Emirates Orders US$15 Billion Fleet

Emirates today announces its largest-ever aircraft order—valued at a massive US$15 billion.

In a dramatic gesture underlining its confidence in the entire long-term future of Dubai and air travel, the award-winning airline today announces that it is acquiring 25 Boeing 777s, 22 Airbus A380s, eight Airbus A340-600s and three A330s by the end of the decade.

Emirates` initial order, signed at Britain`s Farnborough Air Show in July 2000 as a Letter of Intent, was for seven A380s , making it the world`s first airline to commit to the A380.

Today it adds a further 15 A380s to give it a total fleet of 22 firm orders, valued at US$7 billion plus 10 options, 25 new Boeing 777s in two versions and valued at US$6.6 billion, eight A340-600s valued at US$1 billion, and three A330s valued at US$415 million. Combined value of the 58 Boeings and Airbuses on order is $15 billion, which the airline will raise without a dollar in subsidy from any source to boost Emirates` total fleet to 100 by the year 2010.

The visionary 21st century fleet plan was unveiled today at Dubai`s International Airshow, opened by His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister, by Emirates` Chairman HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum.


Sheikh Mohammed commented: “Our country today stands four-square at the crossroads of the world, and has transformed itself into a major player on the global stage. Our goal now is to expand its dynamic growth into every area of commerce, tourism and transport. Our unwavering aim is to make this the best place to do business, the top tourist destination and transport hub of the region and the undisputed commercial and communications capital of the Middle East. This record-breaking aircraft order is a key component in this charismatic strategy. Huge commercial projects are under way. Massive housing developments are rising from the sands. Two huge offshore islands visible from space will double our coastline. Dubai airport will grow to handle five times the 14 million passengers a year it sees today. We are not content simply to wait for the future—we are building it.”

Sheikh Ahmed said: “The timing of this order—hard on the heels of recent events—is no coincidence. We are determined not to allow present difficulties to deflect our resolve. Aviation is one of the world`s most dynamic industries. Dubai is one of its most dynamic cities. Emirates is one of its most dynamic companies. Boeing and Airbus are two of the world`s most dynamic plane-makers. Short term, airlines have seen their business dip. Long term, air travel remains firmly on course to double in the next 15 years. Even today we need larger aircraft, let alone in five years when our first A380 leaves the runway at Dubai.

“By 2006, as one of the world`s fastest-growing and most successful airlines, we expect to be flying more than twice as many customers as we do now. To do this, we need more, larger aircraft from the two best manufacturers in the world. The arithmetic is inescapable,” he said. Landing slots at airports like Heathrow, Frankfurt and Hong Kong are at a premium. Our new fleet, with more seats, greater comfort and facilities, and lower costs, is vital to helping us hold down fares. We are ordering the aircraft of tomorrow—whose time has come today.”

Emirates has always aimed to `fit horses to courses” to match differing aircraft to the widely differing routes on its fast-growing network from Dubai, ranging from Doha and Muscat at one end of the scale to North America and Australia on the other. Emirates will use the A380s on routes from Dubai to London, Frankfurt, Singapore and other cities in Europe, Asia, North America and the Pacific. Its maiden flight will not take place until 2004, leaving Emirates time to select the best engines.

Feedback from Emirates and 20 other airlines helped designers reshape the giant aircraft with wider seats, greater comfort and lower operating costs. With nearly a fifth of its revenue earned from carrying cargo, the airline also suggested ways to increase the capacity of the freight hold. Emirates also has yet to select the engines for its new Boeing 777s, one of the world`s most efficient and versatile aircraft, with its excellent range, operating economics and freight capacity, and ideal for very long routes such as Emirates` new non-stop Dubai/Perth service startin in 2002.

A total of 18 of the highly popular A330s are already in service with Emirates, making it the largest operator of the type in the world. Like its existing fleet, they will be powered by the highly successful Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engine.

Emirates is well-placed to order the massive new fleet after 15 years of profits, earned by an unwavering commercial focus, clamp on costs, and innovative marketing campaigns to counter high fuel prices, fare wars and fierce competition on all routes.

Maurice Flanagan CBE, Emirates` Group Managing Director, said: “Dubai has a worldwide reputation as a major trading and tourism hub, and a regional centre of information technology.

“Paradoxically Dubai`s open skies policy, under which any airline that wants to do so can fly here, has helped to make us a success. We are always conservative in our plans, launching flights only where we know we can and will succeed. That approach remains firmly in place.”

Emirates has won more than 200 international awards in its 16-year history. Today its 36 aircraft, with an average age less than three years, one of the world`s youngest fleets, serve 56 cities in 39 countries. Last financial year it carried 5.7 million customers and 335,200 tonnes of air freight, earning a record US$85m profits.