Airbus and Yemenia Airlines yesterday morning signed a memorandum of understanding covering 10 Airbus A320s, the first of which the official carrier of Yemen expects to arrive in Sanaa in 2011. On hand for the signing ceremonies, Yemenia board member Saleh Alawaji said the airplanes would replace some of the airline’s aging A310s and fill a gap in capacity while it waits for delivery of the first of 10 A350s by the end of 2015.
Airbus COO for customers John Leahy said he expects the MOU to convert to a firm order relatively quickly– likely within 30 days–and that only considerations involving possible options, product support and some other minor details need final execution. Assuming the deal is firmed up, the value based on approximate list prices would be around $650 million.
Alawaji added that he needs to return to Yemenia’s board, members of which represent the governments of Saudi Arabia and Yemen, for their blessing. Meanwhile, Yemenia has yet to choose an engine for the airplanes. “Our technical teams are working on it,” said Alawaji, “but we expect to make a decision soon.”