Boeing’s CEO says Gulf companies have placed orders for at least 225 of its new long-haul 777X planes, in what he called the biggest purchase of a planned aircraft in airline history.
The orders announced last Sunday kicked off the Dubai Airshow, which has also brought major deals for Boeing rival Airbus with its A380.
Boeing said it received orders for 150 777X planes from Dubai-based Emirates, 50 from Qatar Airways and 25 from Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways. No total price tag was announced, but it is believed to exceed $100 billion.
The planned 777X is a bigger and more fuel-efficient upgrade of its 777 line. Boeing also inked deals for 30 of its 787-10 Dreamliners and 111 737 models.
Abu Dhabi’s fast-expanding carrier Etihad Airways said last Sunday that it will add at least 56 new Boeing planes in a $25.2 billion order that kicked off the Middle East’s main aviation fair that is expected to bring a host of major deals by Gulf airlines.
The five-day Dubai Airshow is seen as an increasingly important barometer on the state of the industry and the rising roles of the big-spending Gulf carriers Etihad, Qatar Airways and Dubai-based Emirates as they compete for routes and critical stopover traffic between Asia and Europe and the Americas.
The Etihad contract includes 30 787-10 Dreamliners and 25 of Boeing’s popular new 777X airplanes.
The additional aircraft will be used for cargo service.
The deal is an important nod of support for the Dreamliner, which has suffered groundings over battery problems. It also marks the first order for the next generation 777X, which is expected to be in service by the end of the decade.
Boeing’s wide-body 777X is meant to compete with the new Airbus A350 on long-haul routes.
The airshow also gave Dubai a chance to display its huge new airport south of the city, which officially opened last month but is still under construction in some areas.