The spectacular rise of Emirates and its Gulf rivals confounded the expectations of mature carriers in the U.S. and Europe. These fifth- and sixth-freedom carriers have limitless ambitions and enjoy the revenues won through hydrocarbon abundance to back them up. But personalities have also played a role and one thing is sure: the Ruler of Dubai has made himself a pivotal player on the world’s aviation stage.
“Etihad Airways is the fastest-growing airline in the history of commercial aviation,” said James Hogan, president and CEO, upon the announcement that Etihad will begin nonstop flights to Los Angeles from Abu Dhabi beginning June 1, 2014.
Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central (DWC), Dubai’s second airport, originally planned to accommodate 160 million passengers when complete, will see its development speeded up dramatically if Dubai’s bid to host World Expo 2020 is successful.
Next week’s Dubai Airshow, running from November 17 to 21, is set to provide yet more evidence of the soaring ambitions of the Gulf region’s air carriers, and Boeing’s new 777X twinjet seems set to be the main beneficiary of their relentless fleet expansion plans.
Dubai Airshow organizer F&E Aerospace is pressing the reset button on the biennial event, staging the Middle East’s premier aerospace and defense gathering at a new purpose-built site at Dubai World Central. The show is to be permanently based in the new Aviation City zone at DWC, which is a vast new economic development hub built around the new Al Maktoum International Airport near the Jebel Ali seaport.
In what might seem a 180-degree heading change, Airbus confirmed the possibility of a second stretch of its A350XWB that could help fill a gap between the largely composite-bodied twinjet and the A380 superjumbo.
After years of trying, Airbus (Booth No. C11606) has cracked the U.S. VVIP charter market with the first sale of an ACJ318 here, which Airbus believes will significantly increase the visibility of Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) in the U.S. The aircraft will be based at Jet Aviation Flight Services in Van Nuys, Calif., one of the busiest general aviation airports in the world, where it will be operated for an undisclosed owner and for Part 135 charter.
Billing itself as the fastest-growing airline in the history of commercial aviation, Etihad Airways keeps doing everything in its power to maintain momentum. Last week it announced the June 1 launch of nonstop flights to Los Angeles from Abu Dhabi, supported by the purchase of five Boeing 777-200LRs from Air India. By the end of the year, Etihad plans to expand its fleet to 87 airplanes, including the five Air India jets and 14 new widebodies delivered by Boeing and Airbus this year.
Emirates Airline has worked for more than two years to assist Boeing in the design of the 777X, the new airplane expected to begin replacing the phenomenally successful 777-300ER at the end of the decade, according to Emirates president Tim Clark.