DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Airbus on Monday fattened an order for its new A320neo jets and Boeing snagged another customer for its 787 at the Dubai Airshow as Mideast buyers showed they remain bullish despite the uncertain global economy.
The deals -- which followed a record $18 billion airplane order from Dubai airline Emirates the day before -- added ammunition to forecasts from the two major aircraft manufacturers that predicted the region will continue to generate hundreds of billions of dollars in demand for new planes for years to come.
European manufacturer Airbus predicted Monday that the Middle East will require some 1,920 new planes worth more than $347 billion through 2030. It estimates Mideast passenger numbers will rise 6.4 percent annually -- well above the predicted world average increase of 4.8 percent.
Boeing thinks the potential market is even bigger. Its own forecast, released shortly after its rival's, puts Mideast demand at 2,520 planes worth $450 billion by the end of next decade.
Much of the growth is driven by fast-growing Gulf airlines, which have boomed in recent years.
In terms of deals, Airbus scored the biggest prize of the day, boosting an existing commitment from Kuwait's Aviation Lease and Finance Co. for the A320neo to 50 planes. The leasing firm, known as ALAFCO, also took options to buy another 30 of the jets.
The A320neo offers a new engine option and other features designed to use 15 percent less fuel than older models of the single-aisle A320. It is scheduled to enter service in 2015.
Boeing, meanwhile, picked up a new regional customer for its much-hyped 787, which is made in the Seattle area and North Charleston. It and Oman Air said the carrier ordered six Boeing 787-8 aircraft, though the twin-engine planes won't translate into additional business for the plane maker. That's because Oman Air is taking over orders previously placed by ALAFCO.
Each 787-8 costs $193.5 million at list prices.
ALAFCO Chairman Ahmed al-Zabin said the decision to shift the 787 orders to Oman Air represented an extension of the company's view that it is a "strategic partner" for Boeing in the region. It previously announced plans to lease the planes to the Omani carrier.
Long lines of curious spectators have lined up in Dubai to step aboard a 787 display model, which is making its debut at the Mideast airshow.
Qatar Airways is among the regional carriers that have already signed up for the Dreamliner. It has ordered 30 of the planes and has options for 30 more. The carrier is expected to announce additional aircraft orders at this week's show.
Its Dubai-based rival Emirates, the region's biggest carrier, on Sunday placed an unexpectedly large order for 50 more Boeing 777s.
Boeing said the deal, worth $18 billion at list prices, is its biggest-ever single order by value.