Emirates has cancelled its order for 70 A350s, comprising 50 A350-900s and 20 A350-1000s.
"Airbus and Emirates Airline benefit from a long-standing relationship and the airline recently reiterated its confidence in Airbus products particularly by praising the A380 and the benefits the aircraft brings to their operations," said Airbus in a press release.
“While disappointed with this decision, we are confident that the delivery slots which start towards the end of this decade vacated by Emirates will be taken up by other airlines. Demand for the Airbus A350 remains strong, with more than 700 aircraft already sold.”
In November/2012, Clark said the airline's A350-1000 was in limbo, and the A350-900 “is starting to look a bit marginal to us because of size,” he said. “Gauge is the way we grow, you cannot get any more aircraft into the Dubai hub”. But today´s decision is a surprise.
“It is not the world’s greatest news,” said Airbus COO Customers John Leahy. “Tim does change his mind from time to time.” Leahy stated there was no impact financially given that first deliveries were only planned for 2019 and spanned out to 2034. “There is certainly no hole in production, I’m not particularly worried at all.” Leahy pointed out that he has already received expressions of interest from other A350 customers who would like to pick up production slots now freed up as a result of the Emirates decision.
The cancellation is not so much a problem in terms of order numbers – Airbus still holds 742 commitments for the aircraft – but it does raise the question whether other airlines are as unsatisfied with the -1000. Other Gulf carriers have also placed large orders for the -1000 variant –- has bought 37 and Etihad 22 of the type.
The Emirates cancellation does leave a significant dent in the -1000 backlog which has now shrunk from 189 to 169 aircraft.
Since the A350 order, Emirates has been increasingly focused on even larger aircraft. It placed an order for 150 and 50 more A380s. Emirates stated that “the contract which we signed in 2007 for 70 A350 aircraft has lapsed. We are reviewing our fleet requirements.”