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B787 believed to have edge in huge Emirates order

August 4, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

One of the world’s biggest and richest airlines, Emirates, has set an end-of-year deadline for making the final decision on a multi-billion-dollar order which will see it choose between Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner or the big rival, Airbus’ A350.

The National, a major news source in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), reports that chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoun, has confirmed the carrier will make the big decision by the end of 2017.

As the largest operator of wide-body aircraft globally, Emirates is in a powerful position. If anyone can get a good deal on a mega-order for aircraft, it will be Emirates.

Emirates is a major commercial partner of Qantas, but the two carriers are in an unusual position when it comes to fleet harmonisation. Emirates is the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 777. Qantas has none at all.

Both Qantas and Emirates operate A380s and in June, Bloomberg reported that Emirates was negotiating to buy 20 A380s in a deal worth about USD 8.7 billion (at list prices before bulk-purchase discount).

On the big decision between the A350 and B777, Boeing has the price edge. According to The National, an order of 20 B787s is valued at about USD 5.4 billion (list price) while an order for 20 A350s is worth about USD 6.3 billion.

Emirates cancelled a colossal order for 70 A350s – valued at USD 16 billion – in 2014. That makes the chances of a repeat order potentially unlikely, The National surmises. It points out that Emirates’ new agreement with low-cost carrier flydubai (which operates single-aisle planes) may require greater fleet integration.

Will Horton, senior analyst at the Centre for Aviation (Capa) says the 787 is “the favourite as it stands” when Emirates makes a choice.

Chief analyst for London-based Strategic Aero Research, Saj Ahmad, agrees. He too believes the B787 is “right sized” for Emirates.

Written by Peter Needham

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