Emirates Airline is in advanced talks with Boeing to buy as many as 100 long-haul passenger jets, in what could be a record-breaking $30bn-plus commercial order for the US aircraft manufacturer.
The fast-growing Gulf carrier is also evaluating whether to buy more long-range aircraft from Airbus, including A380 superjumbos and the largest version of the European aircraft maker’s planned new A350 jet.
Emirates said it could unveil the deals at next month’s Dubai air show, although the airline stressed that no agreements had been finalised. Boeing and Airbus declined to comment.
State-controlled Emirates is growing rapidly and providing strong competition on long-haul routes for longer-established airlines around the world.
At March 31, Emirates had 187 wide-body passenger jets – the largest fleet of wide-body passenger jets in the world, according to the International Air Transport Association.
The airline is in talks with Boeing about being a launch customer for the US manufacturer’s upgrade to its 777 wide-body jet – a project dubbed the 777X. Tim Clark, Emirates Airline’s president, said: “We are in a relatively advanced stage of commercial negotiations . . . I think whatever happens there will be a substantive order for the new 777.”
Emirates is evaluating an order for between 100 and 175 of the 777X aircraft, which will feature more fuel efficient engines. Another person familiar with the discussions said the order was more likely to be for about 100 of these aircraft.
Emirates is considering both of the planned 777X models – the 777-8X, which will carry 350 passengers, and the 777-9X, which will have 400 seats.
Mr Clark said the 777X could have a list price of about $400m.
Lufthansalast month placed an order for 34 of the 777-9X aircraft, in a deal that implied a catalogue price of $359m, although the German airline would not confirm the figures.
If Emirates finalises an order for 100 777X jets, the deal might be worth between $30bn and $40bn at list price – although the airline would be expected to secure a substantial discount.
Emirates wants the 777X to replace its current generation 777 aircraft from 2020 onwards.
Emirates is also the largest operator of the Airbus A380, which is struggling to generate sales. The manufacturer has not announced a single order for the superjumbo this year.