As part of its largest commercial airplane order to date, worth £11.3bn, Boeing will manufacture 50 Boeing 777-300 Extended Range for Emirates Airline. The deal also includes the option for an additional 20 of the twin-aisle jetliners.
This is the single largest commercial airplane order in Boeing’s history by dollar value. It also makes 2011 the best-selling year for the 777 programme, surpassing the previous record of 154 orders set in 2005. With the Emirates order, the 2011 net order book for the 777 currently stands at 182.
“The 777’s reliability, performance and operating economics have firmly established it as the backbone of our fleet,” said His Highness 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.”
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.
Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, commented: “As the largest operator of the 777 in the world, Emirates’ input over the years has been invaluable in the development of the 777 programme.”
The airplane maker projects that airlines in the Middle East will need an estimated 2,520 airplanes worth $450bn by 2030. The forecast comes as the region’s carriers continue to surpass global air traffic and capacity growth rates.
Boeing estimates that the Middle East’s fleet of passenger airplanes will grow from a current fleet of 1,040 airplanes to a projected 2,710 airplanes, an increase of 160%. Sixty-six percent of these will be part of fleet expansion plans as the region’s airlines gear up for significant growth over the next two decades.
“The Middle East has seen an unprecedented growth in capacity over the past 10 years and every indication points to a further, significantly large increase over the next 20 years,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing Commercial.
“The collective capacity of three airlines, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, has grown by an average of 23% annually over the past decade and we expect this trend to continue well into the future. All three airlines base their growth strategies on the principle that newer, more efficient airplanes will provide a competitive advantage over their rivals from Europe and Asia.”