Dubai - Dubai airline Emirates finalised a $56 billion (R600bn) order to buy 150 Boeing 777X jets yesterday, firming up a commitment made last year, just weeks after scrapping an order with rival plane maker Airbus.

The deal included purchase rights for an additional 50 airplanes which, if exercised, could increase the value to about $75bn at list prices, Boeing said.

“With the order for 150 777Xs, Emirates now has 208 Boeing 777s pending delivery, creating and securing jobs across the supply chain,” Emirates president Tim Clark said.

The deal comes days before the Farnborough International Airshow, traditionally an event at which billions of dollars of new plane orders are unveiled.

It follows the surprise cancellation last month of a $16bn order by Emirates to buy 70 of Airbus’s A350 aircraft, which delivered a blow to the European plane maker’s newest aircraft and hit its share price.

Airbus ended the first half of the year behind its US rival in orders and deliveries, but is widely expected to unveil hundreds of new orders at the Farnborough show next week.

The Emirates order was part of the 777X launch at the Dubai Air Show in November last year, one of the largest product launches in commercial jetliner history. Along with Emirates, Gulf carriers Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways also announced deals for the plane, totalling $100bn at list prices.

Reuters reported last week that Emirates, which is the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 777 jet, was close to finalising the order.

Emirates and Qatar Airways, which also ordered 50 777X jets, had jointly negotiated the deal at the Dubai Air Show. However, it was not clear whether the Doha airline had finalised its order yet. Qatar Airways could not be reached for a comment.

Gulf carriers Emirates, Qatar Airways and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad have secured large fleets of widebody jets to support the growth of new airport hubs.

The 777X is the latest version of Boeing’s best-selling widebody jet, a so-called mini-jumbo, which carries a list price of up to $320 million.

The current versions are capable of seating up to 550 passengers in a single-class configuration, according to Boeing. - Reuters