The first day of Dubai air show smashed all records for deals done on a single day at any air show in history. The total came to more than $50 billion, with Emirates stealing the glory once again with the biggest single deal in civil aviation history - $34.9bn.

Emirates came down in favour of the Airbus A350 XWB in its choice of the next generation long range twin. It ordered120 of the type – 70 firm orders (50 A350-900s and 20 A350-1000s) plus 50 options. The first Airbus A350 XWB will be delivered to Emirates in 2014.

At the same time it ordered 11 Airbus A380s (eight of which were confirmations of orders announced at Paris air show). Its orders for the type now come to 58 aircraft, with the first due for delivery in August 2008.

The 787 didn’t figure in the orders, but Boeing didn’t miss out completely, as Emirates ordered 12 Boeing 777-300ERs for $3.2 billion. With the new order, Emirates now has 57 Boeing 777s on order and is poised to become the world’s biggest operator of the type.

“Once again Emirates is making aviation history,” said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates group chairman and chief executive yesterday. “Four years ago we did the same with an order for $19 billion. Today we have moved to almost doubt that amount.”

Yesterday also saw the engines for the three types firmed up. Sheikh Ahmed signed agreements with Sir John Rose, chief executive of Rolls-Royce for the Trent XWB engines to power the A350s; with Bruce Hughes, President of Engine Alliance for the GP7200 to power the additional A380s; and with Scott Donnelly, president and chief executive of GE Aviation for the GE90 engines to power the 777s.

But the staggering total for a single day was made possible by other deals. Qatar Airways firmed up $13.5 billion worth of orders for Boeing aircraft.`National Air Services of Saudi Arabia ordered 20 Airbus A320 family aircraft at an undisclosed value. Cessna announced sales of $190 million while Embraer announced orders of $208 million.

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Source: Flight Daily News