DAS2023: Emirates Orders 15 Airbus A350-900s

Emirates opened the fourth day of the Dubai Airshow with a large order for the Airbus A350-900.



November 16, 2023

DALLAS — Emirates (EK) opened the fourth day of the Dubai Airshow with a large order for the Airbus A350-900. This morning, Emirates ordered an additional 15 Airbus A350-900 aircraft, increasing the backlog of its A350 aircraft to 65. The order comes just days after EK placed a massive order of 95 aircraft from Boeing, including the 777X and 787 Dreamliner.

The order comes after EK President Sir Tim Clark told journalists that the airline would not order the larger variant of the A350, the A350-1000, until Rolls Royce, which manufactures the engines of the aircraft, could improve the durability of the Trent XWB-97 and maintenance costs. 

The order was announced on the fourth and final day of the Dubai Airshow. However, no signing ceremony was held. Although it is another order for Airbus, it is not what the European manufacturer hoped for. The Dubai-based carrier said the additional aircraft would further power Emirates' growth plans and reflect its commitment to the future of aviation.

Emirates Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum noted the importance of this order, stating:

"The A350-900s will add to our fleet mix, and we are pleased to announce additional orders for this aircraft type. We plan to deploy our A350s to serve a range of new markets, including long-haul missions of up to 15 hours of 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."

EK is scheduled to receive its first A350 in August 2024, including today's orders, so the airline will receive its last A350 in early 2028. The carrier already operates a mixed long-haul fleet of Airbus and Boeing jets.

Earlier this week, the Dubai-based carrier's order comprised 55 of the larger 400-seat 777-9 variant and 35 of the smaller 777-8 variant. In addition to the Boeing 777X, EK ordered five more Boeing 787 jets, growing its Dreamliner backlog to 35. The airline also readjusted its Boeing 787 order by converting 30 of its 787-9 Dreamliner orders to 20 787-8s and 10 787-10s. With the latest order, EK is scheduled to take delivery of 20 Boeing 787-8 and 15 Boeing 787-10 aircraft.

Photo: Dubai Airshow

-1000 Variant Snubbed

During the Dubai Airshow, Emirates' President Sir Tim Clark expressed to the media that he was not happy with the performance of the larger A350's engines. That said, EK seems satisfied with the engines for the A350-900, with the first A350 scheduled to be delivered to the airline in July 2024. The aircraft will enter service just in time for the peak summer season.

Regarding the A350-1000, the airline has stated that the Trent XWB-97 engines only last around 2,000–2,500 flight hours, a quarter of the cycles Emirates requires. Rolls-Royce has indicated that it is continually making improvements to its engines.

Going into the Dubai Airshow, EK looked to place a huge aircraft order, which they did with their Boeing order on day one. However, this was just the start, and it was expected that EK would place a similar order with Airbus. As the week went on, plans for a larger A350 order abated. 

The small order today was decided by many as a 'consolation prize' for Airbus, as the European manufacturer exponentially lagged behind competitor Boeing in terms of orders at the show.

Featured image: Emirates A350-900 Photo: Airbus