Airbus, Boeing close in on Dubai deals worth $30 billion


DUBAI (Reuters) – A battle for orders erupted on day one of the Dubai Airshow on Sunday as Europe’s Airbus and its U.S. arch-rival Boeing prepared to fire opening salvos worth almost $30 billion.

Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airlines, gestures during a news conference at the Dubai Air Show in Dubai, UAE, November 12, 2017. REUTERS/Satish Kumar

Airbus was widely expected to announce a fresh order worth $16 billion at list prices for the world’s largest passenger jet, the A380, from Dubai’s Emirates, injecting new life into its soft-selling superjumbo program.

But sources familiar with the matter said Boeing could try to upstage its European competitor by grabbing a surprise early order worth $12-13 billion for its 787-10 Dreamliner.

Boeing was close on Sunday to the deal to sell around 40 of the longest version of its Dreamliner family, also to Emirates, the sources said.

Airbus, Boeing and Emirates all declined comment.

Boeing held a lead over Airbus going into the largest Middle East industry gathering, with about 65 percent of the combined orders posted by the two plane giants so far this year.

Airbus is looking for a boost to the A380 superjumbo, which after a decade in service has seen sales decline in favor of smaller but equally efficient long-haul jetliners.

FILE PHOTO: The Boeing Company logo is projected on a wall at the “What’s Next?” conference in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young/File Photo

The deal for an expected 36-38 A380s aircraft is likely to be secured with the help of an agreement by Airbus to buy back some of the earlier A380s as they leave the Emirates fleet.

“A few trade-ins will be involved,” a person familiar with the matter said.

The logo of Airbus is pictured at the company’s headquarters in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Emirates meanwhile joined forces with Mercedes-Benz to launch new first-class suites, inspired by the styling of luxury car interiors. [nL8N1NI04M]

Emirates, which was the first airline to put showers on commercial jets, rolled out the futuristic design at the start of the Nov 12-16 show.

The six fully enclosed cabins for its Boeing 777 jets feature seats that recline into flat beds and a 32-inch television.

“This is the first time we have seen anything like this in the civil aviation world,” Emirates President Tim Clark said.

B/E Aerospace, recently acquired by Rockwell Collins, is the supplier of the seats.

Additional reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi, Noah Browning

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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