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Boeing Book Orders for 50 737 Max Airplanes at Dubai Air Fair

Aerial photography shows Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at Boeing facilities at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, 16.09.2019.

Lindsay Wasson Reuters

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Boeing has reached three days at the Dubai Air Fair with bids for 50 of its retracted 737 Max airplanes, a day after receiving a firm order for 10 of the SunExpress summer airlines.

Kazakhstan's air carrier Air Astana on Tuesday issued a letter of intent for 30 of the Max planes, which were grounded globally in March, following two five-month devastating accidents that killed 346 people.

The bid, topped by a mystery buyer reported by a mystery buyer for 20 of the Max planes, is a vote of confidence for a plane whose dangerous defects have caused the worst crisis in the aviation industry this year.

Air Astana's $ 3.6 billion pledge is not a firm order, and all deals from last week remain subject to flying regulatory-approved aircraft to return to service. The Kazakh airline is also a client of France's Boeing rival Airbus, which appeared in major deals this week and has so far overshadowed those of the US aircraft manufacturer.

The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday announced 10 orders for the Boeing 737 MAX 7 and 10 for its 737 MAX 10 from an undisclosed buyer, citing people familiar with the matter.

Tuesday's news follows an increased order for Max 737 8 planes from the Turkish airline SunExpress, which added a firm order for 10 planes worth $ 1.2 billion at list prices, despite a previous order of 32. Dramatic discount is usually negotiated by airlines.

The announcement marks a victory for Boeing, but total orders of $ 5.6 billion have so far been reduced compared to the Airbus line, which has so far placed orders of around $ 30 billion at prices. Europe's largest airline on Monday won orders for 120 of its A320neo planes from Air Arabia and 50 of its A350s from Dubai's Emirates flagship, valued at around $ 14 billion and $ 16 billion respectively.

Prior to confirming its Airbus order, Air Arabia was reportedly in talks with Boeing recently, two weeks before the show.

The Dubai Aerospace Fair, known for its record mega deals, usually sees fierce competition for deals from rival Airbus and Boeing, which each own about half of the market for large commercial aircraft. But the presence of the US carrier has so far been subdued, lessened by accidents, causing safety concerns and the grounding of its fleet of about 400 aircraft around the world.

The aviation giant fought this year, with new orders all drying up as a result. The parent of British Airways, an International Consolidated Airlines, said during an exhibition in Paris in June that it intended to buy 200 of the 737 Max aircraft, but that goal was not firmly established.

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