Emirates yesterday placed firm orders for four Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with nine options in a deal valued at $2.9 billion.

The contract was signed here at the show by Emirates chairman HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum and Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive Alan Mulally.

The four aircraft on firm order will be delivered during 2006. They will be configured in first, business and economy cabins with 12, 42 and 310 seats respectively. The remaining nine aircraft are covered by purchase rights that extend through to 2012.


Sheikh Ahmed said yesterday: "The 777 has proved to be an excellent aircraft for Emirates, and is extremely popular with our passengers, cargo customers and crew.

"The new Extended Range version will provide the reliability and the extra capacity for passengers and cargo which we will need. The low operating costs, renowned passenger approval, and the revenue capability from both cargo and passengers are the main reasons we selected the 777-300ER."

Asked if Emirates might exercise some of the options to take the upcoming Boeing 777-200LR (Longer Range) version, Sheikh Ahmed said: "We are always in discussion for some aircraft that are bigger and longer range and which might suit Emirates."

Emirates currently operates 21 Boeing 777-300s and 777-200s. In 2005 delivery will start of a separate group of 26 777-300ERs from leasing companies.


At that point, Emirates will operate the 777-200, 777-200ER, 777-300 and the 777-300ER. By 2007, Emirates will have a total of 51 Boeing 777s, giving it one of the world's largest fleets of the type.

Mulally said: "When Emirates receives the 777-300ER, it will become one of three airlines in the world operating four members of the family. That's further evidence of its commitment to be one of the world's premier airlines. We're honoured to be its partner."

The 777-300ER has a range of 8,900km with a full passenger and cargo load. Cargo capacity is 20,000kg with full passenger load.

Sheikh Ahmed said Emirates will use the aircraft to further its expansion plans and to increase frequency on major trunk routes. The airline currently serves 77 destinations in 54 countries on five continents.



Source: Flight Daily News