Saudi Arabian budget airline flyadeal announced on Sunday that it will not proceed with a provisional 5.9 billion U.S. dollar order for Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, instead opting for a fleet of Airbus A320 jets, Boeing's direct rival.
The announcement came after two 737 Max aircraft crashes that killed a total of 346 people, triggering the global grounding of the aircraft.
Flyadeal said that it had ordered 30 A320neo aircraft from Airbus with options for a further 20 of the jets. The company said the order would "result in flyadeal operating an all-Airbus A320 fleet in the future."
The order for the A320s was made in June at the Paris Air Show by the carrier's parent company, Saudi Arabian Airlines.
Flyadeal, which has operated leased A320 jets since launching in September 2017, will take delivery of the new Airbus aircraft from 2021.
"We understand that flyadeal will not finalize its commitment to the 737 MAX at this time given the airline's schedule requirements," a Boeing spokesperson said.
There are more signs that the crisis around 737 Max could shift business to European rival Airbus SE. Oman Air warned in June it would hold talks with Airbus if Boeing did not provide support and recovery for the MAX. Meanwhile, Emirati carrier flydubai said in April it could order A320neos as replacements for the MAX jets.
(With input from Reuters)