Emirates Airline made history at the Dubai Air Show yesterday in placing the largest single order ever for Boeing commercial airplanes, signing for 50 Boeing 777-300ERs and reserving options on another 20 of the long-range widebodies.
The deal, valued at $18 billion, raises Boeing’s order total for the type this year to 182, making 2011 best-selling year for the 777 program. Boeing set its previous record in 2005, when it collected orders for 154 of the airplanes.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline & Group, yesterday issued a clear verbal endorsement of the airplane to accompany the huge monetary commitment. “The 777’s reliability, performance and operating economics have firmly established it as the backbone of our fleet,” he said. “We have an ambitious and strategic plan to continue growing our international network and especially increasing our long-haul, non-stop routes. This order supports our fleet expansion and reiterates our commitment to operating a modern fleet for the benefit of our passengers and to ensure operational efficiency as well.”
Now flying a fleet of ninety-four 777s, Emirates operates more of the big twins than any other airline in the world. Prior to this latest order, Boeing’s 777 backlog contained another forty one 777-300ERs destined for Emirates. Emirates remains the only airline in the world to operate every model in the Boeing 777 family, including the 777 Freighter.
Emirates took delivery of its first Boeing 777 – a 777-200–in 1996.
“This is an extremely proud moment for us,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “As the largest operator of the 777 in the world, Emirates has played an important role in development of the airplane and its input over the years has been invaluable in the development of the 777 program.”