Middle East aircraft orders total billions

Orders worth US$28.5 billion for some 180 aircraft were announced by five Middle East airlines at the Farnborough Airshow 2008
HH Dr Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif Al Nahyan
HH Dr Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif Al Nahyan

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Orders worth US$28.5 billion for some 180 aircraft were announced by five Middle East airlines at the Farnborough Airshow 2008.

Etihad Airways, FlyDubai, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Qatar Airways and Tunisair all announced orders within the first two days of business at the event.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is ordering 35 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 10 Boeing 777s as part of its fleet expansion programme. The order is also accompanied by options for 25 787s and 10 777s, and purchase rights on 10 more 787s and five 777s. Its 777s will have General Electric 90 engines although no engine selection has yet been made for the 787s.

The airline has also confirmed an order for 20 Airbus 320s, 25 A350s and 10 A380s. Etihad Airways has also taken options on a further 20 Airbus aircraft and purchase rights over 35 more.

Dubai-based start-up budget carrier FlyDubai is to order 54 Boeing 737-800s with deliveries expected to begin in May 2009. FlyDubai will serve regional Gulf destinations from the Emirate's Al Maktoum International Airport at Jebel Ali.

Saudi Arabian Airlines has signed a contract with Airbus for eight A330-300 wide body aircraft, as part of its fleet modernisation plan. The contract follows one for 22 A320s signed at the end of 2007, marking the first agreement in 26 years between Saudi Arabia's national airline and Airbus for commercial aircraft.

Qatar Airways has ordered four more A321s and has placed options on two more aircraft. With this latest acquisition, Qatar Airways will boost its fleet to 14 A321s, 11 A320s and two A319s by 2010.

Tunisair has placed an order for 16 Airbus aircraft consisting of three A350 XWBs, three A330s and 10 A320s; options have been retained on a further three aircraft. A320 deliveries will take place between 2011 to 2016 with two of the A330 aircraft arriving in 2012 and the third in 2013.

Tunisair's first two A350s will be delivered in 2018.

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