Dubai-based carrier flydubai has committed to the purchase of 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners – its first widebody aircraft order – in a deal valued at US$11 billion.

Deliveries of the new widebody aircraft are set to commence from 2026. The airline added that it has an order backlog of more than 130 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to be delivered by 2035. The carrier said that it was currently evaluating engine options for its first Dreamliner order.

It currently operates a single fleet-type of 80 Boeing 737 aircraft which includes 30 Next-Generation Boeing 737-800, 47 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and three Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of flydubai, said, “In 2008, when we placed our first ever order for 50 Boeing 737 aircraft, we were confident of the vital role flydubai would play in supporting Dubai’s aviation hub. Today’s order reaffirms flydubai’s commitment to enabling more people to travel across its expanding network.”

Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive officer at flydubai, added, “The Boeing 787 Dreamliner offers a perfect combination of operational excellence, fuel efficiency as well as passenger appeal.”

The Boeing 787-9 aircraft can seat more than 290 passengers and has a range of 14,010 km. Since revenue service began in 2011, the 787 family has operated on more than 380 new nonstop routes around the world.

Half of all scheduled 787 Dreamliner flights are operated in short- and medium-haul markets below 5,000km.

Although it carried more than four million passengers between June and mid-September 2023, Al Ghaith has earlier this year cited delays in deliveries as having impacted flydubai’s operations.

Other big orders from flydubai include its first aircraft order that it placed in 2008 for 50 Next-Generation Boeing 737 aircraft valued at US$3.74 billion. At the Dubai Airshow November 2013 it placed its second order for 75 Boeing 737 MAX and 11 Next-Generation 737-800 aircraft in a deal valued at US$11.4 billion. Four years later, at the Dubai Airshow November 2017, it placed its third order for 225 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft valued at US$27 billion which was at the time the largest single-aisle aircraft order in the Middle East. The fourth mega order from the airline is this deal for its first set of widebody aircraft.

It has built a network of more than 120 destinations in 54 countries spanning from Europe to South East Asia.

Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said: “The 787-9 is perfectly suited for the needs of flydubai as it looks to open up new, longer-range routes and add capacity across its network. We are proud of the confidence that flydubai continues to place in our products with an all-Boeing fleet. We look forward to further strengthening this partnership and to seeing our 787-9 Dreamliners play a central role in flydubai’s strategic expansion plans.”

At the Dubai Airshow 2023, another Dubai-based carrier, Emirates, too placed an order for 95 additional widebody aircraft in a deal worth US$52 billion, taking its total order book to 295 aircraft. Emirates signed firm orders for 55 additional 777-9s, 35 777-8s and five Dreamliners.

(Image: Supplied by flydubai)