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Originally published November 17, 2013 at 8:18 PM | Page modified November 18, 2013 at 7:32 PM

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Boeing’s 777X takes off with big Mideast orders

Three Middle Eastern airlines signed up Sunday to buy 225 of Boeing’s new 777X jets, helping to bring the initial batch of orders for the plane to $95 billion, a strong start for sales of the commercial jet.

The New York Times

Boeing orders

Boeing netted about $100 billion in orders Sunday during the first day of the Dubai Airshow.

Its orders totaled more than twice the value of those of its European rival Airbus, which said it took 142 orders worth about $40 billion.

Here are some details on some of its largest orders:

Dubai-based Emirates ordered 150 of the planned 777X aircraft in a deal worth $55.6 billion. The aircraft is a larger and more fuel-efficient model of the Everett-made, popular 777 widebody.

Etihad Airways ordered 56 widebody aircraft with options and purchase rights for an additional 26. That deal is worth $25.2 billion at list prices and includes 30 of Boeing’s 787-10 aircraft, along with 25 777X aircraft and one cargo plane.

Qatar Airways ordered 50 777X aircraft in a deal the airline valued at $19 billion at list prices.

Flydubai, a budget carrier, committed to buy up to 111 Boeing 737 aircraft.

The Associated Press

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Three Middle Eastern airlines signed up Sunday to buy 225 of Boeing’s new 777X jets, helping to bring the initial batch of orders for the plane to $95 billion, a strong start for sales of the commercial jet.

That total, based on list prices, also includes 34 jets that Lufthansa had previously said it would order. The latest deals came on the first day of the Dubai Airshow, as airlines from the Persian Gulf region announced more than $150 billion in orders for a variety of planes.

The flood of orders highlighted how the big money in aviation is shifting to the Middle East and Asia. Orders from the region also provided a boost to Airbus’ beleaguered A380 jumbo jet, the world’s largest passenger plane.

The airline Emirates, which ordered 150 of the 777Xs, said it would also buy 50 more A380s, which have had disappointing sales overall. The A380 deal would be worth $23 billion at list prices, though Boeing and Airbus offer undisclosed discounts on nearly all their sales.

Airbus is under pressure to revive interest in the A380. The plane has had no buyers so far this year, and Airbus has said the lack of demand could result in a cut in production.

Still, the biggest news was the formal rollout of the twin-engine 777X, which will provide a more fuel-efficient replacement for Boeing’s popular 777 jets by about 2020.

Boeing executives reiterated Saturday that they would consider several sites to build the plane after members of the Machinist union in Washington resoundingly rejected a proposed contract extension last week.

The updated 777 will have new engines and lighter-weight carbon-composite wings and will save 12 percent on fuel costs compared with rival planes, Boeing said.

It will come in two versions: a 777-9X, which will be able to fly more than 400 passengers for up to 8,200 nautical miles; and a 777-8X, which will seat 350 passengers but fly more than 9,300 nautical miles.

Boeing said the planes, which are still being designed, would be formally named later. Production is scheduled to begin in 2017.

Etihad Airways also announced an order, for 25 of the 777Xs. Emirates and Etihad are both based in the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar Airways said it would buy 50 of the new jets.

All told, Boeing said it received orders on the first day of the air show for 342 planes, including 737s and its new 787 Dreamliner. That included the 1,000th order for the Dreamliner, the first passenger jet made substantially with carbon composites to reduce weight and fuel costs.

The 777X and the 787 will both compete with Airbus’ forthcoming A350 family of jets, which also will be made extensively with carbon composites. The A350 models have already picked up several orders from customers who had traditionally bought Boeing planes.

Boeing had said it would build the 777X in Washington, possibly creating 10,000 jobs, if the Machinists approved an eight-year contract extension that would protect the company from strikes through 2024.

But the workers rejected the proposal by 2-to-1, with many workers taking issue with provisions that would freeze their pension benefits, increase their health-care costs and provide salary increases of only 1 percent every other year on top of annual cost-of-living escalations.

As a result, Boeing said it would open up the competition for the plant to cities in South Carolina, Alabama, California and Utah.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner told reporters in Dubai on Saturday that the company had no plans at this point to reopen the talks with the union.

Some of the other states in the running have offered tax incentives to Boeing and could also provide cheaper labor that is not necessarily unionized.

The Washington Legislature passed tax incentives for the company Nov. 9, and Gov. Jay Inslee has said he would work to resolve differences between Boeing and the union.

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