Emirates orders two more A330-200s from Airbus
Emirates has placed a firm order for two more A330-200s for delivery in July and August next year, the airline announced.The deal reinforces Emirates' position as the largest A330 customer in the world and the largest Airbus client in the Middle East. The two new aircraft will be configured in three classes with 18 First Class, 42 Business Class and 183 Economy Class seats. Like the rest of the Emirates A330-220 fleet, they will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 772 engines. Emirates chairman Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said: "The Airbus A330 has been a great tool in growing Emirates, delivering excellent economy and powerful passenger appeal on a wide range of routes. "In adding to our A330 fleet, we are reinforcing the foundations for Emirates' continued growth and prosperity." Emirates has now placed firm orders with Airbus for a total of 23 A330-200s, of which 18 are already in service, with one more A330 to be leased. The airline also has orders for six A340-500s, deliveries of which begin next year, and will take a number of A380s, including two freighters, deliveries of which begin in 2006. Emirates will also become the first airline to install the Sicma seats with electronically operated privacy hoods in the First Class cabins of the A330s and the first to install inseat video cassette players in Business Class as well as First. The entertainment system for all cabins on the A330s offers passengers 15 video channels (plus the popular Airshow and the Flying Cameras) and 22 audio channels in various languages. The video library available to First and Business Class passengers contains 50 titles to play on the in-seat video players. The group has signed a $103 million refinancing arrangement based on Islamic principles for the new A330-200 with a group of banks, including Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), National Bank of Dubai (NBD) and HSBC Bank. This is only the second time that Emirates Group has tapped into Islamic financing - the earlier one was in 1992 with Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank, said Dermot Mannion, Emirates chief director for finance, IT and services.