Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Clear for take off

Tomorrow the UAE is expected to add yet another superlative to its growing list: the most valuable aircraft order in aviation history is due to be announced by Etihad Airways at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. According to the Daily Telegraph, the deal is reportedly worth US$20 billion (Dh73 billion) for the delivery of approximately 100 aeroplanes from rivals Boeing and Airbus.

The order will be a boon to Boeing and Airbus and their many thousands of employees. Orders for new planes are expected to slow as the airline industry struggles with rising fuel prices and slowing economies. Twenty-five airlines have shut their doors in the past year alone. North American carriers, some of the hardest hit, have laid off 19,000 workers. Unlike major airlines outside the Gulf region, Etihad is largely immune to the global credit crunch. The purchase is also evidence that the booming Gulf states have an increasingly significant part to play in keeping the machinery of the global economy running when much of the West is facing recession.

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