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Monday, May 6, 2013

Emirates On The Next Gulf ‘War’ Between Airbus & Boeing

When Emirates president Tim Clark offers an opinion on Airbus or Boeing airliners it carries the weight of the Dubai carrier’s habit of ordering what it likes in the 100s.

Which makes his views on the Boeing 777-X, which Boeing can now offer for sale more than interesting in this report, and especially the way he links the prospects for this project to the need for Boeing to have learned from the 787 debacle, a jet Emirates always said was wrong for its particular needs.

Emirates, the world’s largest buyer and operator of the current series 777s, has been very bullish about the jet, which will get a new composite wing, a larger capacity cabin, and depending on the variant, other improvements to range/payload options.

But it wanted the 777-X as early as 2017, and Boeing is now talking about 2019, and Emirates is like the other newer large Gulf carriers in Qatar Airways and Etihad, ultra sensitive about delays.

Through Clark, Emirates has also in the past taken Airbus to task over changes it has announced in its A350-1000 model, which is the larger second version of the A350-900, the prototype of which is rumoured to be headed into the paint shop at Toulouse tonight, a further sign that the first flight of the new Airbus family is drawing closer.

Emirates has at last word, 70 A350s, both the -900 and -1000 version on order, while Qatar has 80 in total of both types on order, and will be the launch airline with a target for entry into service of the A350-900 in the second half of next year.

While both Airbus and Boeing might say that their 777s and A350s and proposed stretches for the 787 Dreamliners are not identical in range/payload capabilities to each other, they are competing with each other for the prodigious total fleet renewal and expansion budgets of the giant Gulf airlines.

In fact try as Boeing does to argue to the contrary, the later 787s may well complete for the dollars airlines will otherwise spend on 777-Xs as well as A350s, and similarly Airbus will face competition for its A350s not just from new Boeings, but its own existing A330s, which are a reliable, known, profitable set of airliners.

But when it comes to totally new designs like the 787s, and A350s, and from the sound of it, substantially modified 777s, the Gulf zone is where the next wide body marketing war between Boeing and Airbus is already well and truly underway.

Boeing needed to be able to offer the 777-Xs before the A350 becomes an in-flight under test reality. The new Airbus line up could be in production for as many as four years before the 777-Xs are deliverable. Thus Boeing needs to do everything to steal as much of their oxygen as possible, now.

And Emirates and Qatar Airways in particular, with Turkish Airlines looming ever larger on the horizon, will probably order large numbers of both 777-Xs and A350s anyhow. As well as more A380s, for which there is no credible Boeing competition.

Expect to learn a lot more about the exact offering for a stretched version, or maybe two, of the A380 by the end of the year.
An Emirates A380, but just insert a 777, an A350, or a 777-X, and you get the picture

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Live to love and love to live. The motto that I held on my entire life. Just a regular guy who loves what I am passionate in life. A song writer and producer. Living life on the move. From Malaysia to The States, New Zealand to Singapore. With the companion of great people in life. In and out from the music industry. Taking everything one step at a time. 
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