Dubai Airshow kicks off with eyes on Boeing 777X


Leaders of global aviation are set to place orders worth nearly $200 billion in the Dubai Airshow which kicked off on Sunday. 

The Airshow will continue for five days in United Arab Emirates and is being organized by London-based F&E Aerospace.

Boeing netted at least 367 orders on the opening day, in deals believed to exceed $130 billion. Of 367 orders, 225 orders were placed for 777X, the revamped successor to Boeing's 777 aircraft. Leading the buyers for Boeing, Emirates Airline placed orders for 150 777X aircraft, Qatar Airways placed 50, and 25 orders were placed by Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways. Germany's Lufthansa has already finalized the deal to buy 34 planes in the days to come.

Rival Airbus received $23 billion order for 50 A380s from Emirates, whose chief Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said its order cements its status as the single largest operator of the long-haul airliner.  

In days to come, Middle East is going to witness a fierce contest between Boeing and Airbus.

The four-engined 777X is Boeing's response to rival Airbus' A350-1000, and can seat up to 350-406 people.

Other aircraft in demand are Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, 737 MAX and 787, whose Airbus couterparts are A350, A320neos and A330s.

In all, $192.3 billion worth of deals were announced for commercial aircraft on opening day, a new record that beats the orders from the entire 2007 airshow. 

"Our order book right now is looking very healthy," said Airshow CEO Sharief Fahmy in a statement. "In 2007, it was a kind of perfect storm that came together and we are seeing the makings of that perfect storm kind of coming together again."

The aviation industry in the United Arab Emirates is massive. 28 percent (about $22 billion) is being contributed to city-state's gross domestic product by Dubai alone. Boeing Co. forecasted that around 40,000 pilots and 53,000 related technicians will be needed in the next two decades in the Middle East.

"We built the forum for really all the big decision makers to come out and make the decisions about what's best for their militaries," Fahmy added. "The discussions that happen here and the deals that are made affect the lives or literally millions of people."

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