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Orders to make history
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 17 - 11 - 2011

Two Arab Gulf airlines have rewarded Boeing and Airbus new orders that would certainly help making their history in commercial aircraft manufacturing
To mark the 12 edition of Dubai airshow this week, Emirates Airlines made a surprising order which stunned air transport business; ordering 50 Boeing 777-300ERs. The order is seen as the single largest airplane order in Boeing history and breaks the record for most 777s ordered in a single year.
The order is joined with plus options for an additional 20 of the popular twin-aisle commercial jetliner.
Valued at $18 billion, the historic order 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 option for 20 additional airplanes is valued at $8 billion.
"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 of B777s through direct purchase and lease, plus additional unfilled orders on backlog for 41 777-300ERs previously on order. It is also the only airline in the world to operate every model in the Boeing 777 family, including the 777 Freighter.
Emirates took delivery of its first Boeing 777 �ê" a 777-200 in 1996, and since then, the airline has deployed the 777 on short, medium and long-haul routes.
"This is an extremely proud moment for us as it not only underscores Emirates' ongoing confidence in the 777 but also makes this the single largest order by dollar value in Boeing's history," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "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."
But Boeing's rival, Airbus, so far, has come out with a satisfying order from Emirates' rival, Qatar Airways, another Arab Gulf airliners which has jumped to compete strongly in the ME region. Qatar Airways announced a deal with European aircraft manufacturer Airbus to acquire 88 narrow-and wide-body aircraft.
The agreement is for 50 of Airbus' new generation A320neo airplanes with a further 30 on option, together with five additional A380s super jumbos and three on option.
The A320neo aircraft are designed to operate quieter with lower operating costs, fly further and carry heavier payloads with less emission than current single aisle aircraft.
The five new A380s will double the number of the airline's super jumbos already in the delivery pipeline, taking firm orders up to 10 aircraft. Deliveries are due to begin in 2013.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker highlighted the order as, together with previous orders for the A350 extra wide body aircraft and new orders for additional A380s, a continuing investment in an integrated Family of the world's most modern and fuel efficient aircraft.
The A320neo single aisle jet will be fitted with engines, which Airbus estimates will offer 15 per cent fuel savings, and emit 3,600 tonnes less carbon dioxide per aircraft every year. The A320neo will belong to the A320 Family of aircraft, of which Qatar Airways currently operates 38 in its fleet with a further nine pending delivery. Of the 50 firm A320neo aircraft on order, 30 are A320s, 14 are A321s and six are A319s.
"Qatar Airways supported the development of the Airbus A320neo very early on. It is with great pride that we are announcing this large order today, including additional Airbus A380s. We have built up a strong relationship with our friends at Qatar Airways over the years, and today this partnership is stronger than ever," said Airbus Chief Operating Officer (Customers) John Leahy.
The airline's Airbus fleet is made up of 74 aircraft comprising A340s, A330s, A300 freighters and A320 Family aircraft. Aside from the A380s and A320 Family aircraft pending delivery, Qatar Airways is the world's largest customer of 80 of the new generation A350s.
By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve over 120 destinations worldwide with a fleet of more than 120 aircraft.


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