By Sarah Townsend
Order for between 50-100 mid-size widebody aircraft expected to be placed soon
Emirates is in the final stages of placing an order with Boeing for the 787 Dreamliner, reports allege, as it prepares to launch a landmark partnership with low-cost carrier flydubai.
Emirates is believed to be in the market for between 50 and 100 mid-size widebody aircraft to fly medium- to long-haul routes. The order is likely to be for a mix of 787-9 and 787-10 models, according to aviation press.
The Dubai-based airline had been reported to be deciding between the Airbus A350 and the 787 Dreamliner to replace some of its ageing fleet.
However, the company has refused to comment on when it may sign a deal. An Emirates spokesperson declined to divulge further information, saying on Wednesday: “We regularly look at our fleet requirements and will continue to do so as we grow. For the moment our priority is to optimise the usage of both fleets in order to meet customer demands.”
Saj Ahmad, a consultant at Strategic Aero Research, wrote on his website that the Dreamliner decision was a “done deal” with Boeing.
He told Arabian Business: “Emirates is going to buy 787s, that much is assured. Emirates has never re-ordered a jet it cancels. It cancelled the A340-600 in 2006 and never bought it after that. It ditched the A350-900 and A350-1000 in 2014, and they wouldn't dump them only to buy them again and lose lucrative delivery positions.
“Fact is, 777X is more than capable versus the A350s and adequate to replace A380s too, meaning that the 787 is a natural fit and Boeing has far more propensity to provide slots for Emirates, which Airbus does not, given their current product snafus on the A350 line.
“Hence why I term this a ‘done deal’.”
The deal would certainly be a coup for Boeing. Emirates cancelled its A380 order in 2014 after expressing concerns over the aircraft, and Airbus has since been forced to postpone delivery of new jets.
Ahmad added that pricing for Dreamliners was “aggressive” at the moment due to bcaklogs at Boeing plants. “That is why I believe Emirates will bite the bullet soon and not get left out of the 787 customer base.”
Dreamliners are also thought to fit well with Emirates and flydubai’s new codeshare partnership, announced this week.
The agreement includes increased schedule alignment and network optimisation to more than 200 destinations, served by a combined fleet of 380 aircraft, the two airlines said in a statement on Monday.