DUBAI, Nov 17 – Dubai has added another record to its name. Dubai Airshow – the world’s fastest growing aerospace exhibition – opened today for the first time at Dubai World Central, the vast aerotropolis in Jebel Ali — and immediately wrote itself into airshow history with a record breaking order book.
Within three hours of opening, the show’s order tally reached US $162.6 billion – surpassing its previous record of US $155 billion record set in 2007 – with deals coming from Etihad Airways, Emirates Airline, flydubai and Qatar Airways.
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.
Following on from a record-breaking morning order intake of US$192.3 billion, the afternoon saw Etihad Airways up the buying stakes with a US$26.9 billion order for 87 Airbus aircraft, plus purchase rights for a further 30.
The deal – for 50 A350s, 36 Airbus A320/A321neo and an A330-220F freighter – includes related engines. The A320/A321neos are scheduled for delivery from 2018, while the A350s will be delivered from 2020 onwards.
Etihad’s newly-purchased A350s will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, while the Airbus A330-200 freighter will be driven by two Trent 700s. Meanwhile the A320/A321neos will be powered by CFM LEAP-1A engines.
Etihad also announced a ‘step-change in global aviation’ with the launch of its first-branded regional operation, Etihad Regional, after taking a 33.3 per cent share in Swiss carrier Darwin Airline.
CEO James Hogan said the purchase opened up Europe to travelers on Etihad-branded aircraft. The announcement was followed swiftly by news of Etihad Airways new daily flights from Abu Dhabi to Zurich, from June 1, 2014, complementing its existing Geneva route.
The airline also ordered 30 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners, making Etihad the largest customer for the pioneering composite aircraft.
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 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.
Airbus was also celebrating a Dubai Airshow deal with Qatar Airways for five A330-200Fs, including eight options in a deal worth potentially worth over US $2.8 billion at list prices.
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 Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Presidential Affairs.
The VIP delegation toured the massive 645,000 square metres airshow site, which includes a single 42,870 square metres exhibition hall – about the size of seven American football fields — and a third bigger than the three halls in the show’s previous Dubai Airport Expo home. Some 1,055 exhibitors from 60 countries are taking part in the show which is expected to draw a trade visitor intake of 60,000.
Dubai Airshow organizers, 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.
“If there was anyone left in the aerospace industry who had not recognised the undeniable importance of this region, this morning removed all doubt. We are in the centre of a region with the world’s fastest-growing aviation infrastructure, fastest-growing airlines and a region where security commitments are in focus.”
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.