Flight Friday: The Airlines Making The Biggest Moves At Dubai Airshow

Credit: Emirates

With the fallout of orders from the recent Dubai Airshow, this week's Flight Friday looks at those operators who ordered more than 30 aircraft at the show.

Emirates ordered 110 aircraft at the show (35 Boeing 777-8s, 55 777-9s, five 787s, and 15 Airbus A350-900s), and in terms of equivalent 2019 monthly utilization, Emirates in October 2023 was operating a little over 90% of October 2019 flights. With their business model of connecting the globe, it has taken time for Emirates to return to 2019 levels as international travel demand was depressed post-pandemic..

SunExpress placed orders with Boeing for 45 MAX aircraft, with a further five on option. Since April 2022, SunExpress has consistently been above equivalent 2019 utilization. The Turkish market, as a whole, has rebounded well post-pandemic. With the favorable exchange rate for tourists, Turkey has been an affordable vacation destination for many visitors, which require flights in/out of the country.

Ethiopian come next in the list having ordered 31 Boeing aircraft (20 737-8s and 11 787-9s) and placing options for another 36 Boeing aircraft. Ethiopian’s utilization returned to consistent equivalent 2019 utilization at the beginning of 2021 and has continued to grow. In October 2023, it operated 85% more flights than in October 2019. Whilst the number is high, in October 2019, Ethiopian were still feeling the effects of the MAX grounding that occurred in the previous March, so it is a little difficult to truly compare numbers.

AirBaltic ordered 30 A220s and flydubai ordered 30 737-9s. AirBaltic—which has been affected by some of the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan (GTF) engine issues, alongside operating flights for other operators—returned to 2019 levels as of April 2023. Flydubai have been at equivalent 2019 levels or above since the end of the 2022 first quarter.

This data was put together using Aviation Week’s Tracked Aircraft Utilization tool.

Daniel Williams

Based in the UK, Daniel is the Manager of Fleet, Flight and Forecast data for Aviation Week Network. Prior to joining Aviation Week in 2017, Daniel held a number of industry positions analyzing fleet data.


Flight Friday is compiled using data from Aviation Week Intelligence Network’s (AWIN) Tracked Aircraft Utilization module, the most comprehensive and accurate solution for global tracking of aircraft utilization. 

Based on recorded flight movements from ADS-B data, combined with AWIN’s robust fleet intelligence, users gain insight into the aircraft’s actual versus reported movement, down to the tail number. This unique solution provides users a more up-to-date and comprehensive analysis of aircraft utilization.