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Boeing, Airbus receive orders from Middle Eastern carriers

By control on November 20, 2013

Boeing and Airbus announced billions of dollars worth of airplane orders from Middle Eastern carriers at the Dubai Airshow.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner received its 1,000th customer order when Etihad Airways announced an order for 30 787-10 Dreamliners. With this order, the Dreamliner family has reached this sales milestone faster than any other wide-body airplane in aviation history.

"Our ongoing investment in the 787 is well-founded and is apparent by the record time in which the Dreamliner family received its 1,000th order," Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner said. "We are truly grateful for the continued confidence that our customers have placed in the 787 and together, we are excited about growing the product line and expanding our presence with this family of airplanes."

Etihad is the world's largest airline customer for the 787 Dreamliner.

flydubai announced a commitment for up to 100 737 MAX 8 airplanes and 11 Next-Generation 737-800s. The commitment is the largest ever Boeing single-aisle airplane purchase in the Middle East.

Boeing launched the 777X program at the Dubai Airshow. Agreements for 259 airplanes from four customers across Europe and the Middle East provide a strong foundation to support development and production of the airplane.

777X orders and commitments include Lufthansa with 34 airplanes, Etihad with 25, Qatar Airways with 50 and Emirates with 150 airplanes.

Airbus won a total of 160 orders and commitments at the Dubai Airshow.

“With its central position geographically, its strong economic growth and population centers just a flight away, Middle Eastern carriers stand to reap the benefits of traffic growth,” John Leahy, Airbus COO customers, said. “The order intake at the airshow, by value our biggest ever in Dubai, is a clear evidence that the Middle East region is investing in the most modern and efficient aircraft to capture this growth.”

By value, Emirates placed the single largest order for 50 additional A380s. Etihad Airways placed the single largest firm order for Airbus at the Dubai Airshow with 87 aircraft (40 A350-900, 10 A350-1000, 26 A321neo, 10 A320neo and one A330-200F).

The A330-200F has seen five firm orders from Qatar Airways Cargo, plus eight commitments, and one firm order with Etihad, representing a total of 14 orders and commitments.

Libyan Wings, based in Tripoli, announced the start of its operations at the airshow, choosing Airbus to build up its initial fleet with a commitment for three A350-900s and four A320neos. Libyan Wings will start operations for passenger charter and freight in the beginning of 2014.

Air Algérie signed a memorandum of understanding for three A330-200 passenger aircraft as part of the carrier’s continued growth plans. The new aircraft will be deployed on medium and long-haul routes from the Air Algérie hub in Algeria.

The Airline Pilots Association (ALPA), a Washington, D.C.-based union representing pilots in the U.S. and Canada, was critical of the sales. ALPA said the sales illustrate a "staggering" threat to the U.S. airline industry due to U.S. government policies that give foreign airlines an economic advantage.

"The question of the day is: How many of these widebody aircraft orders will be financed by a U.S. or European taxpayer-backed export credit agency, subsiding the aircraft orders at rates not available to U.S. airlines," aid Capt. Lee Moak, president of ALPA.

The answer, according to a spokesman with the U.S. Export-Import Bank, is none.

"We have no applications for financing for any of those aircraft," said Phil Cogan, spokesman for the Ex-Im Bank, in an interview with Air Cargo World. "We don't set the interest rates when we do finance a project. They are set by commercial banks."

Cogan said recent fee structure changes established by the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) have made Ex-Im Bank financing more costly than what qualified buyers can get on their own.