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Dubai Airshow sets global order record; Emirates orders aircraft worth $100billion

Al Fursan, the aerobatics demonstration team of the United Arab Emirates Air Force, performs during the Dubai Airshow November 17, 2013. (REUTERS)

Dubai Airshow – the world’s fastest growing aerospace exhibition – opened today for the first time at Dubai World Central, the vast aerotropolis in Jebel Ali - and immediately wrote itself into Airshow history with a record breaking order book.

Click to see gallery of Dubai Air Show 2013: UAE's knights of the sky

Within three hours of opening, the show’s order tally reached $162.6billion – surpassing its previous record of $155billion set in 2007 – with deals coming from Etihad Airways, Emirates airline, flydubai and Qatar Airways.

The opening order salvo came from Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, which announced a deal for 56 new Boeing 777s valued at $25.2 billion at list prices, including related GE engines. The deal also sees Etihad Airways become the launch customer for the 777-8X which is expected to enter service around the end of this decade.

The airline also ordered 30 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners, making Etihad the largest customer for the pioneering composite aircraft.

"We rarely make announcements at air shows, but when we do the world listens," said James Hogan, President and CEO, Etihad Airways.

Meanwhile, Dubai-headquartered Emirates airline rapidly re-wrote the Dubai Airshow record with news of a US$99 billion purchase of Boeing and Airbus planes – which industry experts dubbed the largest-ever aircraft order in civil aviation.

The Emirates headline deal was for 150 Boeing 777X- officially launched the show today; plus 50 purchase rights, and an additional 50 Airbus A380 superjumbos - of which Emirates is currently the largest fleet operator.

The Emirates deal, which was signed by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group and the Presidents of both Boeing and Airbus, was witnessed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

Low-cost airline flydubai weighed in with a $11.4 billion order for 111 Boeing 737s and 738s, and then Qatar Airways topped off the morning’s historic agreements with the signing of a $19-billion letter of intent for 54 Boeing 777s.

The official opening of the show, which runs at Dubai World Central until Thursday (November 21), was carried out by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid accompanied by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Presidential Affairs.

The VIP delegation toured the massive 645,000 square metres airshow site, which includes a single 42,870 square metres exhibition hall - 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. Some 1,055 exhibitors from 60 countries are taking part in the show which is expected to draw a trade visitor intake of 60,000.

Dubai Airshow organisers, F&E Aerospace, is jubilant about its history-making event. Sharief Fahmy, the company’s Chief Executive said: "Well it may have been yet another opening, but it certainly is not just another show. This has been an extraordinary opening morning for an event that has gone beyond expectations.
"If there was anyone left in the aerospace industry who had not recognised the undeniable importance of this region, this morning removed all doubt. We are in the centre of a region with the world’s fastest-growing aviation infrastructure, fastest-growing airlines and a region where security commitments are in focus," he added.

Meanwhile, other key announcements are expected to emanate from the show with His Highness General. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, also visiting on the show’s opening day. The Pakistan delegation confirmed its Air Chief Marshall and Chief of Staff of the Pakistan Air Force are due to arrive for first day talks with leaders of China’s leading aviation investment company, AVIC.

"We do expect to conclude sales here," said Air Cadre Tariq Mahmood, "particularly as we have been promoting our JF-17 Thunder both at the 2011 event and now."

The JF-17 Thunder fighter jet is scheduled for the Dubai Airshow’s daily flying display.

Dubai Airshow is organised under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in co-operation with Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Dubai Airports, Dubai World Central and the UAE Armed Forces.

Dubai Airshow 2013 takes off with $100 billion Emirates aircraft order

Emirates airline has again rewritten all records in civil aviation with an order for 150 Boeing 777X, comprising 35 Boeing 777-8Xs and 115 Boeing 777-9Xs, plus 50 purchase rights; and an additional 50 Airbus A380 aircraft.

Together, the Boeing and Airbus orders, excluding purchase rights, are worth an estimated $99 billion at list prices. This is the largest ever aircraft order in civil aviation and also Emirates’ largest order announced at any event to date.

