Dubai's Emirates airline said it had signed on Saturday, May 12, a lease contract for two Boeing aircraft as part of its drive to expand and strengthen its fleet.
The airline, part of the Emirates air transport group which is owned by the Dubai government, said in a statement that it had signed the 10-year lease contract with the Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SALE).
Emirates said that it expects to receive the two Boeing 777-300s by September 2002. It also said that the contract with SALE included an option to lease another two Boeings, which would be delivered in 2003. The statement did not say how much the deal was worth.
"This leasing contract will allow us to maintain operational continuity when planning future routing and fleet strength," Emirates Group Chairman Shaikh Ahmad bin Said Al-Makhtum said after signing the deal with SALE's Robert Martin. "We have a long and fruitful relationship with Boeing which is evident by the number of aircraft we are acquiring as part of our fleet expansion," he added.
In 1999, Emirates received its first two Boeing 777-300s from SALE. The airline's fleet, which includes four Boeing 777-330s and nine Boeing 777-200s, is described by officials as the "youngest" in the world.
Emirates, one of the world's leading flag carriers, will also be the launch customer for the world's largest aircraft, the Airbus [ARBU.UL] A380, which it will receive in late 2005.
Newspapers last week quoted industry sources as saying that Shaikh Ahmad has put off plans to buy more A380s from Airbus until French airport authorities allow Emirates to fly daily to Paris. Emirates currently has three flights a week.
Emirates posted last month a 2000/01 net profit of 531.3 million dirhams ($144.76 million), a 24.1 percent increase from the previous year and attributed this to judicious cost cutting and a bigger fleet. — (Reuters, Dubai)
© Reuters 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)