By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Emirates airline president Sir Tim Clark said the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 represent a 'holistic' approach to growing Dubai as an air hub
Emirates airline's multi-billion dollar deals with Airbus and Boeing announced at the Dubai Airshow this week will allow it to re-start expansion plans and optimise its partnership with low cost carrier Flydubai, according to its president Sir Tim Clark.
At the show, Emirates unveiled two major deals with rival manufacturers Boeing and Airbus.
The first was an order to buy 50 Airbus A350-900 aircraft in a deal worth $16 billion, with deliveries to begin from May 2023. The firm order replaces a previous deal for 30 A350-900 and 40 A330-900 aircraft that had been announced in February.
In the second deal, Emirates announced that will take 30 Boeing 787s worth $8.8 billion at list prices, together with 126 larger 777Xs. In this case, the order represents an adjustment of a previous deal for 150 777Xs.
Speaking of the 787 Dreamliner purchase, Clark said that Emirates wants “to get the airplane into the network as soon as possible and expand”.
“This is a recognition that we have a variety of useful tools to be able to get that network in a manner that by the early '20s, Emirates will be able to re-start its expansion in no uncertain terms. We can do that we these aircraft,” he added.
Clark said that the purchases represent a “holistic approach to the way we go about the growth of the Dubai hub….it makes a lot of sense”.
Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at London-based StrategicAero Research, said that the 787 order is a natural ‘fit’ with Flydubai’s still-grounded 737 Max.
“The decision this week to place multi-billion dollar orders for two of the most fuel efficient airplanes available today, it is evident that Emirates is reshaping its business to become not just agile in face of competition, but to be able to respond more quicker and flexibly to demand changes across its network and use the long-range and mid-range mission capability of the 787-9 to fit its operations in a way that the bigger 777, 777X and A380 could not do,” he said.
“Emirates is now well primed to continue its expansion plans into the future and make itself far more responsive to the competitive landscape in which it operates,” he added.
Collectively, Flydubai and Emirates fly to 257 destinations worldwide.