Kuwait Airways to extend a $2 billion lifeline to Airbus?
Airbus made the news earlier this month when it was revealed that talks between the French plane maker and Emirates Airlines had stalled.
This comes at a crucial time for the French company, as earlier this year they had said that were their deal with Emirates to fail, their company would have to go out of business. Emirates had ordered up to 36 A380 aircraft in a deal worth approximately $16 billion.
Now, Kuwait Airways has signed a deal with Airbus that could help keep the company afloat.
Kuwait Airways to the rescue?
Earlier this week, Kuwait Airways revealed on their Twitter account that they had just secured a deal with Airbus after 5 months of negotiation for 8 A330-800neo airliners. The deal is valued at approximately “$2 billion based on the jet’s list price of $259.9 million,” Forbes reported.
“The A330-800 will seamlessly fit into our fleet expansion and growth plans,” said Kuwait Airways chairman Yousef Al-Jassim. “Our relationship with Airbus extends beyond aircraft acquisitions and we look forward to further collaboration on technical fields.”
The airline will start receiving the planes between March 2019 and 2026.
According to a statement by the airline, they reduced their commitment for the larger A350 from 10 planes to five.
“We are pleased that Kuwait Airways has opted for the A330neo as a cornerstone of its future widebody fleet,” an Airbus spokesperson told Aviation International News (AIN).
“Monday’s purchase agreement with Kuwait Airways for eight A330-800s gives Airbus a badly needed launch customer for the A330neo family’s smaller variant, whose previous initial customer, Hawaiian Airlines, ditched its commitment for six examples in favor of Boeing 787-9s in late February,” AIN reported.
But that’s not all that Kuwait Airways is looking to save Airbus from.
Airbus is fighting external conditions
As mentioned earlier, Airbus is in major trouble, and is pinning all its hopes for survival on the Emirati airline.
Trump’s exit from the Iran nuclear accord also dealt a significant blow to plane makers such as Airbus, as Iranian carriers had reportedly ordered a significant number of aircraft.
Back in May, Bloomberg reported that Airbus had 95 undelivered planes bound for Iran Air in its backlog.
“They include 16 crucial orders for its biggest A350 wide-body and 28 for its yet-to-be-delivered A330neo,” Bloomberg noted. “Another 12 smaller turboprops manufactured by ATR, are still due to be delivered to Iran’s national flag carrier.”