Dubai: Riyadh Air is putting the final contours on a large narrowbody aircraft order that will help the new Saudi carrier expand its network. The airline will announce a “sizeable” deal as soon as the Dubai Air Show starting early next week, CEO Tony Douglas said in an interview, while cautioning that it may take a week or so longer to hash out the final details.
While he wouldn’t disclose which aircraft Riyadh Air has picked, Douglas said it’s not a split order, suggesting either Airbus SE or Boeing Co. will walk away with the prize.
Boeing has already won a commitment from Riyadh Air for its larger 787 wide-body jet, and the US manufacturer is pressing its advantage to also land the single-aisle deal, which could include at least 150 aircraft, people familiar with the talks said back in May. Airbus is practically sold out on its A320 model for the rest of the decade, complicating any sales campaigns.
Douglas said he wouldn’t split the order because of the complexity of costs associated with maintenance, training and other factors.
All of Riyadh Air’s deliveries, including the as many as 72 Boeing 787s it previously ordered, are inside of 2030, Douglas said. Boeing is currently experiencing manufacturing issues particularly on its 737 model, forcing airlines like Ryanair Holdings Plc to cut back flying schedules. Douglas said it would be “completely and totally unacceptable” if Riyadh Air’s deliveries were postponed.
If you’re late with me, we’ve got no Plan B because we haven’t got any leased aircraft and we haven’t got any network because nobody starts until the day you deliver the first one. They have absolutely no choice.