Saudi Arabian low-cost carrier Flyadeal has cancelled its commitment for the Boeing 737 MAX, the American aircraft manufacturer confirmed on Sunday.
The airline committed to 30 Boeing 737 MAX 8, with a further 20 options, in December 2018. Its deal with Boeing was worth up to US $5.9 billion at list prices, subject to discounts. Flyadeal will instead receive 30 Airbus A320neo aircraft which were ordered by parent company Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudi) at the Paris Air Show 2019 in June. Deliveries of the new airplanes are due to start in 2021. As a result, the carrier will operate an all-Airbus fleet, instead of operating both competing models simultaneously or even switching over to Boeing’s 737.
This decision comes during the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX family. The aircraft type lost its permission to fly in March this year after two crashes, just months apart from each other, that killed a total of 346 people. Investigations showed that both accidents were caused by a flawed flight control system. Boeing is working hard to fix the aircraft type. However, it is currently unclear how long the aircraft type will remain on the ground.
Flyadeal started operations in September 2017 and currently operates a fleet of eleven Airbus A320 on domestic flights in Saudi Arabia. It aims to carry a total of four million passengers in 2019.
Jakob Wert is an aviation journalist from Germany. He built up the website IFN.news and is the Editor-In-Chief of International Flight Network.