May 2005 
Volume 04, Issue 1 
Commercial Airplanes

Follow on Sevens

Here's why Emirates is expanding its 777 fleet

Follow on SevensSheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman of Emirates, recently visited Seattle to participate in delivery ceremonies for the first of 10 777-300ERs the airline will receive this year. While it may be true the airline is the biggest customer for the Airbus A380, Emirates also soon will be one of the world's largest operators of airplanes in Boeing's 777 family.

Dubai-based Emirates is scheduled to receive 10 777-300ERs in 2005 and has ordered a total of 30 for delivery before the end of 2007, which will bring its 777 fleet count to 51 airplanes. The airline also is considering the newly offered 777-200LR and Freighter versions, which the carrier said fit well into its fleet plans and offer the potential for additional orders.

During his visit to the U.S. Pacific Northwest, Sheikh Ahmed took time out of his busy schedule to speak with Boeing Frontiers.

Q: Could you give us some insight into how you view Boeing as a manufacturer of commercial airplanes?

A: What we see today at Emirates is that manufacturers are actually taking the airline more seriously by looking at our requirements and finding out exactly what type of the aircraft we need. That's not to say they are catering their designs for us as a specific airline. Basically, I feel that both we and Boeing have been improving our relationship since we've been working together over the past years on the delivery of the 777. Boeing has always taken us very seriously, and we really think that is the way it should be.

Q: What are some of the performance attributes of Boeing's 777-300ER for Emirates?

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-MaktoumA: For the 777-300ER, I think in terms of the range the airplane will give Emirates to reach to certain destinations we fly to out of Dubai. The mileage costs are also beneficial—particularly the low cost of operating the 777 with the number of passengers that we will be flying on this aircraft, while still allowing us to reach nearly all of the destinations that we want.

Q: What are the interior attributes of the 777?

A: When we talk about the 777, particularly the interior, the cabin really adds a lot of benefit. By utilizing its spaciousness, we find a greater possibility to put more people into the airplane, but still they feel very comfortable within the space they are sitting in or when they are up moving about that aircraft.

Q: Is Emirates interested in any other 777 variants?

A: In coordination with the discussions we had on the 777-300ER we also had a discussion with the Boeing people on the 777-200LR.

I think it's an excellent aircraft. From the numbers and the data that we've been given so far, I think it will be an excellent tool for Emirates' future, allowing us to expand and reach the North American cities where we are thinking of flying. For example, we foresee operating to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and even to cities in Canada. So this aircraft could play an excellent role for expansion within the next 10 years.

Q: Any further thoughts?

A: No doubt, the 777 fits ideally into an airline's strategy to operate at the lowest possible cost yet provide the utmost in service and comfort to our passengers. The 777 is very difficult to beat compared to other aircraft we see flying today. I must say that the 777 is directly tied to Emirates' profitability, and I would always say that the 777 brings added value.


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