UAE airline places $2.8 bn order for Boeing planes

December 13th, 2011 - 2:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Chicago, Dec 13 (IANS) The United Arab Emirates’ Etihad Airways announced Monday that it would order 10 787-9 Dreamliners and two Boeing 777 Freighters in a deal worth $2.8 billion.

With that order, the airline now becomes the world’s largest Dreamliner customer, a total of 41 planes booked for production, said Xinhua.

Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said he hoped the Boeing deal would help accelerate his company’s growth pace as it has been expanding rapidly since inception in 2003.

“Both the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the 777 Freighter offer highly attractive operating economics and will facilitate our global expansion plans by allowing us to transport passengers and cargo into new global markets from our hub in Abu Dhabi,” Hogan said in a statement.

Made of composite materials and claimed by Boeing to be 20 percent more fuel-efficient than other similarly-sized aircrafts, the 787 Dreamliner model has attracted attention for both its economic and environmental benefits.

According to a Boeing spokesperson, a total of 835 Dreamliner planes are currently on order from 58 customers worldwide, and that demand has been “significant”.

“We continue to see orders and interest for the 787, not only from airlines but also from passengers around the world,” she said.

However, the slow production and repeated delays have also heavily marked the Dreamliner debut. Originally scheduled for 2008, the 787 Dreamliner’s first commercial flight took place only this October, a month after the planes were finally delivered to Japan’s All Nippon Airways.

Dreamliner production delays had prompted some airlines to cancel their orders from the world’s second largest airplane manufacturer.

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