At the Paris show it was all Airbus all the time. The Dubai show may see more Airbus news but they won’t top Boeing’s huge order. Boeing is having a great show so far. Starting with an order unlikely to be topped any time soon, Emirates provided Boeing with an order that could reach $26bn. With 41 777s to be delivered, Emirates went and bought another 50 firm and 20 options. To say this is an endorsement for Boeing’s 777 is an understatement. Emirates is the largest 777 operator with 95 in service already.
Emirates chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said this order affirms Emirates’ strategy to “expand our long haul destinations and continue to excel as a world leading carrier, connecting the world to Dubai and beyond.” Observers have noted that the airline has used its fleet of 777s to develop new routes across the globe. Once the routes are established, they move to “daily double” 777s and then bring in the A380. With the largest number of A380s on order, Emirates is able to cover the world with service. But even though the A380 is the flagship, the airline’s network is built on the back of the 777. Boeing‘s 777 is having a tremendous year – it was so before the show and after this show it is probably a year that Boeing could not expect to beat any time soon.
Boeing is bullish on the Middle East – it forecasts aircraft demand at some $450bn through 2030. This means an expected 160% growth in regional fleets. Regional airlines customers account for a large share of Boeing’s twin-aisle backlog, including 26% of the 777s and 15% of the 787s. To underscore Boeing’s broad customer base, key airlines in the region stepped up to buy new planes. Qatar took two more 777Fs and Oman ordered six 787s (picture).
As if Boeing’s commercial business were not enough, the company also entered the UAE’s air force competition with F-18s and F-15s and also introduced the V-22 to the region with high hopes for sales in the market.
To top off the Dubai show all Boeing would need to do is announce one of the region’s airlines as a MAX customer. But, as of this writing, key target FlyDubai has said nothing, although they are clearly may be among the unnamed customers for the 700 commitments Boeing has spoken of.