Emirates CEO Sheikh Ahmed pictured with Kevin McAllister, Boeing signing the deal.
Dubai’s Emirates airline signed a $15.1 billion commitment to purchase 40 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners, Emirates Group chairman and CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum announced at the Dubai Airshow on Sunday.
The firm order for the 40 787-10s takes Emirates total wide-body orders with Boeing to 204 aircraft, which Sheikh Ahmed estimated are collectively worth more than $90 billion.
“It has always been Emirates strategy to invest in the most advanced and efficient aircraft, and today’s order reflects that,” Sheikh Ahmed said.
“Our announcement today also speaks to our confidence in the future of aviation in the UAE and the region.”
Deliveries of the aircraft included in the deal will begin in 2022, Sheikh Ahmed said.
“Some of these will be used to replace the older aircraft which we retire in the next few years, to keep our fleet always young and modern,” Sheikh Ahmed noted.
The signing of the agreement was attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as well as Sheikh Hamdan, Crown Prince of Dubai.
Kevin McAllister, the President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) said that the 787-10s “will open new destinations around the world for Emirates and will deliver Emirates the lowest cost-per-seat mile and the most efficient twin-aisle in the skies.”
When asked why Emirates chose the 787-10 over the rival Airbus A350, Sheikh Ahmed said Emirates planning staff examined both aircraft and concluded that the 787-10 “was the best option” for Emirates from 2022 onwards.
Sheikh Ahmed added that Emirates is currently evaluating engine options for the Dreamliner, which would be announced sometime in the near future.
Saj Ahmad, an analyst with the London-based StrategicAero Research, said the deal was “a great move which gives the airline flexibility to use a smaller airplane on less lengthy but dense routes.”
“It will be the perfect mid-range airplane, as well as allowing partner flydubai to shift passengers across routes where they need more capacity,” he said. “And with the cross-crew capability for pilot training between 777s and 787s, this will help cut costs and other associated inventory.”
Watch the Boeing 787-10 first flight video: