Emirates Eyeing Order For 15 Boeing 777-200LRs
Emirates announced at the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) meeting in Miami yesterday that they may be in the market for an additional 15 Boeing 777 widebody aircraft. This potential order would be for the Boeing 777-200LR (LR standing for Long Range) variant, the world's longest range airliner. Emirates is already the largest 777 operator in the world with over 130 of the type. In addition, the airline has about 50 777-300ERs and 150 777Xs on order. This would be great news for Boeing as they try to maintain high production and sales volumes on the current-model 777s before deliveries of the Next-Generation 777-8X and 777-9X begin in 2020. I'd expect to hear about several other 777 orders from various airlines in the near future, especially with the Paris Air Show kicking off next week. The fact that Emirates is looking into the 777-200LR variant makes me believe that the airline has specific routes/destinations that they'd like to serve in mind. With just 266 seats, the aircraft is much smaller than the 777-300ER and A380 that Emirates likes to use on most of its long-haul routes. Combine that with the LR's unparalleled range of almost 10,000 miles, and Emirates could potentially begin service to a variety of small and medium size cities across the globe from their hub in Dubai. They currently fly the type to places like Nairobi, Casablanca, Perth, Rio de Janeiro and Lyon, France. Emirates showed that they aren't afraid to fly to distant destinations other than the traditional mega-hubs when they announced that they'd begin service to Orlando, Florida later this year. I would expect to see some tremendous growth on routes to Africa, South America, the South Pacific and the United States in the next couple of years. My bold predictions for new 777-200LR Routes: Atlanta: Delta Air Lines offers a daily direct flight from their Atlanta hub to Dubai (also on the 777-200LR). In addition, Qatar Airways announced that they will begin serving the busiest airport in the world from Doha beginning July of next year. Emirates doesn't really have a choice but to start flights here if they want to be part of the market. Philadelphia: This is a major tourist and business destination with limited connectivity to Asia, Africa or India. Other than Qatar Airways' flights to Doha, there aren't any nonstop flights to the region. Lima, Peru & Santiago, Chile: These are two of the largest business, tourist and cargo destinations in South America. Neither have flights to Asia or the Middle East. Tahiti & Fiji: Emirates' business model basically relies on connecting passengers from Europe to India, Asia and the South Pacific via their strategically located hub in Dubai. Tahiti is one of the largest holiday destinations for French tourists and Emirates currently serves Paris, Nice and Lyon. Fiji is a fast-growing holiday spot in the South Pacific that currently has no direct flights from Europe or the Middle East. Currently, the only way to get there is with an out-of-the-way stop in Australia or North Asia.