DUBAI, November 14 (Reuters) – The nuts and bolts of post-pandemic trade surfaced over the first major space event since the coronavirus crisis on Sunday, when aircraft manufacturers presented new shipping plans at the Dubai Airshow.
The aviation giants Airbus (AIR.PA) and Boeing (BA.N) hope to be able to launch the West’s first brand new flying juggernauts in 25 years as e-commerce gets a boost from the global pandemic.
Airbus, without a buyer after launching a freight version of its A350 jet this summer, knocked on the door of one of the industry’s customers for new aircraft launches, Steven Udvar-Hazys Air Lease Corp (AL.N), industry. so sources.
And for best-selling small passenger planes, the founder of the Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air (WIZZ.L) was also seen ready to place an order with Airbus in Dubai, four years after joining a group of airlines that broke a record deal at the same event.
Reuters reported in September that Wizz was in negotiations with Airbus for the purchase of at least 100 more jets.
Air Lease is expected to be among the early customers for a long-haul A350 cargo ship along with an unspecified cargo company, the industry publication The Air Current reported.
Airbus declined to comment at the opening of the Dubai Airshow on Sunday, the first day of the Middle East industry event. Wizz and Air Lease were not immediately available for comment.
An A350 cargo ship would go up against a proposed cargo version of the Boeing 777X passenger series, a twin-engine successor to the soon-to-be-stopped 747.
Boeing has not launched the cargo variant, but analysts say it is widely expected to do so soon as they negotiate with potential buyers, including the major carrier Qatar Airways.
CEO Akbar Al Baker, who is locked in a dispute with Airbus over the quality of A350 passenger aircraft, said in June that Qatar was in discussions about a possible 777X cargo ship.
Cargo planes have replaced jumbo passenger jet planes in typical deals at the show event, as the industry seems to put on a brave face after losing two years of passenger growth due to the global decline in travel caused by COVID-19.
In contrast to the passenger market, air freight is flourishing as consumers increasingly shop online, while global supply chain restrictions have limited the amount of cargo that can be moved.
Rebuilt passenger planes also run on the freight barrier. Landlord Icelease, headquartered in Reykjavik, announced an order for 11 Boeing 737-800 converted cargo aircraft on Sunday.
Chief Operating Officer Magnus Stephensen said that the demand for cargo planes will continue to expand even when passenger jets return to the sky due to the pandemic, which puts unused capacity in the cargo back into the market.
“The Covid pandemic has changed the cargo environment for good,” he said. “Ecommerce has totally changed the outlook.”
Military officials also gathered as diplomats say Gulf states and neighbors question Washington’s commitment to the region following a withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Washington is the main security partner for the six Arab Gulf states, which include Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, although European states have sought to increase their influence.
U.S. Lieutenant General Gregory Guillot, the top U.S. Air Force commander in the Middle East, said Saturday that the United States was committed to the region, but that “size and presence can be adjusted” at times depending on what happened elsewhere.
Israel has a public presence at the fair for the first time after establishing diplomatic ties with the UAE last year.
Russia will present its Sukhoi Su-75 “Checkmate” fighter jet, a competitor to the US F-35 that the UAE is buying as part of an agreement with Washington following the establishment of diplomatic ties with Israel.
The Emirati agreement has slowed as US senators seek more control over arms deals, including assurances that arms sales to Middle Eastern countries will not undermine Israeli security.
Reporting by Alexander Cornwell and Tim Hepher
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