Dubai Airshow: Emirates orders additional Airbus A350-900 planes worth $6bn

Airline has signed orders for 110 aircraft valued at $58bn at the Dubai event

An Airbus A350-1000 during the 2023 Dubai Airshow at Dubai World Central. AFP
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Emirates, the world's biggest long-haul airline, ordered an additional 15 Airbus A350-900 wide-body aircraft valued at $6 billion at the Dubai Airshow on Thursday as part of its future growth plans.

This takes its orders at the Dubai Airshow this week to 110 additional aircraft, including the 95 wide-bodies it ordered from Boeing on Monday, for a total value of $58 billion at list prices. Customers typically get significant discounts.

“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,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, chairman and chief executive of Emirates airline and group.

“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.”

The order for the A350-900s came after differences between Emirates and engine-maker Rolls-Royce stood in the way of a deal for the larger A350-1000 model at the Dubai Airshow.

The airline was seeking guarantees from the UK manufacturer on the maintenance cost of the engines for the A350-1000 and their performance in harsh desert conditions.

Rolls-Royce's Trent XWB-84 powers the smaller A350-900s, while the Trent XWB-97 engines powers the A350-1000s. Emirates' new order takes its total for the Trent XWB family to 130 engines, which will start delivery in 2025, according to the UK company.

Rolls-Royce said discussions with Emirates on the engine for the larger A350-1000 variant will continue.

“We are happy to see Emirates continuing to build their A350 fleet which shows their trust in Rolls-Royce," Ewen McDonald, Rolls-Royce's chief customer officer of civil aerospace told The National on Thursday.

"We will continue our discussions with Emirates on the A350-1000 engine improvements and look forward to them choosing this aircraft in the future.”

Emirates already has an existing order for 50 units of the smaller A350-900 model. The new deal for 15 additional A350-900s will bring Emirates’ total A350s on order to 65.

The airline is scheduled to take delivery of the first A350 in August next year and with the latest order, the airline will receive A350 deliveries until early 2028.

"The A350-900s will add to our fleet mix and we are pleased to announce additional orders for this aircraft type," Sheikh Ahmed said.

"Emirates’ orders this week are all carefully planned to support our future growth."

Including its order for the 95 additional Boeing aircraft on Monday, Emirates will have a total order book of 310 wide-body aircraft.

Emirates is the largest operator of the Airbus A380 superjumbos, which will stay in service into the 2030s, and the airline is planning its future fleet beyond that with new wide-body aircraft orders such as the Boeing 777X.

"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," said Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer and head of Airbus International.

Updated: November 16, 2023, 12:57 PM