The seemingly unstoppable expansion of Gulf airlines continued this weekend at the Dubai Airshow, where some of the region’s leading firms placed colossal orders for new aircrafts. It proved a hugely successful weekend for both US manufacturer Boeing and Europe’s Airbus, who each secured large orders from the likes of Etihad Airways, Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways.
Boeing led the way after Emirates placed an order for 150 of its new 777 mini-jumbo jets, in a deal worth $76bn. It also secured 109 orders from Qatar Airways, Etihad and German airline Lufthansa, taking its entire sales from the air show to $95bn. The new aircraft, previously dubbed the 777X, is due to enter operation in 2020. Responding to the news of the 777 sales, Boeing chairman James McNerney described it as “astounding.”
European manufacturer Airbus, meanwhile, has recently struggled to secure orders for its A380 superjumbos, which is the world’s largest commercial aircraft. However, Emirates placed an order for 50 of the aircraft at a value of $23bn, adding to their existing fleet.
Fabric Bregier, Airbus chief and president, told reporters after the signing of the deal, “Emirates has understood from the start the A380’s advantages in terms of efficiency, economics and passenger comfort.”
Airbus also confirmed orders from Etihad worth $19bn for 87 of their jets. The European manufacturer has faced difficulties in recent months over faults to its A380 jets, and some governments of the countries it operates in have raised concerns that the lacklustre sales would cause massive job cuts.
However, British Prime Minister David Cameron, who attended the Dubai Airshow, welcomed the news of the sales, which Airbus said would protect around 2,500 jobs in the country. “This is a great day for the British aerospace industry,” said Cameron.