Emirates has ordered 15 Airbus A350-900 widebodies at the Dubai Airshow 2023. The order brings the airline’s total commitment for the type to 65 aircraft. The deal is said to be worth in the order of $6 billion.
The first of the A350s on order is scheduled to join Emirates’ fleet in August 2024. With this latest order for the type, the carrier will be receiving new A350s continuously until early 2028.
“The A350-900s will add to our fleet mix, and we are pleased to announce additional orders for this aircraft type,” said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group. “We plan to deploy our A350s to serve a range of new markets, including long-haul missions of up to 15 hours flying time from Dubai. We will work closely with Airbus and Rolls-Royce to ensure our aircraft deliver the best possible operating efficiency and flying experience for our customers.”
“Emirates’ orders this week are all carefully planned to support our future growth and the Dubai economic vision set out by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Emirates experience is often the first visitor experience of Dubai, and we want it to be the best,” he added.
“With this agreement, we mark another solid step forward in the long-standing relationship agreement between Emirates and Airbus,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International. “A relationship founded on a pursuit of innovation, efficiency, and operational excellence. Just as the A380 established itself at the heart of Emirates operations, we are equally proud of what the A350 will do in the years to come.”
No A350-1000s for now
Although the announcement is significant, it is not the deal everyone had been anticipating. It had been widely expected that Emirates would be placing its first order for the larger A350 variant – the A350-1000.
However, a widely publicized spat between Tim Clark of Emirates and Rolls-Royce has put any such order on hold – for now.
Although discussions between Emirates and Airbus are rumored to have been going on all week, the result appears to be that Emirates’ President remains dissatisfied with the performance of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines that power the A350-1000, having described them as ‘defective’ earlier in the week.
Despite assurances made by the engine manufacturer to the contrary, those assurances were disregarded by the Emirates executives attending the airshow. It, therefore, remains to be seen whether the carrier’s interest in the A350-1000 can be revitalized at some point in the future.
A busy week for Emirates
All that said, the order for more A350-900s comes following a busy week for the Middle Eastern airline. So far, at Dubai Airshow 2023, Emirates has ordered a further 95 Boeing 777X, bringing the airline’s total backlog for the widebody to 205 airframes. The airline is the launch customer for the 777X, having initially ordered 150 during the Dubai Airshow in 2013.
The airline also made adjustments to its outstanding Boeing 787 order book, with the company now due to take delivery of 35 of the type in total, including 20 787-8s and 15 787-10s.
Including its order for 95 additional Boeing aircraft at the Airshow, Emirates will have a total order book of 310 widebody aircraft from both Boeing and Airbus combined.
Away from ordering aircraft at the airshow, Emirates also announced plans to build a $950 million maintenance mega-hub at Dubai World Central Airport (DWC). According to the carrier, the facility will be ”the largest and most advanced of its kind to be operated by an airline” and will open in 2027.
The company also announced an interline agreement with German airline Condor covering over 70 routes operated by both carriers in their global networks.