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Boeing’s Record Emirates Deal Pads Wide-Body Lead on Airbus – Businessweek

November 14, 2011

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) — Boeing Co.’s biggest-ever civil jet order solidifies the U.S. manufacturer’s lead in the market for wide-body planes and helps hold at bay Airbus SAS’s attempt to encroach on its dominance with the A350 airliner.

Boeing signed an agreement with Emirates yesterday at the Dubai Air show for 50 777-300ER jets, and an option for 20 more, in a deal valued at $26 billion. The accord extends their relationship in the wide-body market, with Emirates operating more than 90 of the 777s for the industry’s biggest such fleet.

The U.S. planemaker’s win at the show coincides with Airbus saying last week that deliveries will be later than planned for its A350-900. The delay comes four months after Airbus said it would push back the debut of the largest A350, the A350-1000, which competes directly with the 777-300ER, to add more thrust after customers demanded more payload and range.

“It’s early days for the A350, but they will need to take Emirates’ views into their design work as Boeing has had to do for the 777 if they want to be confident of large future orders from the carrier,” said John Strickland, a director at U.K. aviation advisory firm JLS Consulting Ltd.

Emirates President Tim Clark has been critical of Airbus’s design improvements on the A350-1000, saying the plane is heavy and risks falling short of performance requirements. Airbus now plans to introduce the jet, which will be made of composite materials, in 2017. The first model, the A350-900, is slated for the first half of 2014, Airbus said last week. That’s as much as six months later than the previous date.

18-Month Delay

Airbus says its revamped A350-1000 design, whose planned entry into service has been postponed by 18 months, will be 25 percent more fuel efficient and can carry 4.5 tons of additional weight. The aircraft will seat about 350 people, compared with about 365 on the 777 that Emirates is buying.

Emirates said yesterday it will take delivery of the latest 777s starting in 2015. Chicago-based Boeing said it has worked closely with the Middle East carrier to adapt the program to customer needs.

Emirates is also the biggest buyer of the Airbus A380 double-decker jumbo, having ordered 90. The carrier has turned itself into the world’s leading airline by international traffic, using its location in Dubai as a global hub.



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