Emirates airline signed a deal on Wednesday to purchase 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners Image Credit: Emirates

Dubai: Emirates airline signed a deal on Wednesday to purchase 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners for a total value of $8.8 billion (Dh32.3 billion), bringing the carrier’s total orders this week to $24.8 billion.

The deal was the second one to be signed by Emirates at this year’s Dubai Airshow, after it announced an order on Monday for 50 Airbus A350 aircraft worth $16 billion. It was also the first deal awarded to Boeing from a UAE-based carrier at the Airshow as the company continues to face challenges with its grounded 737 Max’s and its yet-to-be-launched 777X models.

Emirates’ deal on Wednesday is a modification from an earlier order it made to Boeing for the purchase of 156 jets of the 777X model. That deal is now altered to include 30 of the 787 model, with the remaining 126 jets still of the 777X model.

Delivery of the newly-ordered aircraft will start in 2023. Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive officer of Emirates airline and Group, signed the deal at the Airshow, and said the 787 jets will complement Emirates’ fleet mix.

He said the airline remains committed to 777X’s, even as the model faces setbacks in its launch.

Also speaking at the signing ceremony was Tim Clark, president of Emirates airline, who described the 787’s as “one of the best aircraft flying today.”

“We’ve been looking at the 787 for a very long time, to be quite honest. In fact, at the Airshow in 2017, we signed a letter of intent to look at those, and hopefully get to this stage where we are today. We want to get the aeroplane into the network as soon as possible,” he said.

Clark said the 787 jets will be deployed on medium- and long-haul routes as Emirates conducts a review of its operations and network. He added that the 787 aircraft will allow Emirates to “restart its expansion programme” by the early 2020’s.

Asked about any safety concerns regarding Boeing aircraft after two fatal crashes of B737 Max jets months ago, Clark said he had no question marks over the 787’s performance capabilities.

That vote of confidence was also echoed by Shaikh Ahmad who said that the Boeing fleet is “key to [Emirates’] business model to serve international demand for travel to and through our Dubai hub.”

Meanwhile, Stanley Deal, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said he was grateful for Emirates’ trust, and described the 787 Dreamliners and 777X’s as “the most efficient and most capable wide-body combination in the industry.”

On the 777X’s, for which Emirates is the official launch customer, Deal said that Boeing is still working on testing the aircraft and its engine. Boeing is also working with Emirates, as well as other airlines, to make sure they are confident in those tests and in the 777X’s as they enter into service.