Emirates' Boeing 777-300ER arrives in Dubai. Image Credit: File photo

Dubai: Boeing delivered 39 airplanes in 2018 to its regional customers in the Middle East, 21 of which were to UAE carriers, a top official of Boeing said on Sunday.

Bernard J. Dunn, the company president for Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, said the deliveries included 737 MAX, 777-300ER, 777 Freighter and the 787 Dreamliner.

Twenty-one of these deliveries were made to UAE carriers: six 777s to Emirates; seven 737 MAXs to flydubai and eight to Etihad, which include one 777F; four 787-10s; and three 787-9s.

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In an interview with state news agency WAM ahead of the International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) 2019 that kicked off today, Sunday, Dunn described 2018 as a “great year”.

“2018 was a great year. Globally, we set a new annual record of 806 deliveries in 2018, surpassing our previous record of 763 deliveries in 2017. Boeing again grew its significant order book with 893 net orders, including 203 airplane sales in December.”

The American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures and sells airplanes, rotorcraft, rockets, satellites and missiles worldwide has a strong order book in the Middle East (612 airplanes) and demand for both its wide-body and single-aisle airplanes among Middle East customers continues to grow, according to Dunn.

“Aerospace is among the strongest industrial sectors in the world today. Boeing’s current market outlook estimates passenger and cargo traffic will continue to grow 4.7 per cent and 4.2 per cent a year, respectively, doubling over the next 20 years. The global middle class is expanding by 160 million a year and some reports indicate four out of five people have never flown,” he pointed out.

“That means the world is going to need many more airplanes to fulfill the inevitable demand. We estimate nearly 43,000 over the next 20 years. These more fuel-efficient airplanes are helping to open up an increasing number and variety of point-to-point routes and new city pairs around the world.”

Dunn noted that the US company’s relations with the UAE is “long-standing” and supportive of the country’s economic diversification efforts and its ambitions to develop advanced aerospace and defence capabilities.

“The Boeing company shares a long-standing relationship with the United Arab Emirates. From air transport and aviation support services to defence and satellite systems, Boeing has worked closely with UAE civil and defence authorities to achieve the country’s objectives and ambitions. The company’s industrial collaboration with the Mubadala Development Company, Tawazun Precision Industries and Emirates Defence Industries Company (EDIC) reflect Boeing support of UAE’s ambitions to diversify its economy,” he said.

“Boeing has also worked with Masdar Institute, Etihad Airways, Adnoc Refining, Safran, GE and Bauer Resources on the development of sustainable aviation fuel through the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC). We just celebrated Etihad’s first commercial flight using sustainable fuel produced in the UAE. The flight from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam marked a major milestone in the development of a clean, alternative aviation fuel to reduce carbon emissions. The initiative also addresses food security in the UAE through the farming of seafood as a core element in the process.”

He cited the company’s recent increase of quarterly dividend to 20 per cent to $2.05 per share in 2019 as a testament to “Boeing’s strong core operating performance and ongoing confidence in our financial strength and long-term outlook of our business and industry. Overall, we continue to see significant opportunities in the markets we serve, and we have confidence in the power of our strategy to execute and win on all fronts.”

According to the company’s statistics, international orders based on backlog represent roughly 30 per cent of Boeing Defence, Space & Security’s business and there is continued opportunities for growth, particularly in the Middle East and the Asia Pacific regions.

Boeing continues to work closely with the UAE and other governments and defence forces in the region which will be present at Idex, and play a key role in enhancing security in the region.

During Idex, Boeing will showcase a number of key products including the AH-64 Apache, the CH-47F Chinook and the KC-46A Pegasus.

The AH-64 Apache is “the world’s most advanced” multi-role combat helicopter and is used by a growing number of international defence forces with Boeing delivering more than 2,300 Apaches to customers around the world since the aircraft entered production.

The CH-47F Chinook is an advanced multi-mission helicopter with advanced cargo-handling capabilities that complement the aircraft’s mission performance and handling characteristics. And the KC-46 is a wide-body, multi-role tanker that is revolutionising the air mobility mission, with the ability to refuel all US, allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures.