Saturday, November 12, 2011

Emirates expected to order more planes; Airline remains focused on long-term strategy

Shaikh Ahmad attends the Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference on Saturday. Emirates is expected to announce firm orders for more aircraft.

Dubai: Emirates is expected to announce during the Dubai Airshow firm orders for more aircraft to top up its order book and expand its dominance of the skies.

Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Group, talked earlier about the deal.

One order will be with Boeing, which has already supplied 95 B777s to the airline, a fleet that makes Emirates the world's biggest 777 operator.

The size of the orders is yet to be known.

Emirates has placed orders during almost every major airshow in the last decade.

"Emirates remains focused on its long-term strategy despite global instability, ever climbing fuel prices and fluctuating exchange rates," Shaikh Ahmad said in a recent statement.

"The global challenges of the past six months have again put Emirates to the test, and once again we have risen to the challenge and continue to maintain our high standards of product and services."

Emirates has a fleet of 161 aircraft and more than 170 are on firm order pending deliveries for the next six to eight years. The order book includes 41 Boeing aircraft.

Jim Albaugh, Chief Executive Officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said: "The Middle Eastern economies are very resilient. We have already 1,000 planes in service in the region and we see greater demand for our aircraft."

Asked about possible orders at the Dubai Airshow, he said he is optimistic. "We'll let our customers make the announcements."

Boeing has 280 aircraft on firm order in the Middle East. The region is the second highest aviation growth market in the world. This includes 112 from three UAE carriers — Emirates, Etihad Airways and flydubai. Boeing is expecting a series of orders at the Dubai Airshow that kicks off today.

"All I could say is that we have a number of signings (orders) at the Airshow," Randy Tinseth, Boeing's Vice-President of Marketing.

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