Emirates announced a bumper order of 95 planes and flydubai snapped up 30 wide-bodied aircraft as US manufacturer Boeing did brisk business on day one of the Dubai Airshow on Monday. Dubai-based Emirates, the Middle East’s biggest airline, made the largest purchase with its $52 billion order for 55 Boeing 777-9s, 35 777-8s and five 787 Dreamliners. “This order represents a significant investment that demonstrates Dubai’s commitment to the future of aviation,” Emirates’ chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum told a press conference. The 777-9s are expected for delivery in 2025 and the 777-8s are scheduled for 2030. Separately, budget carrier flydubai, owned by the Dubai government, ordered 30 Boeing 787-9s valued at 231 billion dirhams ($63 billion) — its first wide-bodied, or large-capacity, planes as it looks to expand to new routes. The biennial show, featuring commercial as well as military planes and weaponry, is taking place against the backdrop of severe regional tensions due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, sparked by the October 7 attack by Hamas militants. An exhibit by Israel Aerospace Industries was roped off and vacant on day one, and there was no response to requests to the company for information. A section designated for SIBAT, an arm of the Israeli defence ministry, was being used as a coffee shop. The company also did not respond to an inquiry from AFP. But the main focus at the show was the aircraft purchases — mainly booked by Boeing — that underlined the industry’s post-pandemic recovery and bullishness about the future. Turkish-German budget carrier SunExpress signed a firm order for 45 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at a list price of more than $5 billion, though large orders normally come at a discount. SunExpress’s order for 28 737-8s and 17 737-10s includes options that could extend to 90 aircraft, potentially more than doubling its fleet of 66. “It’s the largest order in the history of SunExpress,” Max Kownatzki, chief executive of the low-cost joint venture of Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, said at the signing ceremony. – Record profits – Latvia’s airBaltic said it was buying 30 A220-300 planes from Airbus, Boeing’s European rival, with purchase rights for another 20. It said it intends to operate 100 of the planes by 2030. Rumours of a major order by Turkish Airlines, said to be for about 350 aircraft, did not materialise on the first day, and there were no purchases by Saudi airlines. Newcomer Riyadh Air, which hopes to compete with Emirates as a leading regional carrier, will make a new order for narrow-body jets in the “coming weeks”, its CEO Tony Douglas told The National newspaper. In other deals, Royal Jordanian ordered four Boeing 787 Dreamliners, raising their 787-9 fleet to six, and EgyptAir announced a lease agreement for 18 737 MAX. It has already been a record year for the industry after the Paris Air Show in June, where low-cost Indian carrier Indigo ordered 500 Airbus A320-family planes, the biggest ever order for civil aircraft. With Emirates’ latest deal, the Dubai carrier’s order book rises to 295 planes, including 205 777X aircraft. The airline also ordered 202 GE9X engines to power its 777X fleet. French technology group Thales said it had signed a contract to provide in-flight entertainment systems for the 777Xs. Demonstrating its recovery, last week Emirates Group announced record half-year net profits of 10.1 billion AED ($2.7 billion), up 138 percent from a year earlier. Emirates posted a $5.5 billion loss in Covid-ravaged 2020-2021, its first in more than three decades, after grounding its fleet and making heavy lay-offs. Its losses shrank to $1.1 billion in 2021-2022. This week is the first edition of the Dubai Airshow since Emirates returned to profitability.