As rivalry heats up to secure a lower supply of long-haul aircraft and expect an increase in international travel, Dubai airlines challenged potential regional rivals on Monday, ordering more than $50 billion of Boeing jets. Emirates and its subsidiary, flyDubai, are state-owned airlines. At the opening of the Dubai Airshow, they both placed an order for 125 Boeing wide-body aircraft.
Emirates’ order included 55 B777Xs with 400 seats, known as the 777-9s and 35 777-8s, and five more 787 Dreamliners.
While flyDubai will make a significant move to widebody aircraft by ordering 30 B787 Dreamliners long-haul aircraft.
“Together, these orders represent significant investments that reflect Dubai’s commitment to the future of aviation,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates and flyDubai.
The aviation and tourist industries are crucial to Dubai’s economy, which does not have the oil wealth of many of its neighbours. Over the next decade, the government intends to double the size of the economy.
Officials in the airline industry said the orders raised the stakes in airline competition as Saudi Arabia expands its fleet and airlines in Turkey and India create plans to divert more connecting traffic away from the Gulf.
As part of the arrangement, Emirates will change its 787s and 777-9s deal.
The Dubai-based operator had previously committed to 40 787-10s before renegotiating the arrangement to accept 30 787-9s instead.
However, Al Maktoum says the airline will have 35 787s, 15 787-10s (reversing its former decision to purchase the biggest variant) and 20 787-8s (the smallest model).
As a result, he said, Emirates will have 295 widebody aircraft on order, including 205 777Xs. The airline has agreed to purchase 202 more General Electric GE9X engines to power the 777Xs.
Al Maktoum says the 777 is “at the heart of Emirates’ strategy to connect cities on all continents” from Dubai.
Boeing Commercial Aeroplanes Chief Stan Deal says that the agreement extends the 777X program and that the 787 is an “important element” of the total package.
Flydubai will step up to widebody jets with a deal for 787-9s
The decision by Emirates and Flydubai to host a combined event indicates the depth of the relationship between the two airlines, which includes a comprehensive codeshare and cooperation arrangement.
Flydubai is significantly upgrading from its former fleet of 737s by agreeing to purchase 30 787-9s.
The airline debuted in 2008 when it signed on to operate and committed to accepting 50 Boeing 737s. Today, it operates more than 80 aircraft to more than 120 destinations.
The airline’s chairman, Al Maktoum, claims these new features reflect the evolving requirements of regional customers.
He describes the choice to purchase the widebodies as “extraordinary” and “a new chapter for the airline,” one that will build on the company’s successful business strategy.
According to Al Maktoum, the expansion of the fleet and “signifies a maturing” of the carrier are two benefits of the new arrangement.
“It has always been Flydubai’s strategy to invest in the most advanced and efficient aircraft,” he adds. “This arrangement precisely reflects that.”