Sheikhs on a Plane: Major Airbus Order by Emirates Hits Boeing Hard

A picture shows an Airbus A380 of Emirates bearing the portrait of late UAE's founder and late president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan during the Dubai Airshow on November 12, 2017, in the United Arab Emirates. / AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

Expect to see more Emirates Airbus A380 aircraft bearing the outline of founder Sheikh Zayed on their fuselage now the Dubai-based carrier has signed a massive order for more of the “super jumbos” to service their long haul routes.

Emirates announced the $16 billion deal to buy 36 Airbus A380s just days after the group said it would have to halt production without new orders. A special tribute to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father of the United Arab Emirates, is emblazened on many of the company’s A380s with more to come under the new deal with the European manufacturer.

Ten Emirates aircraft – five Airbus A380s and five Boeing 777-300ERs – will carry the special design and travel across the Emirates network in 2018. The unique livery is the first time Emirates has featured a customised decal of a well-known public figure.

The Airbus sale caps end of frenetic selling in the closing weeks of 2017 that saw Airbus overhaul Boeing’s recent lead in the global jet market to win their annual order contest for the fifth year running.

Emirates’ decision in 2007 to pursue the A380, capable of packing in a total of 853 seats, was diametrically opposed to rival Boeing’s bet on the Dreamliner and 777X, marketed as a more efficient aircraft that could be used for both medium and long-distance flights.

Overall Chicago-based Boeing delivered 763 commercial planes in 2017, while Airbus dispatched 718 jets, however Boeing had hoped to sell more planes into Emirates burgeoning fleet.

Last November it sold 40 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners, worth US$ 15.1 billion, to Emirates, takes the carrier’s total wide-body commitment with Boeing to 204 units.

To date over 85 million passengers have flown on the Emirates A380 in a partnership with Airbus that spans decades. Emirates is by far the largest Airbus A380 operator on the planet with 101 A380s in service.

The airline receives on average 11 A380 deliveries per year, starting from its first aircraft in August 2008. In its 2016/17 financial year, Emirates received a record 19 new A380 aircraft.

However it’s not all headwinds for Boeing in the Middle East. As Breitbart Jerusalem reported, less than 12 months ago it signed a new, $3 billion deal with Iran’s Aseman Airlines to supply 30 737 MAX aircraft to the carrier, a new agreement on top of the $16.6 billion sale it made in the Mideast nation following the landmark nuclear deal.

Boeing said the deal also includes purchase rights for an additional 30 737 MAX aircraft for Tehran-based Aseman, which flies domestic and international routes.

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