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Emirates inks big jet-engine deal

/ Source: The Associated Press

Emirates airlines announced Monday a $1.5 billion deal with U.S. engine manufacturers General Electric and Pratt & Whitney for more than 100 engines to power an order of Airbus A380 aircraft.

The airline's chairman, Sheik Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, announced the deal at a press conference at the Dubai Air Show, one of the world’s largest aerospace exhibitions.

The contract will supply 23 A380s— 21 purchased by Emirates airlines and two leased from International Lease Finance Corporation— with 92 installed GP7200 engines, plus nine spare engines. The engines are valued at between $10-15 million each.

The two American companies, General Electric and Pratt & Whitney, formed an alliance in 1996 to bid against other engine manufactures, including Rolls Royce, to deliver the engines for the airline’s new jets.

Sheik Ahmed said the GE-P&W Engine Alliance was the one chosen “because of our confidence the GP7200 was the most suitable for A380.” He also added that the American alliance’s prices were competitive. Sheik Ahmed declined to say how the company will finance the deal.

The Dubai-based Emirates airlines, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, has 55 Boeing and Airbus aircraft flying to 71 cities in 50 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Indian subcontinent. The company expects to have 125 jets by 2012.

Emirates is the largest A380 and GP7200 customer in the world. They are the first who put the engine to service and with the new deal will have 199 GP7200s with a worth exceeding $3 billion. The new A380 aircraft will be delivered starting in 2009.

Emirates, in association with Canada-based CAE, also announced the establishment of a helicopter simulator training program that will be complete by 2005.

“There is a growing interest in the Gulf for civil helicopters, and we are expecting growth in this field,” Sheik Ahmed said.

CAE is one of the world’s leading aerospace simulation providers.