Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, said on July 14 it had agreed to purchase 45 Boeing passenger jets worth $9.4 billion. Etihad, which launched in 2003, announced at the Farnborough International Airshow that it was buying 35 mid-sized Dreamliner 787 jets -- Boeing's new fuel-efficient aircraft -- and 10 mid-sized Boeing 777s.
"The new-generation Boeing aircraft we have ordered are among the most fuel efficient and will help maintain Etihad's fleet as one of the youngest and greenest in the sky," Etihad chief executive James Hogan said. Etihad said it would take delivery of the 777s in 2011 and Dreamliners in 2015.
Also at the Franborough Air Show, new low-cost airline FlyDubai announcing a $4 billion deal for 54 single-aisle Boeing 737 passenger jets.
Boeing is expected to deliver its first-ever Dreamliner in the third quarter of 2009. The Dreamliner takes advantage of recent advances in aviation technology. Up to 50% of the primary structure of the plane -- including the fuselage and wing -- is made of composites such as carbon-fiber, which reduce its weight.
Boeing, which aims to build some 2,000 Dreamliners over the next two decades, maintains that the jet will consume 20% less fuel than similar-sized planes already on the market.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008