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Emirates 777 deal set to steal show

Boeing is expected to announce orders and options for more than 50 777s from Dubai-based Emirates Airlines among a flurry of commitments that could include 777 and 787 orders worth potentially more than $6 billion.

The Emirates deal, if confirmed during this week’s Dubai air show, is expected to cover around 24 777-300ERs and 10 -200LRs as well as eight 777 Freighters, plus options on a further 10 aircraft, all exclusively powered by General Electric GE90-115B engines. These aircraft will join up to 30 777-300ERs on lease or order under a deal dating from 2003. Of this first batch, 26 were leased and four purchased, with the first group of seven aircraft now operational with the airline. The massive order comes on the heels of Emirates’ record-breaking deal to acquire 43 Airbus A380s, and forms a major element of the carrier’s expansion plan.

Other prospects are believed to include Cathay Pacific’s new long-range aircraft requirement, which pitted the A340-600 against the 777-300ER. Up to 25 777-200LR/300ERs are also being proposed to Qantas as part of the Australian carrier’s re-equipment campaign, along with as many as 20 747-8s and 45 787s. Boeing is also thought to be offering in excess of 20 777-200ERs to Singapore Airlines, along with 13 747-8s and 20 787s.

Airbus is expected to announce several orders for the A320 and A350, some of which will be follow-up confirmations to preliminary commitments made in 2005. Alafco, a Kuwait-based leasing company, is tipped to confirm an order for up to 12 A350s, although the more significant $10.6 billion Qatar Airways agreement for up to 60 A350s remains to be confirmed and, according to sources, is unlikely to be signed at Dubai.

According to the Middle East business news service Trade Arabia, the Netherlands-based leasing company Debis is also expected to announce an order for up to 70 A320s in a deal worth $4.2 billion.

GUY NORRIS/LOS ANGELES

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