Flydubai close to finalising order for 737 Max or A320neo

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Flydubai is closing on an order for re-engined single-aisles, which it hopes to conclude in time for an announcement at November’s Dubai air show.

The Dubai government-owned low-cost airline launched four years ago with new 737-800s, and has taken delivery of 31 aircraft to date. It has 19 more on firm order, with the final delivery scheduled during 2015.

“We are primarily looking at the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 Max,” says chief executive Ghaith Al Ghaith. He adds that the evaluation “very briefly” included the CSeries, but the airline is now only looking at the Airbus and Boeing offerings.

Al Ghaith says the intention is to not split the order, but he is coy about how big the deal will be. “We are looking at ordering a handful of aircraft – it depends on how big your hand is,” he jokes.

The airline, which carried five million passengers last year, aims to begin replacing in-service aircraft when they reach eight years of age. This means that from 2017 it will need both replacement aircraft and growth capacity, suggesting that the fast-expanding airline could be planning to order a significant number of aircraft.

Al Ghaith says that no final selection has yet been made, but the deal could be concluded in time for Dubai. “We are engaged in very serious negotiations, and in the near future we should make an announcement. If we are ready, it would be nice [to make an announcement at the show],” he says.