After a record-breaking batch of orders at the last Dubai Airshow in 2013, this year the big airlines have decided to hold off on adding to their order books, sparking some concern over the longer-term health of the industry.
No major jetliner deals were announced by any of the major Gulf carriers on the first day of this year's event, bringing the old rivalry between Airbus and Boeing back into focus once again.
But chief executive of European aircraft manufacturer Airbus talked up the "battle" between the group and its U.S. rival, adding that the fall-off in orders was not a sign for concern for the broader industry as airlines are making more money than ever before.
"Well I don't expect a big announcement this year, but just remind you that two years ago we got to 160 orders During the Dubai Airshow so I think the Middle East carriers have a huge order book and we have started to deliver it, especially on the A350 to Qatar airways," Fabrice Brégier told CNBC at the Dubai Airshow.
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"However, globally the situation is extremely good. The airlines have never been so profitable. And as of today I think we have 899 firm orders in the backlog for this year," he said.
Two years ago both Boeing and Airbus both clocked up record orders at Dubai after the show's order tally broke records, surpassing $160 billion.
This year, as airlines have started to consider the emergence of Chinese aircraft manufacturers, Bregier said both Airbus and Boeing were upping their games in terms of innovation.
"I think the battle between Boeing and Airbus is extremely tough, we are innovating a lot, we have been leading this single aisle market with the A320 neo we have a 60 percent of market share," he said.
"We are very conscious that in the long run there will be other top players, but so far I think we manage pretty well, continuing to innovate, not remaining complacent to remain the top company for the years to come," he added.
In a further attempt to ease fears about the longer-term health of the industry, Boeing predicted that airlines in the Middle East will require some 3,180 new airplanes over the next 20 years, as air traffic in the region continues to boom.ahead of this year's event.
The world's largest planemaker, based on the number of deliveries, said demand for new aircraft would be driven by rapid fleet expansion from Gulf carriers, adding the industry is expected to be worth around $730 billion by 2035.
Airline demand for single-aisle airplanes or narrow-body aircraft such as the Airbus A320 or the Boeing 737 are predicted to see the most growth, with new deliveries expecting to reach over 1400 new planes, according to Boeing.
"Traffic growth in the Middle East continues to grow at a healthy rate and is expected to grow 6.2 percent annually during the next 20 years," said Vice President of Marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Randy Tinseth, in a statement last week.
On Monday morning, Boeing signed an order for 75 single-aisle 737 Max 8 planes with India's Jet Airways.
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