DUBAI: Gulf airlines splashed out well over $100 billion on new planes on Day One of the Dubai Airshow, underscoring a shift in power in the aviation industry and giving a boost to the formal launch of Boeing’s newest jet, as well as to Airbus’s A380 superjumbo.
Under hazy skies, sheikhs and ruling family members of Dubai and neighboring Abu Dhabi toured rows of passenger jets and arms pavilions at the new 645,000 square meter venue, built to showcase the Middle East’s largest aviation hub.
Dubai-based Emirates Airlines led the buying spree on Sunday with an order for 150 of Boeing’s new 777 mini-jumbo, in a deal worth $76 billion at list prices. It also ordered 50 Airbus A380s, the world’s biggest passenger plane, worth $23 billion.
With demand from other Gulf carriers including Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, Boeing announced commitments for a total of 259 of the new 777 jet, previously codenamed 777X, worth about $100 billion at list prices — the largest combined order in its history and confirming earlier Reuters stories.
“The response to the 777X has been astounding,” Boeing Chairman James McNerney said at a packed news conference to officially launch the new plane, in front of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.
Gulf airlines are competing with each other for a share of traffic flooding through the region, due to its strategic location between East and West, and with many recession-hit European airlines strapped for cash, their business is becoming increasingly important to Boeing and Airbus. see more