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Emirates announced $26 billion worth of orders at the show


Dubai’s upbeat air show Cleared for landing


Last month’s aviation fair surprised the world with a spritely book of orders from Gulf airlines. TExT By pETER shaw-sMiTh


W


HILE THE SUBDUED global macro-economic outlook is giving


many international businesses cause for concern, clearly no one has told Emirates or the powers that be in Dubai about the scale of the downturn. At press time, orders totalling $63 billion were announced at Dubai Air Show 2011, underlining the extent of the regional aviation boom, and making the event a much bigger success in financial and order-book terms than that of 2009.


34 / DECEMBER 2011


In Dubai Air Show 2011’s headline, HH Sheikh Ahmed, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline, announced a Day One order for 50 Boeing 777-300 ERs worth a list price $18 billion, with options on 20 more, worth $8 billion, for a total of $26 billion. This was the biggest single order in the history of the American manufacturer and a boost after its travails with the 787 Dreamliner. “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 programme,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. In addition to the 50 777-300 ERs


ordered, Emirates has 73 Airbus A380s,


70 Airbus A350s, 40 777-300 ERs and six Boeing freighters on order, for a total of 239 wide-body aircraft worth more than $92 billion. However, Emirates was coy about the timing and financing of the Boeing 777 orders, which will likely be spread out over the next decade. Sheikh Ahmed called the 777 “the backbone” of the Emirates fleet, but of the total global A380 fleet of 60 delivered and 243 on order, Emirates has 16 in service and 74 on order, making it easily the largest operator of the superjumbo. It is not difficult to envisage the threat level perceived by the world’s leading Western airlines from the formidable power Emirates has gained by its access to two of the globe’s most potent aircraft.


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