Boeing Takes $106 Billion in Orders, Commitments at Dubai Airshow

Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) introduced its new 777X twin-engine, long-distance airliner to record-breaking demand at the Dubai Airshow Sunday. The company says its 77X, "the largest, most efficient twin-engine jet in the world," is the first airplane of similar size in history to win 259 orders and order commitments on the first day of its launch.

Four big customers placed orders (or commitments to place orders) for the plane Sunday:

  • Emirates Airlines, now the world's biggest international carrier, wants 150 units of the 777X.
  • Rival Gulf airline Qatar Airways wants 50 planes.
  • Etihad, also in the Gulf, would like 25.
  • Lufthansa -- quite a ways removed from the Gulf, as it's based in Germany -- has ordered 34.

At advertised list prices, which are as a rule discounted for bulk purchases, and discounted even further for launch customers, Boeing says the orders total $95 billion in value.

Boeing intends to build the 777X in two sizes initially:

  • a 350-seat 777-8X with a range of 9,300 nautical miles, which will compete directly with Airbus' A350-1000. ( Airbus said it took 142 orders worth about $40 billion at the first day of the airshow.)
  • a larger, 400-plus-seat, 8,200-nautical-mile-range 777-9X that Boeing claims is "in a class by itself."

Featuring advanced new GE9X jet engines from General Electric, folding, raked wingtips and "optimized" wingspans to deliver greater efficiency, Boeing touts the planes as being "12% more fuel efficient than any competing airplane."

In related news, Boeing announced that short-haul Gulf carrier flydubai has committed to buy 100 of the company's 737 MAX 8 single-aisle jets, and 11 Next-Generation 737-800s in a separate deal valued at $11.4 billion at list prices, pushing combined orders-and-commitments for Boeing Sunday past $106 billion.

The Dubai Airshow is seen as an increasingly important barometer on the state of the aviation industry and the rising roles of the big-spending Gulf carriers Etihad, Qatar Airways, Emirates and flydubai as they compete for routes and critical stopover traffic between Asia and Europe and the Americas. This year's event surpassed the record $155 billion in deals in 2007's edition, before the global economic downturn.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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