Airbus received a consolation order from Emirates for 15 extra A350-900 planes on Thursday, after a public spat between the Middle Eastern conglomerate and engine supplier Rolls-Royce (LON: RR) thwarted a contract for a bigger model at the Dubai Airshow.
Emirates Chairman and CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said the long-haul jets would “add to our fleet mix, and we are pleased to announce additional orders for this aircraft type“.
The $6 billion agreement was seen as a compromise by industry insiders after Emirates openly criticized the performance and expense of Rolls-Royce engines for the A350-1000 due to the length of downtime required in severe Gulf conditions.
Sheikh Ahmed said Emirates would “work closely with Airbus and Rolls-Royce to ensure our aircraft deliver the best possible operating efficiency and flying experience for our customers“.
After spending extensively on the world’s largest aircraft, Emirates is by far the largest user of the Airbus A380, and it is now preparing the fleet required to maintain its Dubai super-hub at the center of the aviation map into the 2030s.
The airline kicked off this week’s air show with a $52 billion order for 90 additional Boeing (NYSE: BA) 777X aircraft, claiming the American planemaker looked to be resolving regulatory and other issues that had plagued its arrival after five years of delays.
However, Emirates Airline President Tim Clark declined to make a substantial order for the essentially identical Airbus A350-1000 and harshly criticized Rolls-Royce for engine reliability in the region’s hot and sandy circumstances.
Rolls-Royce conceded that their A350-1000 engine would need more service than Emirates desired, but refuted Clark’s claim that the engine was “defective.”
Emirates has already purchased 50 A350-900s, which will arrive in August of next year.
Delegates have said that a top-up order for the same model would be seen as a consolation prize for Airbus after Boeing won the bulk of orders, but it would raise concerns about the company’s ability to compete with Boeing’s 777X in the crowded Gulf wide-body market.
At an investor day on November 28, investors are anticipated to question Rolls-Royce about the durability and price of its engines.
ORDERS ARE DOMINATED BY BOEING
In a week characterized by increasing demand for wide-body planes, Boeing received fresh orders for 196 planes at the Dubai Airshow, while Airbus received orders for 55 planes.
Airbus announced it had struck an “agreement in principle” with Turkish Airlines for a substantial purchase, but industry insiders stated the contract had not yet been inked.
Emirates agreed to purchase five extra 787 Dreamliners in addition to the 90 777X planes. FlyDubai, its sibling airline, bought 30 787 Dreamliners, its first wide-body order.
SunExpress, a Turkish budget airline, kicked off the event by ordering 45 Boeing 737 MAX narrow-body jets.
Ethiopian Airlines confirmed the purchase of 20 737 MAX planes over five years after the catastrophic 2019 MAX disaster that forced the worldwide fleet to be grounded. In addition, 11 Dreamliners were ordered.
EgyptAir announced the purchase of ten Airbus A350-900s, while AirBaltic announced the purchase of thirty Airbus A220-300s.
Royal Air Maroc has placed another order for two 787 Dreamliners. EgyptAir has announced that it would lease 18 new Boeing 737 MAX planes from Air Lease Corp.