Emirates airline is all set to place orders for the 777X, Boeing’s latest long-haul jet, at the Dubai Airshow, which takes off today with high industry expectations, Khaleej Times has learned.

Talking to the paper on the sidelines of a media roundtable in Dubai, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive officer Ray Conner said Emirates, the biggest operator of the 777 and the Airbus A380 superjumbo, would commit to the 777X “very soon”.

Pressed how soon, the Boeing executive burst into laughter before he responded: “I hope very soon. I hope within the week.”

Asked about Boeing’s expectation from the airshow, Conner said he hoped it would be a good show. “I have a decent feeling about it.”

Speculations moved to high throttle after it was announced late on Saturday evening that Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and CEO of Emirates airline and Group, would hold an urgent meeting with the Press at the airshow today.

An order for as many as 150 upgraded 777X aircraft will place Emirates on the trajectory to become the largest airline in 2020 by international traffic with a fleet of over 250 aircraft ferrying 70 million passengers.

The rejuvenated 777 will have a fourth-generation composite wing and a new advanced GE engine with Laminar Flow Nacelles to cut fuel burn by around 20 per cent, making it the most economical aircraft in the world.

The first variant, 777-9X, will be able to fly as far as 8,000 nautical miles ferrying over 400 passengers, while the 777-8X can travel more than 9,400 nautical miles with 350 passengers.

London-based StrategicAero Research chief analyst Saj Ahmad said Emirates would make “not only the headline story of the show, but also the biggest news item of 2013”.

“Their planned split order for 777-8s and 777-9s is poised to be the biggest jet deal that Boeing has ever landed. Some insiders state the new 777 will be rebranded as 777 MAX, following the 737 MAX nomenclature,” he added. see more