Emirates delays Airbus A350 order over engine dispute with Rolls-Royce

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Emirates postponed the finalization of its order of between 35 and 50 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, citing concerns over the maintenance schedule and the operation of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines that power the widebody aircraft. 

The announcement was made during Dubai Airshow 2023, shortly after Emirates sealed a $50 billion deal with Boeing for the purchase of 90 new 777X series powered by GE Aerospace GE9X engines.  

Explaining the decision to journalists, Emirates Chairman Tim Clark expressed concerns over the maintenance requirements set by Rolls-Royce for the Trent XWB-97 engines, deeming the planned time between maintenance cycles as unreasonably short.  

The airline also expressed doubts about the reliability of the engines in the extreme operating conditions typical of the Persian Gulf. 

In response to Emirates’ concerns, Rolls-Royce issued a statement expressing its commitment to supporting the airline’s future fleet growth plans. In a statement to Reuters, the engine manufacturer acknowledged the importance of addressing Emirates’ needs and indicated a willingness to collaborate on improving the maintenance schedule for the Trent XWB-97 engines. 

Emirates already has an existing order for 50 A350-900 aircraft placed during Dubai Airshow 2019. The model is powered by a different Rolls-Royce engine, the Trent XWB-84. The first aircraft of this order is expected towards the end of summer 2024.  

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