Emirates Airline resumed its tradition of bucking trends yesterday by committing to an order for 40 Boeing 787-10s, giving the U.S. airframer a major breakthrough in the region for its Dreamliner family with the Middle East’s biggest airline. Worth $15.1 billion based on list prices, the deal comes just after Emirates announced a 77 percent profit increase during the first half of its fiscal year, at a time of a perceived downturn in the region.
Appearing at the 2017 Dubai Airshow’s opening press conference yesterday, Emirates chairman and CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum explained that the airline continued to examine the engine option for the order and expects to decide between the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 TEN and General Electric GEnx-1B shortly. “So you can look forward to another announcement very soon,” he said.
The order takes Emirates Airline's Boeing widebody order total to 204 aircraft worth more than $90 billion. “Our announcement today speaks to our confidence in the future of the UAE and the region,” Shiekh Ahmed added. Scheduled for delivery from 2022 to 2030, the 787-10s would replace several aging Emirates airplanes scheduled for retirement “in the next few years,” including its Airbus A330s, said Sheikh Ahmed.
On the decision to choose the Dreamliner over the Airbus A350, an order for 70 of which Emirates canceled some three years ago, the Emirates boss explained that fleet planners looked closely at both options and reached the conclusion that the Boeing product made the most sense for several reasons, including maintenance cost considerations.
Sheik Ahmed insisted that even though the order calls for fewer airplanes than the now-cancelled order for A350s, it does not signal an adjustment of the airline’s growth ambitions following two years of less-than-stellar financial results. “We always take the future into consideration, what’s happening in the UAE and how the UAE is becoming a very attractive place for visitors to come,” he said. “We also have the Expo 2020 coming. So we always believe that we will sign for something that we need. It’s not about adjusting.”
Emirates’s commitment pushes the total number of new 787 orders and commitments Boeing has received this year to more than 180 airplanes, and orders and commitments for the 787-10 to 240 overall.