Boeing eyes $15b order book at Dubai Airshow

DUBAI — US planemaker Boeing yesterday said it was set to sign up to $15 billion aircraft orders with Gulf carriers at the Dubai Airshow opening today.

By Issac John (Deputy Business Editor)

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Published: Sun 11 Nov 2007, 9:11 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:14 PM

Firing the first salvo as battle lines were drawn for the biennial aviation showdown, the aircraft-maker also claimed that its total orders from the Gulf would surge 50 per cent to 150 planes this year.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Lee Monson, the outgoing vice-president, Middle East and Africa Sales of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said one-third of these regional orders would be for Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the aircraft that is competing with Airbus A350 for the 100-plane widebody order from Emirates.

He declined to identify prospective Gulf buyers but said the new orders would also be for 737s, 747-8 freighters and 777s.

According to informed sources, Qatar Airways is expected to announce today a deal with Boeing for two types of aircraft, including 747-8 freighters.

With these orders, Boeing would be well placed to close the year with a record 150 aircraft orders from the Gulf, a 50 per cent increase over 2006, Monson said. Last year, Boeing won orders for 95 aircraft from the Gulf region.

Monson, who is being replaced by Martin Bentrott, said Boeing has won 75 aircraft orders so far from the region this year, indicating that another 75 new plane orders are in the pipeline at the Dubai air show.

He said Boeing's new generation fuel-efficient widebody aircraft, the 787, is expected to cross 1,000 orders before the year-end. So far, the aircraft, which would make its commercial debut by November 2008, has recorded 736 orders, underscoring its status as the most successful product in aviation history.

Monson's upbeat forecast for 787 came, as the prospects of the aircraft winning a $20 billion order from Emirates Airlines appeared dim. Reports quoting the La Tribune said Emirates was likely to order 50 Airbus A350 XWB planes at the Dubai airshow.

With nearly 50 days left in 2007, Boeing had won gross orders for 983 jets, including the latest order from Cathay Pacific for 10 747-8 freighters and seven more 777-300ERs worth about $5.2 billion at the average list price of those models.

Monson said in 2007 Boeing could better its own sales record and is certain to crack the 1,000-order mark for the third consecutive year.

In 2006, Boeing beat Airbus in orders for the first time since 2000. Boeing ended the year with 1,044 net orders and 1,050 gross. Both were Boeing records. Airbus won 1,055 net orders in 2005, or 1,111 gross orders before cancellations. Both were industry records. Boeing, however, was not far behind. It won 1,029 gross orders that year. Its net total was 1,002.

Airbus ended 2006 with 824 gross orders, its second-best year ever. This year, Airbus had won 854 gross orders through September.

At the Dubai event, budget carrier Air Arabia is among the other Gulf airlines expected to announce new business. The Sharjah-based airline is looking for up to 50 planes in a deal worth over $3.5 billion at list prices.

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