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Mon 12 Jan 2009 11:36 AM

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Middle East aircraft orders remain high

Orders for Boeing's Dreamliner 787 topped 93 in 2008 - mainly from Middle East carriers.

Middle East airlines continued ordering high aircraft volumes in 2008, despite plane makers announcing delivery delays following production setbacks.

Last year, US aircraft producer Boeing received 93 orders for its Dreamliner 787 – most of which came from Middle East carriers.

The 777 also proved popular, with some of the 54 orders coming from local operators, Boeing has announced.

But the company admitted that some of the 375 aeroplanes delivered last year were delayed by a strike that halted production for several weeks.

“While we clearly faced obstacles, 2008 also was a time of accomplishment at Commercial Airplanes,” said Scott Carson, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO. He added that the 2008 order total was the company’s eighth highest.

“With a balanced base of customers from all regions of the world, from airlines with varied business models, and with strong orders across our product line, we are now focused on executing this strong backlog position,” Carson added.  

Budget carrier FlyDubai led the way, ordering 50 B-737-800s in July, while Etihad Airways agreed to buy 35 B-787s and 10 B-777 300ERs.

Gulf Air, Oman Air and RAK Airways also purchased new aircraft, ordering 16 B-787s, six B-737-800s and four 737-800s respectively. Elsewhere, Iraq’s Ministry of Finance ordered 30 B-737-800s.    

In 2008, Boeing delivered 290 B-737s, 14 B-747s, 10 B-767s and 61 B-777s. It also received 662 aircraft orders, increasing its backlog of undelivered planes to more than 3,700.

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