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Published on : Monday, November 18, 2013
Dubai Airshow took off on Sunday with huge aircraft orders and commitments worth around $141.5 billion for Boeing and Airbus from Gulf carriers, with the US manufacturer well in the lead.The biennial show began brightly for Boeing’s 777X, a long-range wide-bodied airliner featuring lower fuel consumption and composite wings. The new 777 is scheduled to be operational in 2020.
Etihad Airways began the show with an $18.2-billion order for Boeings, including 25 777Xs and one 777-200 freighter, Boeing said. The deal also included an order for 30 787 Dreamliners, making the fast-growing carrier, the largest single customer for the medium-body plane.The Abu Dhabi carrier also announced it was taking an option to buy another 26 aircraft from Boeing. The total value of the order, including engines and options, amounts to $25.2 billion, according to Etihad.
Emirates Airline followed shortly afterwards by placing orders with both the rival US and European manufacturers, in twin deals valued at $99 billion. Of this sum, 80 percent is destined for Boeing’s coffers if commitments are confirmed. The Dubai-based airline ordered 150 777Xs, 35 777-8Xs and 115 of the 777-9X variant.Boeing said the Emirates’ orders were commitments worth $55.6 billion.The Middle East’s largest carrier also boosted the Airbus sales sheet with a firm order for 50 A380 superjumbos worth $20 billion at book value, in the double-decker’s first sale this year.
The order cements the status of Emirates as the single largest operator of the long-haul airliner, its chief Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said.”Emirates has understood from the start the A380’s advantages in terms of efficiency, economics and passenger comfort,” Fabrice Bregier, Airbus chief and president, told the signing ceremony.Airbus also clinched a $19-billion deal with Etihad, which ordered 87 aircraft including 50 extra-wide-body A350 XWBs. Emirates budget sister company also made a commitment to buy up to 100 Boeing single-aisled 737 MAX and 11 Next-Generation Boeing 737-800s, in a deal valued by Boeing at $8.8-billion.
Qatar Airways also chipped in by signing a letter of intent to buy 50 Boeing 777Xs worth $19 billion. The Doha-based airline said it had also ordered five A330 freighters from Airbus, valued at about $1 billion according to list prices.The order was accompanied by an option to add eight airliners, which would put the overall price of the deal at $2.8 billion, chief executive Akbar Al-Baker said.The Qatar Airways chief praised Boeing’s 777 long-haul workhorse as he made a surprise appearance at the joint Emirates-Boeing briefing.
The 13th Dubai Airshow, which runs until Thursday, is being held for the first time at the just opened Al-Maktoum International, the emirate’s second airport and touted to become the world’s biggest when complete.With some 150 aircraft on the tarmac and 1,000 exhibitors, the show cements the Gulf region’s hard-won position as the global hub for 21st century travel, spearheaded by booming airlines whose reach encompasses the world.