UAE places one of largest orders in aviation history

July 15th, 2008 - 6:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Abu Dhabi, July 15 (IANS) The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) national carrier Etihad Airways has placed one of the biggest aircraft orders in commercial aviation history, booking aircraft worth $43 billion at the ongoing Farnborough International Airshow in Britain. The airline has ordered 205 wide-body and narrow-body planes with both Airbus and Boeing. It comprises 100 firm orders, 55 options and 50 purchase rights in a combination of Boeing and Airbus aircraft.

The orders were announced by Etihad Airways chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif Al Nahyan and chief executive James Hogan Monday, the first day of the weeklong airshow, Etihad statement here said.

“This is a momentous day for Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi, and represents one of the largest aircraft orders in commercial aviation history,” Hogan said in the statement.

“It reflects the strength and pace of economic growth in the emirate (of Abu Dhabi) and the integral role Etihad will play in Abu Dhabi’s future,” he said.

The future would see planned investments in infrastructure, and projects in Abu Dhabi will likely exceed $200 billion during the next 10 years, an aggressive tourism push and enormous residential development, he added.

“We are extremely proud to play a leading role in realising these exciting plans in the years ahead.”

With Airbus, the Abu Dhabi-based airline placed orders for 20 A320 aircraft, 25 A350 aircraft and 10 A380 aircraft.

There are also options for five A320s, 10 A350s and five A380s together with purchase rights for a further 15 A320s, 15 A350s and five A380s, according to the airline statement.

With Boeing, it placed orders for 35 B-787 planes and 10 B-777-300ERs.

There are also options for 25 B-787s and 10 B-777-300ERs and purchase rights for a further 10 B-787s and five B-777s.

“The size of our order also mirrors the rising prominence of the Middle East and its increasing emergence as a new focal point of global aviation and a natural air bridge between East and West offering the fastest air links for travellers and freight forwarders,” Hogan said.

Sheikh Ahmed said: “This aircraft order is another major step forward in our journey and will enable us to continue our exciting expansion plans by adding new destinations to our growing global network and fulfil our aspirations of bringing Abu Dhabi to the world.”

So far this year, the airline has started new flights to Beijing. August will see Chennai and Kozhikode, and Minsk in Belarus added to its destination network.

Etihad will also launch new services in December to Moscow and Almaty in Kazakhstan.

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