Dubai based Emirates Airline has placed a record order for 50 Boeing 777-300ERs, in a deal worth US$18 billion at list prices, making it the largest in Boeing history by dollar value. Announced Sunday at the Dubai Airshow, it includes options for 20 additional 777s valued at US$8 billion.
Fast growing Emirates is already the largest operator of the 777, with 95 in its fleet and a backlog of 40 from previous orders. Emirates said it expects to begin receiving the latest 365-seat 777-300ERs in 2015.
The announcement comes as Airbus last week announced that it would push back deliveries of its new A350-900 to the first half of 2014. Airbus had already delayed its A350-1000, which is tabbed to compete directly with the 777-300ER, by 18 months to 2017. Emirates president Tim Clark has criticised the design of the composite built A350-1000, saying it is too heavy and could fall short on performance.
Emirates has ordered 70 of the A350s, however, and says it remains committed to the plane. The airline is also studying whether to order more 525-seat Airbus A380s, of which it has so far received 17 out of orders for 90.
Powered by General Electric GE90 engines, the 777-300ER has become the most popular version of Boeing’s most profitable program. The company this month began production on its 1000th 777 (also for Emirates) and says it is increasing production of the twin-engine jet by 19 per cent for the next 18 months to catch up with demand.
Boeing said the Emirates order makes 2011 the best selling year for the 777, with 182 orders surpassing 2005’s 154 orders.