Boeing has secured a long-sought after order from Emirates Airline for a fleet of new widebody aircraft, with the Dubai-based carrier putting pen to paper for 40 787-10s.
The commitment from Emirates to purchase the 787-10 is a big win for Boeing, given the Gulf carrier had picked the Airbus A350-900 and A350-1000 previously but cancelled the order for 70 of the type in 2014 following a fleet review and delays to the program.
The Qantas alliance partner then restarted negotiations with both Airbus and Boeing, pitting the 787 against the A350 for the replacement of its Boeing 777-200s and 777-300s, as well as A330 and A340 fleet (which have since been retired).
The decision to go with the Boeing twinjet was announced at the Dubai Airshow on Sunday (United Arab Emirates time).
Emirates Airline chairman and chief executive Sheik Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said the aircraft would be delivered from 2022.
“Some of these will be replacements so that we maintain a young and efficient fleet, and others will power our future network growth,” Al Maktoum said in a statement.
“We see the 787 as a great complement to our 777 and A380 fleet, providing us with more flexibility to serve a range of destinations as we develop our global route network.”
The choice of engine would be made at a later date.
Emirates said its agreement with Boeing included conversion rights to the smaller 787-9. Further, the Dreamliners would be configured in either a two- or three-class layout, seating between 240 and 330 passengers.
The 787-10 is the longest variant of the 787 family and is capable of flying 6,430nm when configured with 330 passengers in a two-class layout, according to Boeing figures.
Singapore Airlines is the launch customer of the 787-10, with first delivery expected in the first half of 2018. The Virgin Australia shareholder and alliance partner has 30 787-10s on firm order, as well as a letter of intent for a further 19 of the type. The airline has chosen Rolls-Royce engines for its 787-10s.
Airlines that fly to Australia and have ordered the 787-10 included ANA, SIA, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, United and British Airways.
The Boeing website lists 171 orders for the 787-10 as of October 2017, which does not include the Emirates order.
“Emirates’ commitment pushes the total number of new 787 orders and commitments this year to more than 180; and more than 210 orders and commitments for the 787-10 overall,” Boeing said in its statement.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive Kevin McAllister said the Emirates order would “sustain many jobs in the United States”.
Emirates already has 150 777-8 and 777-9s on order from Boeing, with deliveries of the latest version of the popular 777 type due to begin in 2020. It is the world’s largest operator of 777s.