Issue Overview

Dubai Airshow Shopping

Dubai Airshow Shopping

November 20th, 2023 at 12:43 AM EST
22 min read

Issue Overview

It’s been a strange year for Boeing. Lots of good. Lots of bad. Everyone wants 737 Maxes and 787s. But oh, the headaches trying to build them. Two versions of the Max aren’t yet FAA certified. It hasn’t sold planes to China in years. And the 777X hasn’t been selling, that is until last week.

At the Dubai Airshow, Emirates gave Boeing a gift from the heavens, ordering 90 additional 777Xs. It now has 205 of them on order. Not stopping there, the Gulf carrier threw a handful of extra 787s in its shopping cart. That’s separate from FlyDubai’s surprising purchase of 30 787s. In addition, Boeing bagged new 737 Max and/or 787 orders from Ethiopian, SunExpress, Royal Jordanian, Royal Air Maroc, and Kazakhstan’s Scat.

And Airbus? It won a bit of business from Emirates too, for another 15 A350-900s. But the European planemaker surely wasn’t pleased by the airline’s outspoken criticism of the A350-1000, specifically the performance of its Rolls-Royce engines. In any case, Airbus picked up some additional orders from Ethiopian, EgyptAir, and AirBaltic; though nothing from Turkish Airlines, defying the expectations of many.

Thai Airways defied the expectations of everyone, producing profit margins that topped the global airline industry. Below is a chart ranking the majority of the world’s publicly-traded passenger airlines by operating margin. And sure enough, you’ll see Thai at the top. That’s testament to drastic cost cutting in bankruptcy, combined with strong demand trends as East Asian airline markets benefit from post-Covid travel fever.

Cargo fever is now over for Korean Air. As a result, it’s no longer earning quite the profit margins it was a year or two ago. But the passenger side of the business is now thriving, in part by capturing nonstop-lacking U.S.-China demand through Seoul. The big question for Korean Air now: Will it close its deal to buy hometown rival Asiana? Let’s see what the regulators say.

In Norway, regulators had their say on Norwegian Air’s plan to buy Wideroe. No, was their response. But the airlines will have a chance to respond and perhaps offer more concessions. In the meantime, Norse Atlantic, which operates ex-Norwegian Air 787s, is reportedly in talks to sell itself. You can see why a larger airline would want it: Those precious Dreamliners, currently in short supply.

Read on for more on third quarter earnings — Copa, Azul, and Avianca headlined a Latin-heavy reporting week. This week, Americans take to the skies for their Thanksgiving feast. And here’s something airlines everywhere can be thankful for: West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices have dropped well below the $80 per barrel mark.

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