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Emirates firms up Boeing freighter order

Emirates firms up order for ten 747-8 Freighters and takes options on a further ten.

Emirates Airline has firmed up an order placed at Farnborough for 10 Boeing 747-8 Freighters, as well as taking up rights to buy a further ten. The combined value of the 20 aircraft is US $5.6 billion at list prices.

“Our order for the 747-8Fs will be essential in helping us service our rapidly growing network of 28 freighter destinations, which include exclusive freighter services in Bangalore, Lilongwe, Gothenburg, Amsterdam and Taipei,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman and chief executive, Emirates Group. “Our cargo operation currently also serve Emirates’ 85 destinations as belly-hold space in our scheduled passenger services.”

Emirates currently operates a total of 9 Boeing 747Fs and Airbus A310Fs, and has eight 777Fs on order. Delivery of the new 747-8Fs is due to begin in 2010.

Emirates says that it purchased the 747-8F in order to increase capacity and operational flexibility.

According to Boeing, the 747-8 Freighter improves on the current 747-400F with 16% more payload capacity, while maintaining its popular nose-door-loading capability. The plane also boasts new wings and General Electric GEnx engines that are designed to improve fuel efficiency and reduce noise.

Sheikh Ahmed, Emirates chairman and CEO, and Boeing’s regional sales director, Ken Schulz, were the two officials who signed the order.

Schulz said: “Boeing would like to congratulate Emirates SkyCargo on its success. We’re confident the 747-8 brings the economics and reliability that will help the company continue to expand its freight-carrying capabilities around the world.”

Emirates SkyCargo, the air freight division of the Emirates Group, flew around 1 million tonnes of cargo in financial year 2005-06. That represented growth of 180,000 tonnes, or 21.5%, over the previous year’s figure of 838,400 tonnes.

The cargo division’s total revenue of AED 4.5 billion (US $1.2 billion) in 2005-06 was AED 1 billion ($274 million), or 29.2%, higher than the year before. Asia-Pacific contributed 41.6% of the revenue; Europe and Americas chipped in 19.3%; the Indian Sub-continent 14.6%; and the Middle East & Africa 24.5%.

Emirates SkyCargo contributed 21.2% of the airline’s transport revenue.

Emirates SkyCargo serves 85 destinations in 57 countries through belly-hold capacity. Its dedicated freighters serve 28 airports, including four cargo-only destinations.

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