Emirates has surprised visitors to the Dubai Airshow 2017 with a surprise order for 40 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners after earlier saying all plans for such an order "had been placed on hold."
The Dubai-based airline's chairman, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, made the headline announcement today after an hour long wait for an impromptu press conference which most had assumed was to announce an order for Airbus A380s.
The order, valued $15.1 billion at list prices, will see Emirates take the aircraft in from 2022. Emirates expects to make another announcement regarding engine options once they have been decided, Sheikh Ahmed added.
No word about any orders for Airbus A380s has been made public yet, although reports over the past week had indicated Emirates is close to signing a deal for a similar number of A380s valued at close to $16 billion.
Emirates "always wants to be ahead of the game," Sheikh Ahmed said at the announcement for the largest variant of Boeing's most expensive aircraft. The agreement includes conversion rights to switch the aircraft to 787-9s, from 787-10s. Aircraft will be delivered in a mix of two and three-cabin class configurations, potentially seating between 240 and 330 passengers.
Emirates' announcement, made in the presence of the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, as well as representatives from the US Commerce Department shores up Emirates stance that it supports thousands of jobs and consequently the economy of the US.
The new order will create and support over 78,000 additional jobs in US aerospace manufacturing, Emirates said in a statement, and comes on top of Emirates’ historic purchase of 150 Boeing 777X aircraft equipped with GE9X engines at the 2013 Dubai Air Show, to be delivered from 2020 onwards.
Emirates is the largest Boeing 777 operator with 165 777s in service. With its order for 40 Dreamliners, Emirates will have committed to future delivery of 204 Boeing wide-body aircraft.