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Emirates expects its fleet size to reach more than 250 aircraft by 2020, up from 162 currently, according to GulfNews.com.

The report, quoting Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Group, said the Arab world’s largest carrier currently has 162 planes including 18 Airbus A380 superjumbos.

The Emirates has just announced a US$26 billion (Dh95.5 billion) deal for 70 Boeing 777-300 ER (Extended Range) aircraft (including options for 20 of the aircraft type) on the opening day of the Dubai Airshow.

Some of the future deliveries would be used to replace the airline’s previous fleet, according to Shaikh Ahmad. “Some of them [the 777s] will go into retiring old planes… I don’t know how many,” he said.

“And as we speak today, maybe we will have to extend some of the leases for aircraft that we were supposed to return. But the business was good and so we kept them. So within a year or so from now, you will perhaps see some of the older aircraft going out and being replaced by newer versions,” he added.

Emirates has recently expressed intentions to increase its order for Airbus A380s to 120 planes from the current 90 it has on order as a long-term plan. Shaikh Ahmad said: “I hope [we will have] more. Today we have a huge firm order for 90 A380s, of which 18 are operational in our fleet today. We should have all of the 90 superjumbos operational between now and the next five years.”

He said the new Concourse 3 coming up at Dubai International’s Terminal 1 would be geared towards accommodating growth.

According to the BBC, the Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing carriers, last year placed an order for 30 Boeing 777 planes worth $9.1bn in a deal announced at the UK’s Farnborough Airshow.

Emirates has led efforts by Gulf-based airlines to challenge European and Asian carriers by establishing the region as a major East-West hub. The airline is the largest single customer of the Airbus superjumbo aircraft, the A380, with a purchase list of 90 units.

Source: Gulfs News

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