Emirates Airlines launched the Dubai Airshow today with a record $US18-billion order for 50 Boeing 777s, giving the US company a flying start on its European rival Airbus at the prestigious event.
Boeing’s European rival, Airbus, is at the same time expected to receive a new order from Qatar Airways, according to industry sources.
But the Dubai-based Emirates ensured the biennial aviation gathering kicked off with fanfare, announcing the order for 50 Boeing 777-300ERs in a deal that brings the long-haul carrier’s order list to 90.
“Emirates has placed an order for an additional 50 Boeing 777-300ER” planes, in addition to 20 Boeing 777-300ER as an option, Emirates chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum told reporters.
“This order represents a milestone. It is the single largest dollar-value order in Boeing’s history,” the head of the largest carrier in the Middle East said at the signing ceremony.
Sheikh Ahmed put the total value of the firm order and options at $26 billion. The new order alone dwarfs the value of orders announced at the last edition of the show in 2009, which stood at just over $14 billion, when the global financial crisis hit the aviation industry.
Manufacturers had chalked up orders for aircraft worth a whopping $155.5 billion at the 2007 edition of the show. Last year, Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing carriers, placed an order for 30 Boeing 777 planes worth $9.1 billion at the Farnborough Airshow in the UK. The airline is the largest single operator of the twin-engined 777 planes with 95 units in service.
Sheikh Ahmed said the new order affirms Emirates’ strategy to “expand our long haul destinations and continue to excel as a world leading carrier, connecting the world to Dubai and beyond.”
Emirates has a fleet of 162 wide-bodied aircraft serving 115 destinations in 67 countries. In addition to its orders from Boeing, Emirates has 73 Airbus A380 superjumbos on order, as well as 70 Airbus A350s. The carrier is the largest single customer of Airbus’ long-haul airliner A380 with a purchase list of 90 units.
In other commercial aviation deals, Kuwait-based Alafco Aviation lease and finance company is expected to confirm an earlier order for 30 units of Airbus’ A320neo, industry sources said. The company which provides leasing compliant with Islamic sharia law might order more aircraft, the sources added.
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