Dubai’s Emirates Airline is in advanced talks with Boeing to order up to 100 long-haul aircraft worth around $30bn, in what would be the US planemaker’s largest ever order, it was reported.
Last month, Boeing revealed the Gulf carrier was actively involved in the designing of Boeing’s new 777 model
Marty Bentrott, Boeing’s vice president of sales in the Middle East, Russia and Central Asia, said the US planemaker was “actively engaged with Emirates on the next generation 777 and as the largest 777 customer in the world, they deserve our focus and our attention.”
Emirates president Tim Clark confirmed to Financial Times newspaper talks were underway: “We are in a relatively advanced stage of commercial negotiations . . . I think whatever happens there will be a substantive order for the new 777.”
The report claimed the Dubai carrier was evaluating an order for between 100 and 175 of 777X aircraft and also versions of the 777-8X and 777-9X, which can carry up to 400 passengers.
With the deal set to be worth more than $30bn, it will be Boeing’s largest ever order, beating the $22.4bn record set by the Indonesian low-cost carrier Lion Air.
The Dubai carrier currently has 194 aircraft in services, 184 on order and options on an additional 100.
In addition to the 777, Emirates is also considering placing an order with Airbus for its A380 superjumbo and the new A350 aircraft, the FT added.
The Emirates order would be a boost for Airbus as the French planemaker is currently reviewing its A380 superjumbo after a slump in orders and has not ruled out shaving output of the world's largest jetliner while waiting for the economy to come to its rescue.
Despite aggressive marketing, sales of the 525-seat double-decker are running at idle as in tough times many airlines are focusing on narrower, lighter, two-engined models, including Airbus's own A350.
"For me, there will always be a market for a 500-plus seater," said Clark told Reuters earlier this month. The airline has ordered a total of 90 A380s.
"The last thing we want is to see the A380 marginalised," Clark said. It may, however, give the Dubai carrier a significant say in how the A380 will evolve, particularly whether the world's biggest passenger jet will get even bigger.
"We have always been an advocate of stretching the airplane," he said. "We have 37 in operation today, and on most routes a bigger plane would work quite nicely."
Airbus shelved its original plans for a second A380 version with 100 more seats when it became clear that the aircraft was not selling as quickly as it would have liked.
Emirates, Airbus and Boeing have not commented on the reports, but it is anticipated the orders will be made at the Dubai Airshow in November.