$196b and still counting
Exuberant Gulf carriers celebrated the opening day of the Dubai Airshow with blockbuster deals worth a combined $196 billion, with Dubai’s iconic airline Emirates re-writing civil aviation history again by placing orders worth $99 billion.
Shaikh Mohammed visiting the airshow after inaugurating it at Dubai World Central. — KT photo by Shihab
The world’s fastest growing aerospace exhibition debuted at its purpose-built new venue at the sprawling Dubai World Central with Etihad Airways first announcing new deals worth $67 billion. These include $25.2 billion orders for 56 new Boeing 777s and GE engines as well as for 30 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners.
Etihad’s deals were followed by the largest-ever aircraft purchase in civil aviation history when Emirates announced astounding orders for 150 Boeing 777X- plus 50 purchase rights, and an additional 50 Airbus A380 super-jumbos of which the Dubai-based carrier is currently the largest fleet operator.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, witnessed as Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Group, and the presidents of both Boeing and Airbus — Jim McNerney and Fabrice Brégie — inked the epoch-making deals.
Dubai’s fast growing low-cost airline flyDubai joined the opening day excitements with a $11.4 billion order for 111 Boeing 737s. Qatar Airways was next in line to take the one-day order tally to record new high with a $19 billion letter of intent for 54 Boeing 777s.
The opening day’s unprecedented order value far surpassed previous record of $155 billion set in 2007.
Shaikh Mohammed, accompanied by Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, formally inaugurated the five-day show featuring some 1,055 exhibitors from 60 countries.
Following the opening of the spectacular show, Shaikh Mohammed and other VIP visitors toured the expansive 645,000 square-metre airshow site, which includes a single 42,870 square-metre exhibition hall that is about the size of seven American football fields and a third bigger than the three halls in the show’s previous Dubai Airport Expo home.
The Emirates deals, the largest ever single-day aircraft orders in civil aviation, take the carrier’s total firm order book to 385 aircraft (excluding options or purchase rights), comprising 214 Boeing 777s, 101 Airbus A380s and 70 A350s, at a total estimated value of $166 billion.
“Air transport is a key enabler of world trade, and we see that demand for aviation services will continue to grow globally. What we’re announcing today is a continuation of our commitment and vision to connect the world through our efficient hub in the Middle East. Emirates’ aircraft orders today, with deliveries of the 777X scheduled to start in 2020, will take us to 2025 and beyond — replacing aircraft due for retirement and providing the foundation for future growth,” said Shaikh Ahmed. “We are honoured by Emirates’ commitment to the newly launched 777X and the significant long term boost this provides to US exports and jobs,” said McNerney.
“By strategically placing the A380 at the centre of its business, Emirates is maximising its leading position with each day of operations. Emirates has understood from the start the A380s advantages in terms of efficiency, economics and passenger comfort. It has been a true crowd-puller and contributor to the rapid development of Emirates and its Dubai hub,” said Brégier.
Following Sunday’s $67 billion orders, Etihad Airways will now become the single largest airline customer for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with the 30 aircraft in this order being added to 41 announced in previous orders. It will also become a launch customer for the Boeing 777-8X aircraft. Etihad announced firm orders at the Dubai Air Show for 87 Airbus and 56 Boeing aircraft, with a further 56 options and purchase rights. The new aircraft will be powered by 127 GE Aviation, 115 Rolls-Royce and 52 CFM engines.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline said it would now have a capability to redirect orders to members of its equity alliance, the airlines in key markets around the world in which it holds minority shareholdings.
The order, for 25 next-generation Boeing 777X aircraft, 30 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners, one Boeing 777 freighter, 50 Airbus A350 XWB, 36 Airbus A320neo family aircraft and one Airbus A330-200F, will see passenger aircraft deliveries start in 2018.
Etihad currently has a fleet of 86 aircraft, with more than 80 on firm order. Its last major aircraft deal was made at the Farnborough Air Show in 2008, where they announced firm orders for 100 aircraft, in a long-term order which was at the time one of the largest in commercial aviation history. The value of the 2008 and 2013 orders, including engines, tops $110 billion at list prices.
James Hogan, president and chief executive officer of Etihad Airways, said: “Ten years ago this month, we celebrated our inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi using an Airbus A330.
“A decade later, we have grown into one of the world’s leading airlines and the importance of Airbus to our fast-growing operations has never been stronger. We have more than 60 Airbus aircraft in our fleet today, and this latest order is testament to the continued strength of our partnership.
“As one of the first airlines set to receive the much-awaited Airbus A350-1000, we look forward to benefiting from its operational efficiencies and cost savings.”
Qatar Airways has placed a firm order for five new Airbus A330-200 Freighter aircraft in an agreement signed at the Dubai Airshow. These new aircraft will complement the airline’s rapidly growing network, which includes more than 40 routes that have dedicated freighter services. Included in the order are eight additional A330-200F options — which would make today’s deal potentially worth over $2.8 billion at list prices for a total of 13 aircraft.