Emirates airline in $15bn plane deal

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Emirates Airline, of Dubai, gave a huge boost to the world's civil aircraft industry yesterday when it announced a $15bn aircraft order for planes from Airbus and Boeing.

As other carriers scramble to ground planes and defer deliveries, Emirates' announcements cover 51 wide-body aircraft, including an order for 15 Airbus A380 superjumbos that adds to seven of those planes it had previously planned to buy.

"These are difficult times for the airline industry, but the dynamics of the business requires us to plan ahead," the Emirates Chairman, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, said at the Dubai air show.

The government-owned carrier bolstered the slow-selling A340-600 line of Europe's Airbus by saying it would buy eight of that model. Emirates also topped up its fleet of A330 twin jets with an order for three.

Boeing, of the US, scored a deal for 25 units of its successful 777 model, which Emirates valued at $6.6 billion.

Rolls-Royce gained from the A330 and A340-600 deals as they supply the engines, but will compete against US rivals General Electric and Pratt & Whitney to supply turbofans for the other aircraft.

Airbus' chief executive, Noel Forgeard, said his company has collected signed orders for 70 of the 555-seat A380s. It expects to have 100 orders in a year.