Dubai boeing leads order books race

Airlines in the Gulf have placed a number of high value plane orders on the first day of the Dubai Air Show, with US giant Boeing a major winner.

Dubai-based Emirates airline placed an order for 150 of Boeing’s new 777 mini-jumbos, in a $76bn (£47bn) deal.

Other orders from Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Lufthansa for some 109 of the new 777, previously codenamed 777X, brought its sales total to $95bn.

Emirates has also ordered 50 Airbus A380s, in a deal worth $23bn.

The airline is already the biggest customer of the A380 and the new deal will bring its total orders for the plane to 140.

‘Astounding’

Boeing said its 777 mini-jumbo sales represented “the largest product launch in commercial jetliner history by dollar value”.

“The response to the 777X has been astounding,” Boeing chairman James McNerney added at the official launch the new plane in Dubai.

The 777 will come in two models, one seating 350 passengers, and another seating 406 people.

Boeing’s new aircraft is designed to compete with the largest version of Airbus’s A350 in the mini-jumbo market.

European rival Airbus has launched a campaign for a minimum standard seat width of 18 inches on long trips, as it seeks to draw the focus of airlines to what it says will be the 777’s narrower seats.

Meanwhile, Airbus will be looking to sell more of its A380 super-jumbo aircraft, the world’s biggest passenger aircraft, which is facing a potential cut in production unless some more orders are secured.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has visited the airshow site, with the UK competing with France for a potential 60-plane fighter jet deal with the United Arab Emirates.