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Boeing  777-8X and 777-9X.  Boeing photo.

Boeing’s newest aircraft – the 777-8X and 777-9X. Boeing photo.

Boeing made history on the opening day of the Dubai Airshow, announcing record-breaking orders worth almost $100 billion for its new 777X airplanes. The American aircraft maker said Sunday the orders for 259 airplanes represented the largest product launch in commercial jetliner history by dollar value.

Dubai flag carrier Emirates led the way with an order for 150 of the aircraft. Other Gulf airlines followed suit, with Etihad of Abu Dhabi ordering 25 and Qatar Airways 50. Joining them was the German airline Lufthansa with a commitment for 34 aircraft.

“We are proud to partner with each of these esteemed airlines to launch the 777X – the largest and most-efficient twin-engine jetliner in the world,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner.

“Its ground-breaking engine technologies and all-new composite wing will deliver unsurpassed value and growth potential to our customers.”

The 777X is the newest member of the highly successful 777 family of long-haul airliners. It will be built in two versions: the 777-9X that offers seating for more than 400 passengers and the 777-8X, which will seat 350 passengers.

Boeing’s European rival, Airbus, also won a major order at the show, again from Emirates for 50 A380s worth $23 billion, boosting the airline’s fleet of the superjumbos to 140.

“The A380 continues to be the flagship of our fleet and after five years in operation it remains highly popular with our passengers,” said Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum.

The AIrbus A380 in Dubai. Airbus photo.

The Airbus A380 in Dubai. Airbus photo.

He added that the latest order will help the airline meet both fleet expansion and fleet replacement needs.

“By strategically placing the A380 at the centre of its business, Emirates is maximizing its leading position with each day of operations,” said Airbus president Fabrice Bregier.

The airshow has attracted some 1,000 exhibitors from around the world. It runs through Nov. 21 and more orders are expected in the next few days.

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