On Sunday, the Chairman and CEO of Emirates, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum signed a firm order for 50 Airbus A350-900 extra wide body (XWB) aircraft with Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury, replacing an intention to buy 30 A350s and 40 A330 Neos. It’s likely that given the size of the order, Emirates will receive a substantial discount on the list price of $16 billion.
Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum with Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. Image: AFP
The A350s will be powered by the Rolls Royce Trent engines and delivery of the first is expected in May 2023 continuing up to 2028. The aircraft are expected to be deployed in the region, and on ultra-long haul routes up to 15 hours flying time from Dubai. The XWB carries up to 350 passengers. The order comes as Emirates plans to reconfigure its fleet, given the early demise of the A380 and a slowing regional market. Emirates had previously showed interest in purchasing up to 40 Boeing 787 Dreamliners but has not yet made a firm commitment.
A350-XWB. Image; Reuters
Airbus CEO Faury was delighted; ‘It is very good news for Airbus.’ No doubt his good day at the office was made even better by another huge order on the second day of the air show, this one from Air Arabia. Headquartered at Sharjah in the UAE, the low-cost carrier placed an order for 120 Airbus A320s worth (again, at list price) $14billion. Chief Executive Adel Ali said the purchase would allow Air Arabia to expand into southeast Asia and Africa. The deal includes 73 A320 Neos, 27 A321 Neos and 20 A321 XLRs.
Air Arabia A319. Image; WAM
So, happy days for Airbus; $30 billion in sales at Dubai thus far.
So far, not that good for Boeing. Turkey’s SunExpress announced an order for ten 737-8 Max at $1.2 billion and Biman Bangladesh for two 787-9 Dreamliners at $585 million. SpiceJet is expected to order a large number of 737-Max, perhaps up to 80 in the near future, no doubt at an enormous discount. The Indian low-cost domestic carrier has 13 examples delivered and 193 on order. It’s suggested that SpiceJet will expand operations from a new hub at Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE.
The Dubai Airshow continues until Thursday 21st November.