Top Boeing exec says 2023 will be the ‘year of widebody orders’ with more deals to come

A Boeing 777x is displayed during the International Paris Air Show at the ParisLe Bourget Airport, on June 20, 2023.
Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt | AFP | Getty Images

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal says 2023 has been a year of orders for widebody aircraft with the U.S. manufacturer expecting to announce more deals at this week’s Dubai Airshow.

His comments come after reports that Boeing and Emirates are close to agreeing a major order of 777 jets, adding to the Emirati flag carrier’s existing order backlog of 155 777X aircraft from Boeing.

“We’ve seen strong recovery in the narrow-body ordering in 2022 and now in 2023 it seems to be the year of widebody orders, and I suspect as you see this show unfold, you’re going to see many more widebody orders for the industry,” Deal, who is also the executive vice president of Boeing, told CNBC’s Dan Murphy.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabian flag carrier Saudia and the newly-established Riyadh Air each logged orders for 39 of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner jets, and Deal believes demand from the Gulf will continue to grow rapidly.

The Dubai Airshow kicked off on Monday, and Deal confirmed that active discussions are underway with a number of Gulf carriers.

“This is a very unique region in the geography that it represents. Within an eight-hour flight, you are able to get to 80% of the world’s population, and we forecast over the next 20 years about 3,000 aircraft will be needed in this region,” Deal said.

“This region tends to skew towards widebody order demand — that’s been the hallmark characteristic because they are connected worlds — so in orders you’ve seen last year from Saudia and Riyadh Air ordering 787s, that was kind of the start point of what appears to be an order period for us now.”