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Flydubai announces $11bn wide-body Dreamliner deal

An engine for a Boeing 787 is pictured at Boeing's production facility in Everett, Washington, U.S. Reuters/Jason Redmond
An engine for a 787 ready for installation at Boeing's plant in the US. Flydubai has ordered 30 of the aircraft
  • Boeing order ‘signals new chapter’
  • Emirates also places $52bn order
  • Fleet of 205 777X aircraft planned

Low-cost carrier Flydubai has announced the biggest change in its 15-year existence, with an order for 30 wide-body Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

Flydubai’s chairman, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said on Monday that the $11 billion order “signals a new chapter for the airline”.

The airline is best known for its fleet of narrow-body Boeing 737s, which serve 120 destinations in Europe, Africa and Asia. 

Delivery of the order, announced on the opening day of the Dubai Airshow, is scheduled from 2026.

Flydubai has taken delivery of seven new aircraft since the start of 2023, growing its fleet of Boeing 737s to 79, an increase of 23 percent year-on-year.

The budget airline reported profits of AED1.2 billion ($327 million) for 2022, an increase of 43 percent compared to the previous year. Annual revenue reached $2.5 billion, up from $1.4 billion. Flydubai carried 10.6 million passengers, up 89 percent.

Also on Monday, Dubai flag carrier Emirates announced a $52 billion order with Boeing for 55 777-9 aircraft, with seating for 426 passengers and a range of almost 13,492km.

In addition it ordered 35 777-8 aircraft, which can carry 384 passengers and have a range of just under 16,200km.

This takes the total number of 777X aircraft currently on order from Emirates to 205.

Emirates has also increased its Dreamliner order from 30 to 35, made up of 15 787-10 aircraft and 20 787-8s.

Boeing’s latest commercial market outlook report predicts delivery of 3,025 new planes in total to the Middle East by 2042, which includes 1,350 wide-body jets. 

Wide-body jets make up 45 percent of predicted deliveries to Middle East airlines over the next 20 years. This is the highest percentage among the 10 global regions featured in the report.

Emirates has also signed a deal with General Electric for 202 GE9X engines, described as the “most powerful commercial aircraft engines in the world” by GE’s chairman and CEO, Larry Culp. It brings the total order for GE9X engines to 460 units.

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