The Middle East carriers are pumping up the order books early for Boeing’s new 777X. First, there was the news of an order from Etihad for 25 777X aircraft. And, for good measure they tacked on another 30 787s. The retail value on that order is just North of $25 billion, though Etihad likely got a pretty significant discount.
Not to be outdone, Emirates decided to purchase 150 777X planes, at a retail value of $76 billion.
Qatar Airways decided to jump in for 50 777X aircraft as well. There had been some rumors that Qatar was not interested in the 777X. But, given how much Boeing worked with the Middle East carriers to tailor the planes to their liking, it seemed reasonable to believe Qatar would be committing to the plane. My guess is the public comments by Qatar from a few weeks ago were posturing for better pricing. I also guess that these orders were at least wire-framed prior to the show, if not altogether committed to, then held so they could be announced together at the show.
The plane is supposed to have carbon wings, copying a key feature of the 787, and be able to fly 8,000 miles without refueling while delivering considerable fuel savings.
This is likely the last launch of a new airplane by Boeing for quite some time. While I expect there will be updates to stalwarts such as the 737 as well as the new stretch version of the 787, it’s likely that with the launch of the 777X we won’t see something truly revolutionary coming off the drawing boards for quite some time. These orders should support a robust launch of the 777X for Boeing and keep the order book full for quite a while