Emirates will add 30 787-9 Dreamliners to its fleet at the expense of some of the 777Xs it has on order, it was announced at the Dubai Airshow on Wednesday.
The long-awaited deal for the aircraft is worth $8.8 billion list price and will see Emirates’ previous order for 156 777Xs trimmed to 126 as it exercises its right to make the substitution.
Deliveries of the 787-9 variant are expected to begin in 2023, with the aircraft being brought in to allow the airlines to “restart its expansion” in the early 2020s, according to president Sir Tim Clark.
Emirates had previously signed an initial agreement for the larger 787-10 variant.
Cark said: “What you’re seeing today…is a recognition of very, very useful tools to be able to get that network in a manner that by the early 2020s Emirates will restart its expansion in no uncertain terms.
“The beauty about the 787 is that we can have it sooner rather than later and we can get cracking on some of those routes that we really want to get into.”
He said that the airline has been considering the 787 “for a very long time” and wants to get it into Emirates’ network as soon as possible.
“We now want to introduce it onto some of the thinner routes where the 787 comes into its own both in the medium and long-haul operations,” Clark said.
Boeing’s ongoing 777X production delay has frustrated Emirates as it attempts to prepare its all-wide-body fleet for the future following the axing of the A380 programme.
Earlier in the week, the carrier unveiled a $16 billion order for 50 A350-900s. The airline has so far announced $24 billion of orders at the Dubai Airshow.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates’ chairman said: “The 787s will complement our fleet mix by expanding our operational flexibility in terms of capacity, range and deployment. We are also pleased to reaffirm our commitment to the Boeing 777X programme and look forward to its entry into service.
An engine supplier for the 787-9s is yet to be decided on.