Aviation in the Middle East looks poised for major growth as the industry closes out the Dubai Air Show this week with billions of dollars in new aircraft on the order books.
All told, airframe manufacturers Boeing and Airbus each tallied about $20 billion in aircraft orders at the show, which took place Nov. 13 through Nov. 17. Boeing said it saw orders valued at nearly $20 billion excluding options, while Airbus won a total of 211 orders and commitments worth $20.5 billion.
“The order intake at this air show is the second best we’ve ever had at Dubai. Our A320neo has again been the star of the show. But despite some storm clouds on the horizon there is still strong market demand for fuel-efficient aircraft from airlines and lessors,” said John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer, customers.
Among the big orders, Qatar Airways bought 50 Airbus A320neo and five A380s, worth $6.4 billion at list prices.
Dubai-based Emirates Airlines announced on Sunday an order for 50 Boeing 777-300ERs, with an option for an additional 20, an order valued of $18 billion, the single largest commercial airplane order in Boeing’s history by dollar value.
“We have an ambitious and strategic plan to continue growing our international network and especially increasing our long-haul, non-stop routes,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates chairman and chief executive. “This order supports our fleet expansion and reiterates our commitment to operating a modern fleet for the benefit of our passengers and to ensure efficiency as well.”
Other orders and announcements include:
Oman Air ordered six Boeing 787-8s. The airline completed an arrangement with Boeing and Kuwait-based leasing company ALAFCO to transfer existing orders for the six Dreamliners from ALAFCO to Oman Air.
The show also marked the Middle East debut of the Dreamliner.
Qatar Airways selected the Thales AVANT in-flight entertainment system for its 80 Airbus A350s.
Air Arabia selected Rockwell Collins’ second-generation dPAVES in-flight entertainment (IFE) system for 44 new Airbus A320s. Air Arabia is the first airline in the Middle East to select this system, Rockwell Collins said.
GE Aviation signed new engine orders and service agreements valued at $13.8 billion, which includes plans to design and build a $120 million engine overhaul facility for Emirates airline in Dubai.
The orders include a $6 billion engine and service contract to power Emirates’ 50 new Boeing 777-300ERs with the GE90-115B engines. The company also signed a $1 billion agreement with Cargolux to power its new fleet of Boeing 747-8 freighters with GE’s GEnx-B2 engine.
GE also signed other agreements with Cathay Pacific, Air China, Qatar Airways and other airlines.
Engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce said it secured more than $1 billion in orders during the show.