DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Dubai's fast-growing airline, Emirates, is kicking off the Mideast city's airshow with an order for 50 Boeing 777s.
The list price for the deal is $18 billion, but airlines typically negotiate discounts for large orders. The announcement was made Sunday by Emirates chairman and CEO Sheik Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
Emirates is the Middle East's largest carrier. It is owned by the government of Dubai, which is recovering from a debt-fueled financial crisis that came to a head two years ago.
The carrier is Boeing's largest customer for the wide-body 777. Its young fleet also includes Airbus A330s and A340s, and the double-decker A380.
Boeing competitor Airbus predicted the Middle East will require some 1,920 new planes worth more than $347 billion through 2030. But Boeing thinks the potential market is even bigger: Its forecast puts Mideast demand at 2,520 planes worth $450 billion by the end of next decade.
Monday Boeing said that Oman Air has ordered six 787-8 planes, although that won't translate into additional business for Boeing because Oman Air is taking over orders previously placed by another firm.
Dr. Joe Schwieterman is an airline expert expert at Depaul University. He said Boeing’s new order shows that it has a real leg up on its European rival, Airbus.
"We are hoping this is a sign that the general aircraft market is going to really pick up. You know fuel prices are down a bit so Boeing’s opting for a bit of the older technology with the 777 the sort of the high tech 787 this selling quiet as fast right now," Schwieterman said.