Dubai Airshow opened today for the first time at Dubai World Central, and has set of a record with show’s order tally reaching US $162.6 billion – surpassing its previous record of US $155 billion record set in 2007.
The opening order salvo came from Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways which announced a deal for 56 new Boeing 777s valued at US$25.2 billion at list prices, including related GE engines. The deal also sees Etihad become the launch customer for the 777-8X which is expected to enter service around the end of this decade.
The airline also ordered 30 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners, making Etihad the largest customer for the pioneering composite aircraft.
“We rarely make announcements at air shows, but when we do the world listens,” said James Hogan, President and CEO, Etihad Airways.
Meanwhile, Dubai-headquartered Emirates Airline rapidly re-wrote the Dubai Airshow record with news of a US$99 billion purchase of Boeing and Airbus planes – which industry experts dubbed the largest-ever aircraft order in civil aviation.
The Emirates headline deal was for 150 Boeing 777X- officially launched the show today; plus 50 purchase rights, and an additional 50 Airbus A380 superjumbos - of which Emirates is currently the largest fleet operator.
The Emirates deal, which was signed by HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group and the Presidents of both Boeing and Airbus, was witnessed by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai.
Low-cost airline FlyDubai weighed in with a US$11.4 billion order for 111 Boeing 737s and 738s, and then Qatar Airways topped off the morning’s historic agreements with the signing of a US$19 billion letter of intent for 54 Boeing 777s.
The official opening of the show, which runs at Dubai World Central until Thursday (November 21), which was carried out by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid accompanied by HH Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Presidential Affairs.
Dubai Airshow organisers, F&E Aerospace, is jubilant about its history-making event. Sharief Fahmy, the company’s Chief Executive said: “Well it may have been yet another opening, but it certainly is not just another show. This has been an extraordinary opening morning for an event that has gone beyond expectations.
Meanwhile, other key announcements are expected to emanate from the show with HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces also visiting on the show’s opening day. The Pakistan delegation confirmed its Air Chief Marshall and Chief of Staff of the Pakistan Air Force are due to arrive for first day talks with leaders of China’s leading aviation investment company, AVIC.
“We do expect to conclude sales here,” said Air Cadre Tariq Mahmood, “particularly as we have been promoting our JF-17 Thunder both at the 2011 event and now.”
The JF-17 Thunder fighter jet is scheduled for the Dubai Airshow’s daily flying display.