Royal Jordanian Airlines has opted to take two 72-seat E-175 jetliners in lieu of two of seven 100-seat E-195s it ordered last year. The first of the E-175s is to be delivered in May 2008 and will feature a cabin with 60 economy-class seats and a 12-seat first-class section. The airline will deploy the new aircraft on a mix of domestic and regional routes.
Saudi Arabian Airlines
This morning Saudi Arabian Airlines plans to sign an agreement with Dassault Falcon for seven Falcon 7X long-range business jets–four firm and three optioned. The first is scheduled for delivery in 2009.
With a rash of new civil aircraft orders widely expected at the show this week, Airbus and Boeing continue to enjoy the fruits of the ongoing industry boom. U.S.
manufacturer Boeing could see its year-end tally again reach 1,000 units, while its European competitor prepares to issue plenty of news here in Dubai to follow its slew of announcements at the Paris Air Show in June.
The stereotypical business aircraft in the Middle East is a widebody airliner converted to money-no-object specifications for an omnipotent sheikh. While there are still plenty of lavish VIP and head-of-state transports fitting this description, business aviation in this region appears to be evolving to become more business-like, pragmatic and functional.
Recognized as a specialist for performing D-checks and modifications on all Boeing 747 models and several other civil airliners, Alsalam Aircraft is steadily expanding its penetration of world maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) markets.
This past year has seen Embraer’s influence traverse industry sectors and spread to every corner of the globe. No longer simply a regional airline supplier, the Brazilian company has seen its products find homes with the likes of Air Canada, Finnair, Hong Kong Express, Panama’s Copa and India’s Paramount Airlines.
Boeing has appointed former Saudi Arabian Airlines executive Ahmed Jazzar to the new position of president of Boeing Saudi Arabia, overseeing all the group’s activities in the country. Sales and marketing responsibilities will remain with the various Boeing business units, namely Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Integrated Defense Systems, Connexion by Boeing and Boeing Capital Corp.
The number of business jets registered in Middle Eastern countries has grown by about one-fifth over the past 10 years. By the standards of other still emerging markets like Europe (45 percent growth over the same period), the Middle East’s 18-percent fleet growth doesn’t inspire awe. It does, however, dwarf the 8-percent hike seen in Asia–a market over which most business aircraft makers salivate.
A decade ago, any discussion of the private aircraft market in the Middle East was generally limited to members of the royal families as customers, and the airplanes were for the most part executive/VIP versions of widebody airliners.
Never a hotbed of activity for the West’s two regional jet makers, the Middle East market for RJs has long seemed as barren as the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter. But like the oil riches that lie beneath the desert sands, the need for smaller, more efficient airplanes has finally surfaced with a little coaxing, as Embraer proved in late April.