By Aya Batrawy http://www.usatoday.com
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Boeing’ s planned 777X long-haul airliner grabbed the bulk of orders Sunday at the first day of the Dubai Airshow, with at least 225 planes on the books in an eye-popping display of the spending power and aggressive expansion efforts of Gulf carriers.
In total, Boeing says that it netted at least 367 orders in deals believed to exceed $130 billion at the Middle East’s premier aviation fair. Boeing CEO James McNerney Jr. called it part of the “largest commercial launch in aviation history” for a planned aircraft: the bigger and more fuel-efficient model of the company’s popular 777 wide-body.
European rival Airbus opened the five-day airshow by announcing a $23 billion order for 50 A380s – its main competition for the 777X – by Dubai-based Emirates.
The Dubai Airshow is seen as an increasingly important barometer on the state of the industry and the rising roles of the big-spending Gulf carriers Etihad, Qatar Airways and Emirates as they compete for routes and critical stopover traffic between Asia and Europe and the Americas. This year’s edition appears on track to surpass the record $155 billion in deals in the 2007 event before the global economic downturn. More info