Emirates orders $9bn of planes at Farnborough

Boeing and Airbus win orders worth $13.5bn at the Farnborough airshow when Emirates airline and a new US leasing company snap up 81 jets.

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Boeing and Airbus won orders worth US$13.5bn at the Farnborough airshow today when Dubai's Emirates airline and a new US leasing company snapped up 81 jets. Emirates further boosted its reputation as the world's most bullish airline with an order for 30 Boeing long-range 777 aircraft worth a combined $9.1bn. Airbus meanwhile won a $4.4bn order from US group Air Lease Corporation (ALC) for 51 single-aisle A320 jets.

The orders for US aerospace giant Boeing and its fierce European rival Airbus come as the aviation industry recovers from the economic downturn amid rising demand for air travel in the Middle East and Asia. Emirates chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said his decision to expand the airline's 777 fleet reflected plans to grow its "expansive global network, which already spans six continents".

"It also demonstrates our commitment to operating a modern fleet that not only enhances the passenger experience but our operational efficiency as well," he added. Only a month ago, Emirates agreed to spend $11.5bn on 32 Airbus superjumbos - the biggest contract in civil aviation history. Today ALC said it had chosen to place its first firm order for new aircraft with Airbus. The deal is for 31 A320 aircraft and 20 A321 planes, which come under the A320 family of single-aisle jets.

"With a wide airline customer base, and the continued global demand for replacement and growth, the A320 and the A321 are an integral part of our fleet portfolio strategy," said ALC chief executive Steven F. Udvar-Hazy. "In today's airline world, low operating costs, fuel efficiency, environmental friendliness and maximum operating flexibility are important ingredients. "The latest versions of the Airbus family of single aisle aircraft meet and exceed those high standards," he added.

Boeing will be hoping to secure more orders here for its mid-sized 787 Dreamliner, a fuel-efficient jet which will be on display in Farnborough after making its first flight outside of the United States yesterday. Airbus is working on a new long-haul plane of its own - the A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body). Another big project for Airbus is its long-delayed A400M military transport plane, which is set to make a flypast at Farnborough.