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Wide-Body Aircraft Demand Is Reviving As The Boeing 787 Returns To The Fray

Wide-Body Aircraft Demand Is Reviving As The Boeing 787 Returns To The Fray
Boeing Co.'s 787 Dreamliner has returned to the global market for freshly delivered aircraft at a time when demand for wide-body jetliners is gradually reviving after a lengthy decline.
On Wednesday, Boeing delivered its first Dreamliner since May 2021, marking a key milestone for the company following production issues with its wide-body jet. Boeing must now go through laborious regulatory procedures in order to deliver more 787s, while also reducing a backlog of around 120 stored jets outside its plants.
Analysts argue that after years of a market surplus, there is increased speculation of demand for such jets.
From East Asia to the Gulf, several airlines are renewing their wide-body fleets. Several airlines are renewing their wide-body fleets from East Asia to the Gulf.
Saudi Arabia is negotiating a potentially major order for wide-body jets, according to three industry sources, however talks have stalled for several years without a deal being announced, and a decision may be some time away.
However, with Riyadh investing in tourism and aviation as part of its Vision 2030 plan to diversify the economy, one source familiar with the situation projected a decision "sooner rather than later," with the Boeing 787 and 777X potentially in the mix.
Taiwan's government-backed China Airlines is considering alternatives for renewing a fleet of 22 Airbus A330 jets in a race between the 787 and the A330neo.
Malaysia Airlines is set to announce a deal on Monday to buy 20 A330neo wide-body planes, about half of which will be purchased directly from Airbus (AIR.PA). 
"I firmly believe that as borders fully reopen, we will see the same rebound in international travel that we saw in the domestic markets," Aengus Kelly, chief executive of AerCap, the world's largest leasing firm, said on Thursday.
"Given the level of inquiry and demand we are seeing for wide-body aircraft, it is clear that the airlines are also convinced of this."
Although international travel has increased since the beginning of the year, the International Air Transport Association says it still has a long way to go before reaching pre-pandemic levels.
"What we're seeing right now is definitely a recovery that's taking hold in certain international markets," Ihssane Mounir, Boeing's senior vice-president of commercial sales and marketing, said after last month's Farnborough Airshow.
"The transatlantic is live and doing well," Mounir told reporters. "You're seeing very robust demand between Europe and the U.S. and ... between the Middle East and Europe and U.S. So folks are sticking their heads above water again and ... making plans."

Part of the uptick in demand stems from manufacturer delays, as well as greater regulatory scrutiny in the aftermath of the current Boeing 737 MAX safety problem. more info
Boeing's big twin-engined 777X has been delayed until 2025, five years later than initially intended, while deliveries of the 787 have been halted for a year.
"There is a real rebound in demand for wide-bodies, but availability is short because of manufacturing and development delays. Therefore it is not yet back to pre-COVID levels," said independent aviation adviser Bertrand Grabowski.
"The 777X is late and the programme has its own problems and the 787 availability has been patchy," he added.
To make matters worse, Airbus is experiencing supply-chain issues.
"The jury is out on whether Airbus will manage to reach their delivery target for the A350," Grabowski added.
China, according to industry officials, is still keeping markets guessing and may be the most important piece of the demand jigsaw.
Many saw the door to a substantial Boeing wide-body order remaining open after the last big Chinese order in July, which focused solely on smaller narrow-body planes, went to Airbus.
In September, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo stated that the Chinese government was stopping its domestic airlines from purchasing Boeing jets worth "tens of billions of dollars." According to economists, China has been effectively off the market for five years, with demand impeded first by trade tensions and then by the pandemic.
Potential trade with iconic US corporations has now been dragged into the controversy surrounding US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, as well as Chinese military drills near the China-claimed self-ruled island.
Reduced air travel while millions stay stranded is also a pressure on demand, according to Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor of FlightGlobal, last week.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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