Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways have placed combined orders for almost 500 new aircraft.
The three Gulf aviation giants have cemented their places among the world’s fastest growing carriers with firm agreements to buy 391 passenger aircraft, in deals estimated to worth a combined US$120 billion at list prices. Including options, the airlines’ joint order book rises to 497 aircraft.
Of the three carriers however, it is Emirates that has once again stolen the headlines. The Dubai-based airline has placed a world record-breaking deal for 200 wide-body aircraft, including 115 Boeing 777-9Xs, 35 B777-8Xs and 50 more Airbus A380s. The B777-X is the new fuel-efficient version of the popular B777 series that Boeing expects to introduce before the end of the decade. In addition to these firm orders, Emirates has options for a further 50 B777-Xs.
“Emirates’ aircraft orders today, with deliveries of the 777-X 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 HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates’ chairman & CEO.
Etihad Airways meanwhile, has placed firm orders for 141 new aircraft, with options for a further 56. Like Emirates, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier has opted for the B777-X, ordering 17 B777-9Xs and eight B777-8Xs. It has also decided to buy more Dreamliners, placing orders for 30 B787-10s, in addition to the 41 B787-9s it already has on order.
Etihad has also decided to buy a mix of single- and twin-aisle Airbus jets, with orders for 40 A350-900s, 10 A350-1000s, 26 A321neos and 10 A320neos. The new narrow-body jets is likely to help the airline expand its new Etihad Regional business, the launch of which was announced yesterday following the purchase of a 33.3% stake in Switzerland’s Darwin Airline.
“Ten years ago this month, we celebrated our inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi using an Airbus A330. A decade later, we have grown into one of the world’s leading airlines and the importance of Airbus to our fast-growing operations has never been stronger. We have more than 60 Airbus aircraft in our fleet today, and this latest order is testament to the continued strength of our partnership,” said James Hogan, Etihad’s president & CEO.
“As one of the first airlines set to receive the much-awaited Airbus A350-1000, we look forward to benefiting from its operational efficiencies and cost savings,” he added.
Finally, Qatar Airways has signed a letter of intent with Boeing for 50 B777-Xs, marking the airline’s first order for the new aircraft.
Between them, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways currently operate a combined fleet of approximately 400 aircraft, but this is expected to expand to more than 1,200 aircraft in the coming years. All the latest orders were announced at the Dubai Air Show.