x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Jordanian airline flies in for its dream buy

Places order for three Dreamliners, worth about $500 million

FARNBOROUGH // Royal Jordanian has reaffirmed its faith in the carbon fibre-bodied Boeing 787 Dreamliner with an order for three planes, worth about US$500 million (Dh1.83 billion). Yesterday's deal marks the first Dreamliner purchase made at the UK's Farnborough International Airshow, which features one of the planes parked on display, and was the destination for plane's first international trip.

The aircraft is undergoing flight testing and is scheduled to be delivered to its first customer, ANA of Japan, by the end of the year or early next year - more than two and a half years behind schedule. The order brings the Amman-based Royal Jordanian's Dreamliner tally to 11, making it one of the largest customers of the plane in the Middle East after Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. Royal Jordanian was the first airline in the Middle East to order the 787 Dreamliner, in 2007. It has also arranged to lease some of the aeroplanes from CIT Aerospace and International Lease Finance.

The Dreamliner is the first commercial aircraft made primarily from composite materials instead of aluminium, which promotes greater fuel-efficiency among other benefits. Side walls are less curved giving passengers more space. "The unique passenger appeal of the 787 will enable us to provide a competitive advantage in the markets we serve," said Hussein Dabbas, the president and chief executive of Royal Jordanian. The airline will use the 787 on North American routes initially, including to New York, Chicago, Detroit and Toronto. The order was previously attributed to an unidentified customer on Boeing's Orders and Deliveries website.

The Dreamliner should help Royal Jordanian replace its entire twin-aisle fleet of Airbus aircraft such as the A320, A330 and A340 by 2016, according to reports. The single-aircraft approach will help airline lower its maintenance and training costs. Also yesterday, Avolon, an Irish leasing company, said it would buy 12 Boeing 737-800 jets for $921m. First deliveries are expected in 2012. igale@thenational.ae