Dreamliner set for Middle East debut at Dubai show

Boeing Co’s much-delayed 787 set to draw the crowds at Dubai aerospace event
Dreamliner set for Middle East debut at Dubai show
Boeing has postponed deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner seven times
By Robeel Haq
Thu 20 Oct 2011 11:44 AM

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, the American firm’s much-delayed carbon-composite plane, will make its Middle East debut at the Dubai Airshow in November, the event’s organiser has said.

Speculation over the regional unveiling of the lightweight jetliner has mounted in recent weeks, after Boeing completed its first 787 delivery to Japan’s All Nippon Airways last month.

“Update –the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is coming to DXB11; it’s all booked in,” F&B Aerospace confirmed on Twitter.

The company declined to make any further comment when contacted.

 Boeing has postponed deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner seven times, resulting in a three-year delay, after grappling with new materials, engine supply disruptions and other problems.

More than 820 of the jets are on order to 55 airlines, including Gulf carriers Qatar Airways, Gulf Air and Amman-based Royal Jordanian.

The US aircraft giant has promised the twin-engine plane will deliver a 20 percent improvement in fuel efficiency. The aircraft also boasts the latest features aimed at giving passengers a more comfortable flight and winning over airlines trying to garner business in a fiercely competitive air travel market.

Boeing said in August it would deliver the first 787 Dreamliner to the Middle East region in the second-quarter of 2012, starting with Qatar Airways.

Next in line for deliveries will be Royal Jordanian, followed by Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, said Jeff Johnson, Boeing’s president for Middle East and North Africa.

The Dubai Airshow is the Middle East’s largest aerospace event, covering more than 325,000 sq m. Now in its 22nd year, the biannual event has historically seen the announcement of multimillion-dollar plane orders from fast-growing Gulf carriers.

Emirates Airline, Dubai’s flag carrier, is expected to place orders for a significant number of aircraft, including 30 A380s and additional Boeing 777s at the Dubai Airshow next month, aviation analysts said this month.

The largest international carrier has around 199 planes on order, scheduled for delivery through to 2019, but is likely to unveil new orders to support its rapid route expansion and in preparation for the delayed delivery of the Airbus A350.

“Boeing has some 29 unidentified orders for 777s. Emirates has a history of placing orders through the year without making them public and then announcing them at the show,” said Saj Ahmed, a UK-based aviation analyst.

Qatar Airways, one of the largest buyers of new aircraft, said this month it would unveil a series of Airbus orders at the Dubai event, including a deal for the planemaker’s A380 superjumbo

The state-backed carrier is still evaluating its fleet requirements for smaller aircraft, but will make an announcement on the Airbus A320neo at the Nov 13 event, said CEO Akbar Al Baker.

Boeing in May forecast a $4 trillion market for new aircraft over the next two decades, and named the fast-growing Middle East airlines as a major driver for growth.

The region will account for 2,520 – or 7.5 percent – of the aircraft orders expected to 2030, Boeing said, with a combined value of $450bn.

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