Boeing wins massive $26bn Emirates order
Dubai, November 13, 2011
Dubai-based Emirates airline placed a blockbuster order for 50 Boeing 777 jetliners at the Dubai Air Show on Sunday, underscoring the confidence brimming among fast-growing Gulf airlines despite growing fears over the world economy.
Expanding its role as the world's largest operator of Boeing's most profitable plane, Emirates said the order was worth $26 billion including options to buy 20 more aircraft.
Emirates, which has led efforts by Gulf-based carriers to challenge European and Asian carriers by establishing the region as a major East-West hub, had been expected to place an order of between 30 and 50 aircraft.
'(The) 777 has served Emirates very well in terms of seat costs... especially when we see the fuel price is quite high,' Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said at a press conference, before signing the deal with Boeing representatives as Dubai's Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, looked on.
'The 777's reliability, performance and operating economics have firmly established it as the backbone of our fleet,' said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline & Group. 'We have an ambitious and strategic plan to continue growing our international network and especially increasing our long-haul, non-stop routes. This order supports our fleet expansion and reiterates our commitment to operating a modern fleet for the benefit of our passengers and to ensure operational efficiency as well.'
Gulf airlines and lessors are set to splash out billions on Airbus and Boeing jets at the November 13-17 air show, underscoring the region's role as the industry's chief paymaster amid Europe's worsening sovereign debt crisis.
Emirates said it had adequate financing in place for 2012, and planned no new bond issue. Sheikh Ahmed said the airline would consider a bond if needed and if the time was right, adding 'there is no push.'
Qatar Airways is expected to place a $6.5-billion order for 50 fuel-saving A320neo jets and five A380s from Airbus, and Kuwait lessor Alafco plans to boost a provisional order for 30 Airbus A320neos, industry sources said.
The firm order for 50 planes, with a value of $18 billion, makes it the single largest commercial airplane order in Boeing's history by dollar value. It also makes 2011 the best-selling year for the 777 program, surpassing the previous record of 154 orders set in 2005, Boeing said.
With the Emirates order, the 2011 net order book for the 777 currently stands at 182. The options for 20 additional airplanes is valued at $8 billion.
Emirates is the world's largest 777 operator with a fleet of 94 777s through direct purchase and lease, plus additional unfilled orders on backlog for 41 777-300ERs previously on order. It is also the only airline in the world to operate every model in the Boeing 777 family, including the 777 Freighter.
Emirates took delivery of its first Boeing 777 - a 777-200 in 1996, and since then, the airline has deployed the 777 on short, medium and long-haul routes.
'This is an extremely proud moment for us as it not only underscores Emirates' ongoing confidence in the 777 but also makes this the single largest order by dollar value in Boeing's history,' said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. 'As the largest operator of the 777 in the world, Emirates has played an important role in development of the airplane and its input over the years has been invaluable in the development of the 777 program.'
The Boeing 777 is the world's most successful twin-engine, long-haul airplane. The 777-300ER extends the 777 family's span of capabilities, bringing twin-engine efficiency and reliability to the long-range market. The airplane carries 365 passengers up to 7,930 nautical miles (14,685 km).
Boeing incorporated several performance enhancements for the 777-300ER, extending its range and payload capabilities. Excellent performance during flight testing, combined with engine efficiency improvements and design changes that reduce drag and airplane weight, contributed to the increased capability. - Reuters and TradeArabia News Service