Dubai airline Emirates announced a firm order for 50 A350-900 XWB aircraft worth $16bn at list prices on Monday at the Dubai Airshow, revising an earlier agreement signed in February.
The airline has increased the A350 order from 30 to 50 aircraft, it announced. The firm order does not include the A330Neos.
The February deal, valued at $21.4bn at list prices, was announced after Emirates cancelled its deal with Airbus for new A380s.
The delivery of the first Emirates A350 XWB is expected in May 2023, and will continue until 2028.
Emirates chairman and CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said the move came after a “thorough review”.
“This move follows a thorough review of various aircraft options and of our own fleet plans. It is Emirates’ long-standing strategy to invest in modern and efficient aircraft, and we are confident in the performance of the A350 XWB,” he said.
“The A350s will give us added operational flexibility in terms of capacity, range and deployment. We are strengthening our business model to provide efficient and comfortable air transport services to, and through, our Dubai hub.”
Emirates said the A350 will enable it to serve a range of new markets, including long-haul routes of up to 15 hours of flying time from Dubai. The new jets will offer different cabin configurations including premium economy.
Speaking to journalists, Sheikh Ahmed said discussions were still on with Airbus for the A330 Neos. “We can’t say whether we have cancelled it or not because we are still having talks about it,” he said.
Emirates currently operates an all wide-body fleet including the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 777.
Sheikh Ahmed also confirmed that the airline remains in talks with Boeing regarding the delivery schedule for the 777X jet as well as discussions around the 787 Dreamliner.
During the first six months of 2019-20, Emirates received three Airbus A380s, with three more new aircraft scheduled to be delivered before the end of the financial year.
It also retired six older aircraft from its fleet with a further two to be returned by March 31, 2020.
The carrier’s fleet stood at 267 aircraft including freighters as of end-September.
“Emirates strategy to move away from reliance on the A380 has firmly begun,” said Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research.
“That no A330Neos were ordered leaves the door open to firming up the 787-10 and 787-9 commitments announced two years ago. The 787 family definitely has a place alongside the Airbus jets, as well as 777X,” he opined.