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Emirates Airlines places orders for $60b of planes

Even after ordering 245 new planes, Emirates Airlines president Tim Clark denies that he is trying to create the world's largest airline. Even after ordering 245 new planes, Emirates Airlines president Tim Clark denies that he is trying to create the world's largest airline. (Aziz Shah/Associated Press/File 2005)
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Associated Press / December 25, 2007

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Emirates Airline has ordered a jaw-dropping 245 new widebody planes, but the company's president shuns suggestions that he wants to create the world's biggest airline.

"I'm not bothered personally if that makes us the biggest or not," Emirates president Tim Clark said.

Aviation analysts say that in fact the airline's unprecedented rate of growth would make it the world's largest within the next decade.

At last month's Dubai Air Show, Emirates ordered 120 Airbus A350XWB jets, 11 additional A380 super-jumbos - increasing its total order to 58 - and a dozen Boeing 777-300ERs - which more than doubles its current fleet of 112 planes.

The orders, amounting to $34.9 billion at list price, bring the value of the airline's total order book to an unheard of $60 billion.

Clark, who helped establish the company in 1985 and has served as its president since, says his main aim is for the airline to keep its focus and remain an industry trendsetter in terms of quality of service.

"The business model saw us focusing on the geocentricity of Dubai, focusing on the fact that within that 8-hour flying zone we had 4 billion people, " he said.

Emirates currently serves 99 cities in 62 countries with new ones being added on an average of one every two months. A second US route, between Dubai and Houston, was inaugurated this month. Other North American destinations are New York and Toronto, and Clark said routes to two more cities in the United States, which he declined to name, were in the plan for next year.

At a time when many airlines around the world are feeling the pinch of high fuel prices and a declining dollar, Emirates expects to top $1 billion in profits in the fiscal year ending March 31 on revenues of $8.1 billion. That would represent an 18.5 percent increase over last year's figure of $844 million.

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