Three orders from Middle East airlines involving the full range of jetliner families in Airbus’ current and future production portfolios provided a major kickoff during the Dubai Airshow’s opening today, and marked major new votes of confidence for the A380, A350 XWB, A330 and A320 product lines.
The transactions involve repeat business from all three carriers – Dubai-based Emirates Airline, the United Arab Emirates’ Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways – all of which have used Airbus jetliners in their evolution into world-class carriers.
Emirates already is the largest customer for A380s, and today’s announced agreement for 50 more is its fifth A380 order placed with Airbus. The airline currently has 39 A380s in the fleet – with the most-recently delivered one on display at the Dubai Airshow.
“These aircraft already operate to over 20 destinations, and one out of every three A380s you see in the sky is an Emirates aircraft,” explained HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group. “With today’s order, we have another 101 A380s to be delivered to Emirates.
Etihad Airways’ 87-aircraft firm booking announced at the Dubai Airshow makes it the latest A320/A321neo (new engine option) customer, and represents what James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer, described as the next step his airline’s “great partnership” with Airbus.
Speaking to reporters, Hogan said the firm order is composed of 50 A350 XWBs (40 in the A350-900 configuration, and 10 A350-1000s), 36 A320 new engine option jetliners (26 A321neo and 10 A320neo versions), and one A330-200F freighter. Options and purchase rights for another 30 aircraft also are part of the agreement, he added.
At the Dubai Airshow signing for Qatar Airways’ firm order of five A330-200F freighters with options for eight more, CEO Akbar Al Baker said the carrier will use these aircraft in meeting the air cargo market’s growing demand – joining three A330-200Fs already in its inventory. “The A330-200F is a fantastic freighter, and it will become the backbone of our freighter fleet,” he added.
For additional details on today’s Dubai Airshow announcements, see the press releases: Emirates orders 50 additional A380s, boosting fleet to 140 Etihad Airways orders 50 A350 XWB, 36 A320neo and one A330-200F Qatar Airways expands its Airbus A330 Freighter fleet