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Emirates to buy new engines

Vimala Vasan

ABU DHABI, March 3

EMIRATES, the Dubai-based international airline, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the GE-P&W Engine Alliance for the GP7000 engine family to power its 22 firm and 10 optional Airbus A380-800 aircraft.

The Chairman of Emirates, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, signed the MoU to buy the engines, which have a list price, including options, of approximately $1.5 billion. Mr Lloyd Thompson, President of the Engine Alliance, signed for the Partnership.

Mr Sheikh Ahmed said, "As Emirates grows to become a truly global airline, we need an engine to power our future A380 flagship over the world's biggest air routes. After exceptionally exhaustive studies of the various engines on offer, we have selected the Engine Alliance GP7000 as the one best suited to our present and future network.''

Comprehensive negotiations are now taking place between Emirates and the Engine Alliance to finalise the GPA, according to a statement.

Emirates' order is for GP7270 engines, rated at 70,000 pounds (311 kN) of thrust, to power its 20 passenger versions of the A380-800 aircraft and GP7277 engines, rated at 76,500 (340 kN) pounds of thrust, to power the two freighters the airline has ordered.

Emirates was the world's first airline to place firm orders for the A380 and the first to put down a deposit, making its commitment at Britain's Farnborough Air Show. The airline now becomes the second customer for the GP7000 family, following Air France's launch order for 10 firm aircraft in May 2001.

Emirates expects deliveries of its A380s to start from September 2006. By then, Emirates expects to be flying more than twice as many passengers as currently to all five continents, with the super-jumbo A380 operating the world's major routes from Dubai.

At last year's Dubai Air Show, Emirates unveiled a $15 billion fleet expansion, increasing its A380 order to 22 plus 25 new Boeing 777s, eight A340-600s and three A330s - a total of 58 aircraft and the largest order ever placed by the airline.

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