Hamburg, Germany: Leading global carrier, and Gulf heavyweight, Emirates, has signed a letter of intent to buy 60 more Airbus planes, its chief executive Sheikh Ahmed ibn Said al-Maktoum said here Monday. The order includes 30 A330-300 and 30 A350 XWB aircraft.
The announcement came even as the carrier took delivery of its first A380 super jumbo aircraft. The delivery of the first super jumbo for Emirates comes after a long delay, as the aircraft was originally due for delivery in October 2007.
As for the fresh orders, long-haul aircraft such as the A330 and A350 have a catalogue price of about $200 million (125 million euros), which would value the total order at about $12 billion. It is customary, though, that large orders also invite large discounts from manufacturers.
Emirates is the largest customer of the Airbus A380 with a total of 58 such aircraft on order. As for the first delivery, Emirates had announced in June that it would launch non-stop service between Dubai and New York on 1 August with delivery of this first aircraft.
This will also make it the first commercial service to the United States for the world's biggest passenger jet.
According to Emirates, the other destinations it intends to serve with its fleet of A380 super jumbos are London, Sydney and Auckland.
"A380 will represent... one of the essential pillars for Emirates' growth in the future," Sheikh Maktoum said on Saturday.
Emirates is also the fastest growing carrier in the Middle East.