The agreement was signed on Sunday at the Dubai Airshow by Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, with Jim McNerney, Boeing Chairman, President and CEO, and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus’ President and CEO. The signing was witnessed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

Emirates’ Boeing 777X order is the single largest aircraft order by value in the history of U.S. commercial aviation, and the additional A380 order cements Emirates, already the largest operator of this aircraft type, as the principal customer for the A380 worldwide.

These latest orders bring Emirates’ 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 Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.

“We are honoured by Emirates’ commitment to the newly launched 777X and the significant long term boost this provides to U.S. exports and jobs,” said Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney. 

“Emirates has been an integral part of the 777 success story for many years and today operates the largest fleet of 777s anywhere in the world. We look forward to further strengthening our partnership with Emirates and continuing to support Dubai’s expansion into a global aviation hub.”

“By strategically placing the A380 at the centre of its business, Emirates is maximizing its leading position with each day of operations. Emirates has understood from the start the A380’s 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 Fabrice Brégier, Airbus CEO and President. “We value our partnership with Emirates airline and are pleased to see this getting stronger each day with their A380s flying.”

Emirates’ Boeing 777X

“The announcement today includes the purchase of 300 GE9X engines from General Electric, to power the 150 Boeing 777X aircraft ordered. Taking into account the US Government jobs multiplier (every $1 billion in US aerospace exports supports 5,747 American jobs), today’s historic order will protect and support over 436,000 jobs in U.S. aerospace manufacturing – not only at Boeing and GE facilities, but with hundreds of other suppliers,” said Sheikh Ahmed.

Emirates’ 777-8X and 777-9X will be a combination of two and three-class configurations, with the 777-8X potentially seating 342 passengers in 3 classes, and the 777-9X seating over 440 passengers in 2 classes.

“Emirates today operates more than one in every 10 Boeing 777 aircraft built. It is the workhorse of our fleet. What the 777X does, is offer us a flying range comparable with the 200LRs and 300ERs, but with more passenger capacity at potentially up to 18% more fuel efficiency,” said Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline.

Emirates’ unwavering commitment to the Boeing 777 dates back to 1996. Today, Emirates is already the largest operator of the 777 with 131 in operation, and the only airline to fly all variants in the 777 family. At the 2011 Dubai Air Show, Emirates ordered 50 Boeing 777-300ERs with options for 20 more at a total value of $26 billion (Dh95.4 billion). It was then a record breaking aircraft order– the single largest by any airline with Boeing in dollar value.

Emirates’ Airbus A380s

Emirates currently operates the world’s largest fleet of A380s with 39 in service.

Its order for 50 additional A380 aircraft today brings Emirates’ total A380 order book to 101 aircraft, worth $45 billion.  A combination of two and three-class cabin configuration, the first 25 of these latest A380 aircraft orders are scheduled to be delivered before the first quarter of 2018.

“The A380 continues to be the flagship of our fleet, and after five years in operation it remains highly popular with our passengers,” said Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline.

“It is still one of the most efficient aircraft to operate today in terms of fuel burn and emissions per passenger, and it gives us the flexibility in some cases to meet passenger demand in slot-constrained markets. This latest order will help us meet both fleet expansion and fleet replacement needs.”

Emirates has been associated with Europe’s largest passenger aircraft since April 2000 when it became the first airline to announce plans to purchase the super jumbo. As the largest customer for the A380, Emirates is therefore the largest supporter of European aerospace manufacturing jobs tied to the A380 programme which is spread across Airbus’ manufacturing centres in France, Germany, England and Spain.

Emirates calls upon countries to open up their airports

Emirates has called upon the Western markets to open up their airports towards creating equal opportunity to all players.

Speaking during the press conference at the airshow, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said he expects a great potential in the West and that countries should allow airlines to operate freely.

"We are buying a product from their countries. So why would they not allow us to fly to these airports? If they don’t, they can take their planes back."

Commenting on the A380s, he said one in every three A380 in the air will be part of the Emirates fleet.

According to him the aircraft will provide Emirates with an opportunity to expand and also replace its aging fleet.

"It’s a great aircraft in terms of noise and fuel efficiency," he added.

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