a handful of leased A321neos.
Air Arabia, Airbus and Boeing all declined to comment.