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Record Orders Racked Up At Dubai Airshow

by Lorys Charlambous,, Cyprus

15 November 2007

The 10th Dubai Air Show concluded on November 15 with onsite sales figures of over $100 billion - reputedly the highest ever for any global aviation event.

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus was seemingly the major winner from the event, having secured 163 firm orders from 10 customers, valued at over $28 billion at catalogue prices. Airbus also won its largest ever order in terms of value, for 70 A350 XWBs and 11 A380s from Dubai-based Emirates Airline. In addition, it received 132 commitments from four customers.

Demand for the Airbus A350 XWB was very strong, with a total of 80 firm orders from two customers. In addition to the Emirates order for 70 aircraft, Airbus received a firm contract from Yemenia for ten A350s. Also, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise Capital (DAE-Capital) committed to acquire 30 A350s, while C Jet Limited of Hong Kong became the first customer for the VIP version of the plane, the A350XWB Prestige. Total firm orders for the type now stand at 276 from 11 customers.

The Dubai Airshow also reconfirmed the importance of the A380 to the world market. In addition to the Emirates order for 11 additional aircraft, Airbus received the first order for a private A380. The order was placed by Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, and opens a new market for Airbus’ all new “gentle green giant”.

Airbus’s Single Aisle Family continued its success with 66 firm orders, plus commitments for an additional 101 received from nine customers, including 20 from NAS, 70 from DAE Capital, 22 from Saudi Arabian Airlines, 34 from Air Arabia, eight from Air Blue, nine from Nile Air and four from private customers. The order from Saudi Arabian Airlines was the first from the airline in 25 years.

The orders received during the show also included a firm order for five A330s from Oman Air.

“This Airshow has confirmed that Airbus is very much back on the market, continuing to satisfy customers with the right products,” commented Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers John Leahy.

“The A380 and A350 XWB have been the highlight of the show, receiving tremendous customer endorsement. They will lead the way in the future in terms of aircraft technology, passenger comfort and environment friendliness.”

Meanwhile, Airbus's main rival, Boeing, signed a proposal acceptance at the show for 100 airplanes, including four of Boeing's production models (70 737s and a mix of 787s, 777s and 747s), although the US manufacturer was largely overshadowed by its European rival.

Business was brisk from start to finish at this year's show, with airlines anxious to add to their fleets. Saudi Arabia’s National Air Services (NAS), the fastest-growing independent provider of aviation services in the Middle East, told media at the show that it intends to add 120 new aircraft to its fleet over the next five years. These orders are expected to exceed $4 billion in value.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi-based Royal Jet, which has also announced a five-year fleet expansion plan, has said it will also totally refurbish its Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) fleet of five – currently the world’s largest. The luxury executive jet provider says configuration lay-outs will be overhauled and upgraded, and interiors revamped. Three of the five BBJs which have bedrooms on board will be upgraded with the installation of luxury showers in the adjoining bathrooms.

In addition, Eclipse Aviation, the manufacturer of the world’s first Very Light Jet (VLJ) has sold 12 Eclipse 500 jets to Dubai Aerospace Enterprise Flight Academy, the first of which will be delivered next year.

The Alpha Aviation Group, a specialist global aviation training provider, sealed a joint venture with Sharjah’s Air Arabia to launch a new US $20 million International Aviation Training Academy in the northern emirate.

Europe Aviation and Fujairah International Airport also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop an Aircraft Maintenance Facility at the airport, signalling the emirate’s growing importance as an aviation centre on the UAE’s east coast.

“The entire regional aviation sector has demonstrated commitment to huge investment and expansion at this show which can only be good for the Dubai Airshow, which will mirror the growth,” observed Virginia Kern, Chairman of Fairs & Exhibitions (F&E), which organises the event in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Authority of Dubai and in collaboration with the UAE Armed Forces.

Dubai Airshow 2007 featured 850 exhibitors from 50 countries, 11 national pavilions and over 140 aircraft. The show will move next year to a larger purpose-built site at the Dubai World Central.

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