Dubai Airshow opens with Emirates’ $15.1 billion deal with Boeing

Participants walk past aircraft on stationary display at opening day of Dubai Airshow on November 12. (AFP)
Updated 13 November 2017

Dubai Airshow opens with Emirates’ $15.1 billion deal with Boeing

DUBAI: The biennial Dubai Airshow opened Sunday with hometown long-haul carrier Emirates making a $15.1 billion (SR56.63 billion) buy of American-made Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners, as the world’s biggest defense companies promoted their weapons amid heightened tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Other airlines also are taking part, but missing from the trade show this year is one of the region’s largest long-haul carriers, Qatar Airways, amid diplomatic fallout between Qatar and four Arab nations.
The Boeing announcement came after over an hour and a half of delays by Emirates amid rumors of a possible Airbus sale involving its A380 aircraft, a major workhorse for the airline. Journalists asked Emirates CEO and Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum about Boeing’s European competitor Airbus, specifically its A350.
“We were comparing the two apples,” he said, but found that the Boeing 787 is “the best option” for Emirates “given its maintenance and so on.”

The Boeing 787-10 typically lists for $312.8 million. Delivery will begin in 2022.
Chicago-based Boeing already has 171 787-10s on order. Among those waiting for the aircraft are Abu Dhabi-based Etihad. Boeing builds the 787 at its plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, which US President Donald Trump visited in February.
Last week, the US plane manufacturer secured an order valued at more than $37 billion at list price for 300 of its single-aisle and double-aisle planes during Trump’s visit to China. Trump also was present for the signing ceremony last month between Boeing and Singapore Airlines for 39 new aircraft, including 19 of the 787 Dreamliner, in a deal worth up to $14 billion.
Sheikh Ahmed made a point to say the deal will help create more jobs, long a mantra of Trump. The deal was signed in the presence of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, who also serves as the UAE’s prime minister and vice president.
“The order will take Emirates’ total (number of) wide body aircraft of the Boeing to 204 aircrafts, units worth over $90 billion,” Sheikh Ahmed said. “This is a long-term commitment that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs, not only at Boeing but also throughout the aviation supply chain.”

The airline’s business has suffered under Trump’s travel bans affecting predominantly Muslim nations, as well as the recent ban on laptops in airplane cabins. Emirates said it slashed 20 percent of its flights to the US in the wake of the restrictions. That’s in turn hurt Dubai International Airport, the home of Emirates and the world’s busiest international travel hub.
Emirates is the world’s largest Boeing 777 operator, with 165 in service today.
The air show comes as the Qatar dispute is now in its fifth month with no resolution in sight. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar in June over its ties with Iran and its support of Islamist groups, accusing the small Gulf state of supporting extremists, charges it denies. The Arab quartet cut direct flights with Qatar and closed their airspace to Qatari aircraft.

Qatar Airways previously had played a big role in the Dubai Air Show, reserving a large pavilion and displaying its latest aircraft to visitors.
At the start of the air show, Dubai-based Emirates, the Middle East’s largest carrier, unveiled new, state-of-the-art, first class private suites.
In an industry first, passenger suites in the middle aisle without windows will be fitted with “virtual windows” relaying the sky outside via fiber optic cameras on the plane. There’s also a video call feature in the suites that connects passengers to the cabin crew, as well as temperature control and various mood lighting settings.
Emirates President Tim Clark declined to say how much a ticket in the 40 square-foot (3.7-square-meter) private suite will cost. The private suites will be available on the airline’s Boeing 777.
In previous years, major Mideast carriers have flexed their spending power at the Dubai Air Show, including $140 billion in new orders announced in 2013 before the collapse of oil prices. Prices have rebounded recently to around $60 a barrel.
Regional tensions have spiked further since Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation last week in a pre-recorded video on a Saudi television station from Saudi Arabia. His surprise resignation has raised questions about whether the kingdom forced Hariri to resign in order to wreck the government and pressure the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group.
Saudi Arabia also has tightened its blockade on Yemen after Iranian-allied rebels there launched a missile at the Saudi capital, Riyadh, last week. The Saudi-led war in Yemen, which began in March 2015, has killed at least 10,000 civilians and pushed millions to the brink of famine. The United Nations and aid groups warn that the blockade could bring millions of people closer to “starvation and death.”

