It is the usual first day order frenzy at the Dubai Air Show and as we predicted Qatar, Emirates and Etihad all order the 777X, but the A380 confounds expectations

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore November 17, 2013 20:33

It is the usual first day order frenzy at the Dubai Air Show and as we predicted Qatar, Emirates and Etihad all order the 777X, but the A380 confounds expectations

Emirates today placed an order for 50 A380s. A wise move and, if we look at the facts, it is surprising that more orders for the type are limited to just Emirates. If you look across the Emirates route network at the A380 load figures then you have to admit that they need more as soon as possible. I doubt if other airlines will be able to compete with the economics of the A380 in the near future, especially as Emirates increase frequency on popular routes with the type. I foresee other airlines not getting a look-in on some routes within a decade. All Emirates’ A380s are powered by Engine Alliance GP7200 engines and that will not change.

But it is highly likely that Emirates got a good deal with this order, Airbus sources have for weeks been suggesting that they were open to possible rate cuts on the A380 as the order backlog dried-up. There is no question that between this fact and the size of this order at 50 Emirates got a wonderful deal – Compete with that seems to be the message from the Emirates team today.

Then of course we come to the 777X lunch, which is more or less exactly as we stated back in the beginning of October, save for Cathay Pacific which is not showing yet. Order slot negotiations are no doubt ongoing over the 25 aircraft the airline was looking at taking. In the here and now though 259 777Xs are on order, which represents the largest product launch in commercial aircraft history by dollar value. Lufthansa will take 34; Etihad Airways 25 as 17 777-9X and 8 777-8X – the order includes options and purchase rights for 12 additional 777X airplanes; Qatar Airways will take 50 and Emirates 150. The combined value of the agreements is more than $95 billion at list prices, so you can more or less knock a good third right off of that number right away.

There is a great deal of jockeying for delivery slots on the 777X and for that reason Emirates has gone for the big order up front to try and force the issue with Boeing and get its desired slots confirmed now.

The 777X is great from the information we have to hand here (which is virtually everything that the working group has) but everything will depend on the reliability of those GE9X engines and all will be hoping that GE90-115B problems will not be exported to the 9X.

The 777X will be formally named at a later date. Design of the 777X is underway and suppliers will be named in the coming months. Production is set to begin in 2017, with first delivery targeted for 2020.

Also today, Etihad has ordered 30 787-10s, the newest and largest member of the 787 Dreamliner family. When today’s order is combined with the carrier’s previous order for 41 787-9s, Etihad Airways becomes the world’s largest airline customer for the 787 family with a total of 71 787s on order. The order includes options and purchase rights for an additional 12 787-10s. This announcement also marks the 1,000th order for the 787. Final assembly and flight test of the 787-10 are set to begin in 2017, with first delivery targeted for 2018. Etihad’s order also includes one additional 777 Freighter for its cargo fleet, with options for two additional 777 Freighters: A definite surprise.

Not to be outdone, flydubai today announced a commitment for up to 100 737 MAX 8 aircraft and 11 737-800s. The commitment from the airline of the emirate of Dubai, valued at $11.4 billion at list prices (including orders and purchase rights), is the largest ever Boeing single-aisle airplane purchase in the Middle East. The investment continues flydubai’s legacy operating an all-Boeing 737 fleet. flydubai placed its first order for 50 Next-Generation 737-800s in 2008. The airline took delivery of its first aircraft in 2009 and was the first airline in the world to debut the Boeing Sky Interior. To date, flydubai has taken delivery of 33 Next-Generation 737-800s.

Nothing is stopping the Middle East growth.

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore November 17, 2013 20:33
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