TOULOUSE — Emirates will scrap its order for seventy Airbus A350 aircraft. The news, delivered by Airbus, comes as the world’s media gathers at its Toulouse headquarters for its annual Innovation Days conference.
“It’s not the world’s greatest news,” said Airbus Chief Operating Officer John Leahy at the opening remarks of the two day event.
The order, placed in 2007, was split between 50 A350-900 and 20 A350-1000 aircraft. Airbus, in a statement, pinned the Emirates decision to a fleet review the Dubai-based carrier carried out following last year’s order for 50 additional A380 super-jumbos. Leahy said the decision was not all tied to any changes in the performance data of the airplane.
With the order now officially scrapped, Airbus’ loss could be Boeing’s gain. The 777-300ER, which is already hugely popular with Emirates, could see another order from the carrier. Boeing has been looking to plug gaps in between the final orders for the 777 classic and the 777X, still six years out. The right discount from sticker price could meet both Boeing’s need to plug that gap along with Emirates’ need to fill the 200-300 seat market that the A350s would have filled.
Despite the ill-timed hit, Airbus remained confident. Leahy said the move would have “no impact” on the manufacturer’s bottom line, adding that he was “not particularly worried about it.” The company reported that the A350’s order book remains healthy at 742 firm commitments. It also cited it’s long-running relationship with Emirates, in particular the outstanding A380 orders and the carrier’s commitment to the type going forward.