Airbus’ A320 Family has a 70 per cent market share in the dynamic Middle East and Gulf market – with the A319, A320 or A321 operated in the fleets of such carriers as Etihad Airways, Gulf Air, Qatar Airways, Saudia, Air Arabia, Egyptair, Nasair and Tunisair.
According to Paul Moultrie, Head of Marketing for Airbus Middle East, key qualities that have made the A320 an undisputed success in the region include its fuselage – which has a seven-inch cross-section advantage over the direct competitor aircraft, providing wider seats for passengers, a larger aisle for boarding and deplaning, and easier movement during flight.
In addition to the A320’s high comfort levels, Moultrie pointed to the jetliner family’s excellent performance in hot and sandy conditions – which are characteristic of the Middle East and Gulf area – as well as its ability to operate from some of the market’s most challenging airports.
Further underscoring the emphasis on aircraft performance, multiple customers in the region have chosen the new engine option (NEO) version that will provide even better performance levels and more operating efficiency for the A319, A320 and A321 through the availability of two new jet engine choices: CFM International’s LEAP-1A and the PurePower PW1100G-JM from Pratt & Whitney; along with the use of Airbus’ large Sharklets wingtip devices.
One of the newest A320neo clients is Libyan Wings, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the Dubai Airshow for four A320neo aircraft, along with three A350-900s. Also at the air show, Etihad Airways placed a firm booking for 26 A321neo and 10 A320neo jetliners (in addition to orders for 40 A350-900s, 10 A350-1000s and one A330-200F).
Other customers in the Middle East and Gulf region that have ordered A320neo aircraft are: Gulf Air, Middle East Airlines, Qatar Airways, Syphax Airlines and Arkia Israeli Airlines.