Dubai airline Emirates has confirmed that it will cut its order for new A380s, and has instead signed a deal with Airbus for 40 A330-900 aircraft and 30 A350-900 aircraft, it announced on Thursday.
The new deal is worth $21.4bn at list prices, with the A330neo and A350 aircraft set to be delivered to Emirates from 2021 and 2024 respectively.
With regards to its outstanding A380 deliveries, Emirates said it will receive 14 more A380s from 2019 until the end of 2021, taking its total A380 order book to 123 units, it said.
The carrier is the world’s largest operator of the Airbus A380 jets. In January 2018, the airline had announced a $16bn deal for 36 additional A380 jets, to be delivered from 2020 onwards, offering a lifeline for the A380 programme.
However, the A380 order hit a snag due to differences between Emirates and A380 engine maker Rolls-Royce.
The latest announcement indicates that Emirates – which had a commitment to 178 A380s worth more than $60bn, has reduced its order book by 55 aircraft.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and CEO, Emirates Airline and Group, said: “After many months of discussions, we have come to an agreement with Airbus and Rolls-Royce.
“Emirates has been a staunch supporter of the A380 since its very inception. While we are disappointed to have to give up our order, and sad that the programme could not be sustained, we accept that this is the reality of the situation. For us, the A380 is a wonderful aircraft loved by our customers and our crew. It is a differentiator for Emirates. We have shown how people can truly fly better on the A380, and Emirates has set the standards for that by introducing customer experiences that are unique to the A380 like our shower spas and onboard lounge.
“The A380 will remain a pillar of our fleet well into the 2030s, and as we have always done, Emirates will continue to invest in our onboard product and services so our customers can be assured that the Emirates A380 experience will always be top-notch.”
The airline also confirmed that the A330neos will be deployed on Emirates’ regional destinations, and enable it to serve smaller airports.
The A350s will be deployed on Emirates’ long-haul operations.
Sheikh Ahmed said: “The 40 A330neos and 30 A350s that we are ordering will complement Emirates’ fleet mix, support our network growth, and give us more flexibility to better serve seasonal or opportunistic demand. Both the A330neos and A350s will play an important role in our future fleet and network plans.”