Middle East carriers go on spending spree

Middle Eastern airlines underscored their rapid ascendancy to the forefront of the global aviation market by announcing aircraft orders worth around US$190 billion at the Dubai Airshow.


Middle East carriers go on spending spree


Middle Eastern airlines underscored their rapid ascendancy to the forefront of the global aviation market by announcing aircraft orders worth around US$190 billion at the Dubai Airshow. Emirates, already the world’s biggest operator of the A380, placed an order for 50 more of the doubledecker aircraft, ultimately giving it a total of 140. Emirates also ordered 150 of Boeing’s upcoming B777X.

Production of the twin-aisle, 350 passenger, 8,200 nautical mile B777X is due to begin in 2017, with the first deliveries in 2020. Boeing claims the B777X “will have the lowest operating cost per seat of any commercial airplane”.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, meanwhile, also ordered 25 B777X along with 50 A350s, for delivery from 2020, as well as 30 more B787 Dreamliners, making it the largest customer for the model. The Dubai deal took total orders for the Dreamliner past the 1,000 mark making it the fastest selling wide-bodied aircraft in history, according to Boeing.

Qatar Airways also placed orders for the new B777X, opting for 50 of the aircraft, as well as boosting its freighter fleet with orders for five A330-200F and options for a further eight A330-200F. “Cargo is a strategic part of our business,” said Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways. “The first delivery of the freighters will be made to us next year. It will be two next year, and three soon after that,” he said.