Boeing wins second Dreamliner order at Dubai Air Show, trailing Airbus

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — American plane-maker Boeing chalked its second Dreamliner order of the Dubai Air Show Tuesday, announcing a sale of three of its 787-9 Dreamliners to the Republic of Ghana.

The planes, whose order value is $877.5 million at list prices, will go toward Ghana’s new yet-to-be launched airline, in which the government will hold a 10% stake. A steep discount off the list price is typically negotiated by airlines.

The long-haul, mid size wide body 787-9 jet seats between 242 and 330 passengers in a two-class layout. Its flight range aligns with Ghana’s plans to include long-haul flights in its new airline, with routes to North America and Europe.

The order adds to what remains a starkly weak volume of deals for the American manufacturing giant, whose sales have been badly hit following two catastrophic crashes of its popular 737 Max jet in less than five months that killed a total of 346 people. Its fleet of roughly 400 jets around the world have been grounded since March.

Boeing’s presence at the Middle East’s flagship air show has been subdued as a result, weighed down by ensuing safety concerns and compensation charges.

Asked why the country’s government chose Boeing over French rival Airbus — which has won new orders for some 180 jets so far this week — Ghanaian Aviation Minister Joseph Kofi Adda replied, “We chose Boeing because we know the strength of the company … We’ve done some studies, and we’ve assessed the wide-body aircraft manufacturers. Airbus is high quality, it was difficult to choose between the two of them, but we chose Boeing for now.”

The order brings Boeing’s total firmed and provisional orders of commercial jets to 65, or just over one-third of those of Airbus so far. On Sunday, the company announced a sale of two of its 787-9 Dreamliners to Biman Bangladesh Airlines, and on Monday booked a firm order from Turkish carrier SunExpress for 10 of its still-grounded 737 Max jets.

The vote of confidence in the embattled aircraft gained traction Tuesday, with a letter of intent from Kazakhstan’s Air Astana to buy 30 of the 737 Max planes and a reported separate order of 20 of the jets from an undisclosed buyer. All of the 737 Max deals remain subject to the aircraft receiving regulatory approval to return to service.

At Monday’s market close, Boeing’s stock price was down around 12% since the fatal crash of Ethiopian Airlines’ 737 Max 8 in March.

Boeing’s airliner deals thus far make up a combined value of $6.47 billion based on the most recently available list prices — a figure eclipsed by that of Airbus, whose total for the week currently stands at roughly $31.4 billion at list prices.

Airbus is also ahead for the year: By the end of October Airbus had posted 542 net orders for 2019, compared to Boeing’s net figure of 45.

Boeing’s performance is a marked contrast from the last Dubai Air Show in 2017, where the company clinched a major sale of 40 787-10 jets to Emirates Airline at a value of $15.1 billion on the show’s first day alone.

Monday saw the Dubai flagship airline choose Airbus, with Emirates ordering 50 of the French-made A350s at a value of $16 billion.

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