Boeing clinches Emirates cargo order

Emirates SkyCargo placed a firm US$3.3 billion order for ten Boeing 747-8 freighters at Farnborough Airshow last month.

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By  Mark Foxwell Published  August 20, 2006

Emirates SkyCargo placed a firm US$3.3 billion order for ten Boeing 747-8 freighters at Farnborough Airshow last month. The order came as a surprise to the industry after the airline had been tipped to order additional Airbus A380s to be converted into freighters. Hiran Perera, Emirates vice president for cargo-freighters, told Air Cargo: “We chose Boeing’s 747-8 because of its impressive technology and fuel efficiency. We were in negotiations with Airbus for an additional two A380s, but due to delivery delays and certain issues on the freighter, we went with Boeing.” Perera added that Emirates has not ruled out using the A380 as a freighter in the future. “Many airports do not cater for an aircraft of such size. However this may change,” he said. The agreement was signed at Farnborough in the UK, by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline and Group, and Alan Mulally, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive officer. The engine component of the deal is valued at more than $600 million. Sheikh Ahmed and GE Aviation’s president and CEO, Scott Donnelly, also signed a letter of intent last month for 45 GEnx jet engines to power the new aircraft ordered. The ten 747-8F aircraft, scheduled for delivery from 2010, will support Emirates’ long-term growth plans by providing additional capacity and operational flexibility for its air cargo services. Emirates currently operates nine wide-bodied Boeing 747Fs and Airbus A310Fs, and also has eight 777Fs on its order books. Sheikh Ahmed said: “Worldwide air cargo traffic is projected to grow by over 6% annually for the next two decades, tripling over current traffic levels. “The 747-8 freighters we have ordered will put Emirates in a strong position to tap into the growth of cargo traffic and reinforce Dubai’s standing as a growing international hub for air cargo and logistics. “This acquisition is an important building block in our long-term growth plans, and will help Emirates SkyCargo reinforce its position in the top league of leading cargo carriers.” The range and economics of the new 747-8Fs will provide Emirates SkyCargo with the flexibility to deploy the aircraft on a variety of routes within a range of up to 4475 nautical miles. Dubai’s location means the airline could potentially operate non-stop air cargo services, flying with a full load, to Africa, Europe, the rest of the Middle East and most of Asia. “We are very pleased that Emirates has chosen the 747-8F to bring the newest technology to its freighter fleet,” Boeing’s Mulally said. “The new 747-8F has been designed to deliver the best economics of any freighter aircraft. With the technology improvements brought from the 787 programme, including new-generation engines, the 747-8 Freighter will be lighter and more fuel efficient while providing more revenue-earning cargo space. This is great news for Emirates, and great news for the 747-8 programme,” he added. The new 747-8Fs offer 16% more cargo volume and 15% lower tonne-mile costs than the classic 747-400F. Currently under development, the new GEnx jet engines powering these aircraft have been designed for greater engine durability, weight reduction and lower operating costs. The GEnx also provides significantly better specific fuel consumption and payload performance than its predecessor the CF6, and it is already the best-selling engine for new wide-body aircraft. With the implementation of the agreement for 747-8Fs, Emirates will have more than 100 wide-bodied jets pending delivery, worth approximately $30 billion.

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