Emirates 777-300ER. Courtesy, Boeing

Emirates Airline (EK) has ordered 50 Boeing 777-300ERs on the opening day of the 2011 Dubai Airshow. The order, valued at $18 billion, includes 20 options and is the largest single order—in terms of dollar value—in Boeing's history.

The aircraft will be powered by General Electric GE90-115B engines rated at 115,000 lb. thrust. With the EK order, Boeing's 2011 net order book for the 777-300ER tops 182.

EK chairman and CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said the "777's reliability, performance and operating economics have firmly established it as the backbone" of the Dubai-based carrier's fleet. "We have an ambitious and strategic plan to continue growing our international network and especially increasing our long-haul, non-stop routes," he added.

EK is the world's largest 777 operator with a fleet of 94 of the type acquired through a combination of direct purchases and leases. It has additional unfilled orders on backlog for 41 777-300ERs.

It is also the only airline in the world to operate every model in the Boeing 777 family, including the 777 freighter. EK took delivery of its first 777—a 777-200—in 1996. Since then, the airline has deployed the 777 on short-, medium- and long-haul routes.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Jim Albaugh said, "As the largest operator of the 777 in the world, Emirates has played an important role in development of the aircraft and its input over the years has been invaluable in the development of the 777 program."