50 years after Concorde, US start-up eyes supersonic future

Boom Supersonic co-founder, Blake Scholl, poses for a photograph in front of an artists impression of his company's proposed design for an supersonic aircraft, dubbed Baby Boom, at the Farnborough Airshow, south west of London, on July 18, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 22 July 2018

50 years after Concorde, US start-up eyes supersonic future

  • Boom Supersonic’s aircraft is expected by the company to fly for the first time next year
  • The Concorde was retired following an accident in 2000 in which a Concorde crashed shortly after takeoff from Paris, killing 113 people

WEYBRIDGE, United Kingdom: Luxury air travel faster than the speed of sound: A US start-up is aiming to revive commercial supersonic flight 50 years after the ill-fated Concorde first took to the skies.
Blake Scholl, the former Amazon staffer who co-founded Boom Supersonic, delivered the pledge this week in front of a fully-restored Concorde jet at the Brooklands aviation and motor museum in Weybridge, southwest of London.
Boom Supersonic’s backers include Richard Branson and Japan Airlines and other players are eyeing the same segment.
The company aims to manufacture a prototype jet next year but its plans have been met with skepticism in some quarters.
“The story of Concorde is the story of a journey started but not completed — and we want to pick up on it,” Scholl said.
The event coincided with the nearby Farnborough Airshow.
“Today... the world is more linked than it’s ever been before and the need for improved human connection has never been greater,” Scholl said.
“At Boom, we are inspired at what was accomplished half a century ago,” he added, speaking in front of a former British Airways Concorde that flew for the first time in 1969.

Boom Supersonic’s aircraft, dubbed Baby Boom, is expected by the company to fly for the first time next year.
“If we can’t continue where you left off, and build on that, then the shame is on us,” Scholl said, addressing himself to an audience that included retired Concorde staff.
“Our vision is to build a faster airplane that is accessible to more and more people, to anybody who flies.”
Boom Supersonic is making its debut at Farnborough and hopes to produce its new-generation jets in the mid-2020s or later, with the aim of slashing journey times by half.
The proposed aircraft has a maximum flying range of 8,334 kilometers (5,167 miles) at a speed of Mach 2.2 or 2,335 kilometers per hour.
If it takes off, it would be the first supersonic passenger aircraft since Concorde took its final flight in 2003.
The Concorde was retired following an accident in 2000 in which a Concorde crashed shortly after takeoff from Paris, killing 113 people.
Some analysts remain skeptical over the push back into supersonic.
“Supersonic is not what passengers or airlines want right now,” said Strategic Aero analyst Saj Ahmed, stressing that many travelers wanted cheap low-cost carriers instead.
Ahmed said supersonic jets were “very unattractive” because of high start-up development costs, considerations about noise pollution and high prices as well as limited capacity.

Independent air transport consultant John Strickland also noted supersonic travel was unproven commercially.
“Business traffic, on the face of it, is the most lucrative for airlines,” Strickland told AFP.
“But if there is an economic downturn or something happens where the market for business class traffic drains away, then you have nothing else left to do with that aircraft.
“I think it’s going to be some time before we see whether it can establish a large viable market... in the way that Concorde never managed to do.”
These concerns have not stopped interest from other players.
US aerospace giant Boeing had last month unveiled its “hypersonic” airliner concept, which it hopes will fly at Mach 5 — or five times the speed of sound — when it arrives on the scene in 20 to 30 years.
And in April, NASA inked a deal for US giant Lockheed Martin to develop a supersonic “X-plane.”