At the Paris Air Show today, Emirates, the Dubai-based international airline, announced that it has placed the biggest order in civil aviation history -- worth $19 billion (approx. 70 billion Dirhams).
The fast-growing carrier confirmed purchase orders for 21 more Airbus A380-800s, and leasing orders for two A380-800s. The additional 23 aircraft bring Emiratesâ€™ total order for the giant double-deck jetliner to 45, the most ordered by any airline.
At the same time, Emirates announced operating lease orders for 26 Boeing 777-300ERs, 14 from General Electric Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) and 12 from the International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), and powered by General Electric GE90-115B engines.
They will provide much-needed extra capacity on existing routes and help it continue to expand its network, which has already risen to 66 cities in 46 countries since services started in 1985.
Emirates also announced orders for more four-engined A340s, purchasing two more ultra-long-range A340-500 and 18 of the larger A340-600 Higher Gross Weight aircraft, as well as leasing two A340-600s from ILFC, the International Lease Finance Corporation. This makes Emirates the launch customer for the A340-600 HGW.
The confirmed orders announced in Paris, along with those revealed at the Dubai Air Show two years ago, bring Emiratesâ€™ current total order book to $26 billion.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, the Chairman of Emirates, said: "We need many more aircraft to continue our plans to become a truly global airline, and had already announced a major aircraft order at the 2001 Dubai International Air Show.
Now we are placing more multi-billion dollar orders, and have chosen A380s, A340s and 777s to meet exceptionally strong demand from passengers and cargo customers. We will fund them from our own reserves, from banks and institutional investors, and through operating leases."
The extra Airbus A380 orders cover four versions: a 533-seat three-class aircraft; a 653-seat two-class aircraft; a 500-seater able to fly non-stop from Dubai to Australia; and two freighters. They enter service from 2006. Deliveries of A340-500s start this year and of A340-600s from June 2007.
Airbus Chief Executive Officer NoÃ«l Forgeard said: Emirates has clearly shown its ability to turn vision into reality, as its growth and success over almost two decades has shown. We are pleased and proud that the A340 and A380 families have again been chosen to play a key role in its future.
The move to acquire 26 new 777s follows Emiratesâ€™ experience with its current fleet of 20. Sheikh Ahmed said: They have proved extremely popular with passengers, cargo customers and crew, and the new Extended Range version will provide the reliability and extra capacity which our forecasts show we need on trunk routes in years to come.
By using operating leases we avoid burdening ourselves with large amounts of debt, and here we are delighted to be working with the two major aviation leasing companies GECAS and ILFC.
Alan Mulally, President and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said: We are thrilled with this selection of our Boeing 777-300ER by Emirates, one of the worldâ€™s premier airlines. This is a great example of a broad, industry solution that expands the customer base of our longer-range 777s in a very fast-growing region of the world.
The expanded order book will increase Emiratesâ€™ fleet to 125 aircraft by 2012, as part of long-term plans to serve many new countries. The new jets will also boost flights on existing routes to Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
Emiratesâ€™ emergence as a global brand reflects Dubaiâ€™s vision to become the leading aviation hub of the 21st century. By 2010 Emirates expects to carry 29 million people and 1.5 million tonnes of cargo a year, one reason why it is now the worldâ€™s biggest buyer of new aircraft. (ends)