Airbus is to get a second chance to sell its new A350 aircraft to Emirates Airline after the fast-growing Gulf carrier revealed it would take a fresh look at the case for buying the long-range passenger jet, in a head-to-head contest with Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.
Tim Clark, Emirates’ president, said the airline would hold discussions with Airbus and Boeing either late this year or next year about the merits of buying the A350 or the Dreamliner 787. Emirates is interested in purchasing between 50 and 70 wide-body aircraft capable of flying on regional routes in the Middle East, plus to cities in Africa.
Emirates’ planned move is a boost for Boeing, because the carrier has never placed an order for the 787.
2 people familiar with the situation said Emirates decided to drop its A350 order made in 2007 because it had concerns about the jet’s specification and performance. Mr. Clark declined to comment on the reasons for the cancellation but said the airline wanted to buy a “mature” aircraft. “When the aircraft are mature, they will be better defined in terms of performance, fuel burn,” he added.
Mr Clark said: “At the end of this year, beginning of next year, we will re-engage with Airbus on the A350. We will also engage with Boeing about the 787.”