Emirates agrees on deal to buy 50 Airbus jets
▶ Emirates Airline and Air Arabia signed firm deals with the plane maker at the air show
Airbus wrapped the second day of the Dubai Airshow with blockbuster jet deals worth $30 billion (Dh110.2bn) from local customers Emirates Airline and Air Arabia, stealing the spotlight from US rival Boeing.
Airbus finalised a deal with Emirates for a firm order of 50 A350-900 wide-bodies valued at $16bn at list prices. That replaces an outline deal in February for 30 A350s, which also included A330Neos valued at $12bn that are still under discussion.
Deliveries of the Rolls-Roycepowered A350s start in 2023 through to 2028, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, chairman of Emirates, said yesterday.
“During the past month as negotiations continued we did a thorough review of various aircraft and of our own fleet plans. We are confident in the performance of the A350XWB and we believe this aircraft will be a good fit for our operations at Emirates,” he said.
The decision on the revised deal comes after the airline expressed its ire with plane makers over delivery delays and performance issues.
The A350 will have various cabin configurations, including premium economy, and will be used on long-haul flights of up to 15 hours from Dubai. Emirates’ premium economy class on its A380 superjumbo will start in November 2020.
“It’s been a lot of work in the last months to come to this agreement and it’s a great outcome,” said Guillaume Faury, chief executive at Airbus.
“We are extremely happy to see the A380 have a young but very talented brother in the Emirates fleet.”
Airbus chief commercial officer Christian Scherer told The National the talks to bring the A350 deal to fruition “were very intense”.
Discussions are still ongoing between Emirates and Airbus regarding the 40 A330Neos, for which the airline signed an outline deal in February, Sheikh Ahmed said.
“It is on our radar. I don’t want to say now we’ve cancelled it or not, because we’re still talking about it,” he said.
When asked whether he was optimistic about finalising the A330Neo deal, Mr Scherer referred the question to the airline. “If you ask me, does the A330 bring value to Emirates? The answer is yes,” he said.
Emirates is also discussing with Boeing a separate deal for 40 787 Dreamliners, Sheikh Ahmed said.
Airbus yesterday also landed a $14bn order from Air Airabia for A320Neo-family jets.
The long-awaited deal includes a mix of A320Neos, the larger A321Neo and the longer-range A32XLR to be delivered starting in 2024 for fleet growth and replacement, said Adel Ali, Air Arabia’s chief executive.
The longer range aircraft A321XLR is a “game-changer” for Air Arabia, helping the all-Airbus operator reach more destinations in South-East Asia, Europe and Africa, he said. The airline has yet to pick an engine maker.
Air Arabia, one of the biggest low-cost airlines in the region, has entered into a joint venture with Etihad Airways and jets from the order will also be used for the new airline.
The jets will be in Abu Dhabi, and its other UAE hubs in Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah, or its operations in Egypt and Morocco “as and when needed”, Mr Ali said.
The two deals marked a win for Airbus over its competitor Boeing, which took a hit from a global grounding of its 737 Max narrow-body following two fatal crashes.
However, Boeing did win an order from Turkey’s SunExpress for 10 more 737 Max jets. These will complement the airline’s existing order of 32 Max.
The deal, valued at $1.2bn at list prices, is the second Max order following grounding after the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash in March.
Boeing did win an order from Turkey’s SunExpress for 10 737 Max. These will complement the airline’s existing order of 32 Max
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, chairman of Emirates, signs the order for 50 A350-900 aircraft with Guillaume Faury of Airbus in Dubai yesterday