Saudi Arabian Low-Cost Carrier Cancels 30 737 MAX Orders

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Flyadeal, the budget airline arm of Saudi Arabian Airlines Corp., ordered 30 A320neo jets from Airbus and took options on 20 more, meaning that its entire fleet will consist of planes from that company.

Flyadeal, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian Airlines Corp., said Monday that its order means its fleet will consist of only Airbus A320s. The deal, while subject to final terms and conditions, was considered a major victory for Boeing at the time, given Flyadeal has operated an Airbus fleet.

Critics have blamed Boeing for rushing to build the 737 MAX aircraft and failing to fully disclose potential problems with the 737 MAX flight control software.

B737 Max had been grounded worldwide since this spring after two fatal crashes that killed hundreds. The statement by the airline for the order didn't mention Boeing or the crashes.

The statement did not name Boeing and did not disclose details of the cost, only saying it follows from an agreement signed during the Paris Air Show last month between Airbus and flyadeal's parent company. Moreover, 737 Max 8 jet flies approximately 50 nautical miles, which is significantly more than A320 Neo.

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Boeing has only announced one order for the 737 Max jet since the second crash in March. In the meantime, Emirati carrier flydubai started in April it may order A320neos as replacements for the MAX jets.

Though the deal could have been worth up to $US6 billion for Boeing, the manufacturer had a backlog of over 4,000 Max 737 planes on order.

Boeing is facing cancellation of a lucrative contract with a Saudi airline. "Airbus needs to find ways to increase its production capacity for its A320 line of aircraft, which isn't easy to do".

Boeing has apologized for the loss of lives and recently announced an "initial investment" of $100 million over several years to help families and communities affected by the crashes. Lawyers for victims' families were dismissive of the move.