Gulf carrier Qatar Airways yesterday signed an order for five Boeing 777F cargo aircraft and took options on a further five. It also confirmed orders for 22 others previously from unidentified buyers–fourteen 777-300ERs, six -200LRs and two 777F cargo variants.
Boeing has pushed back by three months production of the first 747-8, the latest iteration of its venerable flagship, citing a need to avoid “operational risk” as it switches from the manufacture of the current 747-400 model. The move will provide additional time for completion of engineering work for the new variant.
With a rash of new civil aircraft orders widely expected at the show this week, Airbus and Boeing continue to enjoy the fruits of the ongoing industry boom. U.S.
manufacturer Boeing could see its year-end tally again reach 1,000 units, while its European competitor prepares to issue plenty of news here in Dubai to follow its slew of announcements at the Paris Air Show in June.
With a characteristically nimble response to market demand, Emirates Airline hastily re-scheduled an announcement here yesterday of more than $30 billion worth of aircraft orders to accommodate the presence of Dubai ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.
There is a bit of an ironic twist in the continuing fast-pace growth of business aviation in the Middle East. Many new users of business aircraft in this part of the world are part of the wave of economic diversification sweeping the Arabian Gulf states as they try to reduce their dependence on oil income in anticipation of the depletion of reserves.
The boom in air travel throughout the Middle East and beyond has certainly reaped economic rewards, but not without a significant amount of growing pain, particularly in countries where the existing infrastructure can barely support today’s level of traffic. Thankfully for Dubai and many other Gulf states, a wealth of investment resources helps conquer virtually any building challenge the rulers choose to confront.
With construction under way on the new Dubai World Central airport, the existing Dubai International Airport (DXB) is continuing to grow, as planned, to allow it to be capable of handling 68 million pasengers in 2010, although current projections foresee an actual throughput of 50.8 million at that time (see chart). Here at the Dubai Air Show, the airport authority is unveiling a new logo and name.
Introduction of A380 flights is being seen by Airbus as a precursor to “a new wave of orders” for the airliner. The European airframer’s Asia Pacific executive sales vice president, Edouard Ullmo, said earlier this year there likely would be a hiatus as prospective A380 operators considered the aircraft’s initial operations with Singapore Airways (SIA) before choosing between it and the Boeing 747-8I (or the smaller 777).
Two and a half years after its first flight, the Airbus A380 airliner entered service late in October with Singapore Airlines (SIA). While SIA has received the only example of the super large airliner slated for 2007 delivery, next August Emirates Airline is slated to get the first of the 55 A380s it has ordered to date.
In Boeing’s estimation, the Middle East will become the third largest market in the world for jumbo-sized airplanes over the next 20 years.