Employees of the FlyAdeal airline take selfies at the company's launch ceremony in Saudi Arabia's King Abdulaziz airport in August 2017.
  • Saudi Arabian airline Flyadeal has cancelled an order for almost R85 billion worth of Boeing 737 Max planes as the crisis with the jet continues.
  • Flyadeal announced that it will order up to 50 planes from Airbus' A320neo family, turning to the Max's rival plane to give it an all-Airbus fleet.
  • Other airlines are demanding compensation from Boeing as the jet remains grounded after two fatal crashes, and customers are also expressing fears about flying on the plane.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

An airline dropped a $6 billion (R85 billion) order for Boeing's embattled 737 Max planes, turning to European rival Airbus instead to grow its fleet as the crisis with the aircraft continues.

Saudi Arabian airline Flyadeal reversed its plans to buy 50 of the 737 Max jets, announcing on Sunday that it will order up to 50 planes from Airbus' A320neo family - the Max's rival.

It said its parent company, Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation, made the deal at the Paris Air Show in June, and that the allocation of the planes to Flyadeal will mean that the airline has an all-Airbus fleet.

Boeing had announced in December that the airline had committed to buying up to 50 Boeing 737 Max jets - a deal worth up to $5.9 billion (R83 billion) at list price. Boeing said at the time: "While Flyadeal has been operating new Airbus A320s, the airline says it has selected the 737 MAX for the future."

An Airbus A320neo jet.

A Boeing spokesperson told CNN that it wishes "the Flyadeal team well as it builds out its operations."

"Our team continues to focus on safely returning the 737 Max to service and resuming deliveries of Max airplanes."

Boeing is facing a confidence crisis in its 737 Max plane after two fatal crashes killed 346 people, leaving the planes grounded around the world and airlines looking for compensation.

Customers have also expressed fears about the plane - a June poll found that 41% of Americans wouldn't consider flying on the plane until it had been safely back in service for at least six months.

Boeing's woes have been compounded after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found another issue with the plane that could further delay its return to service.

Some American airlines said that they will allow passengers to re-book flights scheduled to be on 737 Max planes free of charge when the plane returns after it is recertified by the FAA and other global regulators.

The aftermath of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max crash.
Xinhua/ via Getty Images

Flyadeal's order cancellation is not the first for the 737 Max since the crashes. Indonesian airline Garuda has also canceled an order for billions worth of Max planes, saying that its customers have "lost confidence to fly" in the plane.

Many airlines have dealt with the crisis by looking for some form of compensation from Boeing.

Boeing has only announced one order for the 737 Max jet since the second crash in March. It announced in June that IAG, the parent company of European airlines like British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Iberia, placed an order for 200 jets.

The deal is worth around $24 billion (R341 billion) at list price, though it is likely that Boeing offered some sort of discount on these planes, or on other plane orders, in light of the crisis.

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