Emirates Airline, one of the fastest growing legacy carriers in the world, confirmed on Wednesday that it had finalized an order for 150 Boeing 777 planes valued at $56 billion at list prices.
The order -- a combination of 115 777-9Xs and 35 777-8Xs -- also includes purchase rights for an additional 50 airplanes that, if exercised, could increase value to approximately $75 billion at list prices.
"With the order for 150 777Xs, Emirates now has 208 Boeing 777s pending delivery, creating and securing jobs across the supply chain," Emirates President Tim Clark said in the statement. Emirates already flies 138 Boeing 777 planes.
"We are extremely proud to have Emirates, the world's largest 777 operator, continue its long-standing partnership with Boeing by becoming the largest launch customer for the 777X," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner in the statement.
Boeing said the 777X will introduce the latest technologies including "the most advanced commercial engine ever," the GE9X by GE Aviation, and an all-new high efficiency composite wing that has a longer span than today's 777.
Emirates, which is the world's largest international airline by capacity, is also the largest single customer of Airbus' long-haul double-decker A380.
Last month, Emirates scrapped a $16 billion order for 70 Airbus A350 wide-body aircraft.
Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at London-based StrategicAero Research, said Emirates has worked for years to get Boeing to update the 777 with a superior and fuel-efficient model -- and in the dual 777-8X and 777-9X.
"Emirates is arguably now equipped with the best widebody airplane that will be the backbone of its future fleet for the next 25-30 years. The 777X family will eventually become the defacto airplane of choice for Emirates as it seeks to further expand its global reach," said Ahmed.
With the A350 cancelation, it is likely that Emirates will exercise its 50 777X options and buy even more of them. Indeed, Emirates is a candidate for the possible future launch of the 777-8X Freighter too, he said.
The 777X, launched at the Dubai Airshow in November 2013, is the latest version of Boeing's best-selling widebody jet, which carries a list price of up to $320 million.
The current versions are capable of seating up to 550 passengers in a single-class configuration, according to Boeing. In a more typical three-class configuration, the jet family seats up to 386 passengers and has a range of up to 9,395 nautical miles
The 777-9X will be 12 per cent more fuel efficient than any competing airplane, necessary in today's competitive environment. The 777-8X is five per cent more efficient than its competitor at all ranges while providing for new network opportunities.
Design of the 777X is underway and production is set to begin in 2017, with first delivery targeted for 2020. To date, the 777X has accumulated 300 orders and commitments from six customers worldwide.
First announced as a commitment at the 2013 Dubai Airshow, the latest order by the world's largest 777 operator was part of the largest product launch in commercial jetliner history.
With a size of over 225 aircraft, Emirates, which flies to over 140 destinations, operates one of the youngest fleets in the world.
Copyright 2014 - Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates