Emirates has confirmed plans to order 42 more Boeing 777s in what the manufacturer says is the biggest ever single firm order for the twinjet type.

The order was announced today at the Dubai Air Show. Boeing says in a statement that it has completed contract negotiations with Emirates for a deal covering 42 firm orders as well as 20 purchase rights.


It says the deal is valued at $9.7 billion and the firm portion comprises 24 777-300ERs, 10 777-200LRs and eight 777 freighters. Deliveries are to begin in 2007. These extended-range variants of the 777 are exclusively powered by General Electric GE90 engines.

Boeing says that when Emirates’ previously ordered 777s from lease and purchase deals are delivered by late in 2007, the Middle Eastern carrier’s fleet will include 51 of the twinjets. The additional 42 that it will be taking on firm order will give it the largest 777 fleet of any airline.

“We have had very positive results with the Boeing 777s already in our fleet,” says Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum.

“These new airplanes are perfectly suited to our business model for continued growth, both in cargo and passenger traffic, while maintaining the high level of comfort and exceptional service our passengers expect.”

The airline plans to use the additional 777s “to extend routes to key European and Asian cities, and fly to emerging markets”, says Boeing. The manufacturer adds that the deal lifts to 779 the number of firm orders it has now booked, from 43 airline customers.

Also today Kingfisher Airlines of India confirmed a predicted deal for 30 Airbus narrowbodies and 20 ATR 72-500s; National Air Services of Saudi Arabia launched the corporate version of the A318 with a deal for ten of the new model; and elsewhere, China ordered 70 Boeing 737s for eight of the country's airlines with more to come.

Source: Flight International