Emirates cancels order for 70 Airbus A350 aircraft

By Chris C., June 11 2014
Emirates cancels order for 70 Airbus A350 aircraft

Emirates has cancelled its order for 70 Airbus A350 aircraft as the airline seeks to 'right-size' its fleet.

Placed in 2007, the order for 50 A350-900 and 20 A350-1000 saw deliveries due to commence in 2019.

"The contract which we signed in 2007 for 70 A350 aircraft has lapsed," an Emirates spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller. "We are reviewing our fleet requirements."

Read: Airbus A350 flight test review, photos

John Leahy, Airbus' Chief Operating Office for Customers, admits "it's not the worlds greatest news, but (Emirates President) Tim Clark does change his mind from time to time, and maybe in the next few years he may change back to the A350."

Speaking at the opening of Airbus' annual international media conference in Toulouse, France, Leahy was quick to assure that Emirates' unexpected cancellation of the A350 order "has no impact financially."

"Our first (A350) delivery is five years from now – the first airplanes we're going to deliver from 2019-2023, that’s pretty far out, so maybe I have some time to talk to Tim and he'll reconsider in a couple of years."

"But the A350 program is still in great shape (and) our market position is still in pretty good shape," Leahy added, reporting that Airbus still has 742 orders on the books for the A350.

Leahy says he learned of Emirates A350 cancellation early this morning in Toulouse, although he knew in advance the airline was reviewing its fleet plan – "but Tim is always reviewing his fleet plan."

However, Leahy claims that he has already taken calls from several airlines interested in taking up the A350 orders which Emirates has dropped.

Emirates remains committed to its existing Airbus A380 fleet, whi will stand at 140 strong when all deliveries are completed, although the Gulf carrier is now campaigning for a next-generation A380neo.

Read: Airbus studying Airbus A380neo, but "no plans to build it"

Qatar Airways remins on track to take delivery of the first A350 before the end of this year, and with 80 aircraft on the books remains Airbus' largest customer for the jetliner, followed by Singapore Airlines (70 orders), Etihad Airways (62) and Cathay Pacific (46).

Also read: Airbus A350 cabin, seats revealed

Australian Business Traveller is attending the 2014 Airbus Innovation Days media conference in Toulouse as a guest of Airbus.

For the latest information for business travellers and frequent flyers, follow @AusBT on Twitter.

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1252

Trouble in paradise...?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2011

Total posts 231

I think it is more like a huge rebuke to Airbus about what Emirates conceive is the efficiency of the 777X overthe  A350. I bet there will be some worried folks at Airbus because they wouldn’t want any of their other large customers doing anything similar.

07 Aug 2012

Total posts 196

I understand dropping the A359 as it's too small for EK's needs. But the A3510 would have been good to launch routes for them. I guess 20 frames is a small fleet for an airline the size of EK.

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 125

Does this make Cathay's 48 A350's the largest order now?

not surprising considering CX is the largest A330 operator

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jun 2014

Total posts 209

According a bloomberg artice I read that title goes to Qatar.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 225

Qatar has 80 firm orders with 43 x A359 and 37 x A3510
Singapore Airlines is next on the list with 70 x A359 

26 May 2012

Total posts 149

I was always slightly surprised by the A350 order... Why not stick to your guns with the 777? I suppose back then the 777X wasn't a thing and now that it is the big Boeing is more appealing. 

Virgin Australia - Platinum

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 87

Agreed Qfflyer, it makes more sense to run less aircraft type and 777X should do the job for them. Virgin Australia to pick up the A350 orders? I wish.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 26

The A350 was proabably a stopgap incase the 777x wasnt what they wanted. Maybe VA should look into them.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Dec 2013

Total posts 16

qantas have to get the a350xwb!!

get the ones canceled!

21 Oct 2013

Total posts 15

After this,you have to say how many other orders are safe? and as to Clarke wanting to Neo the A380 with Rolls Engines-I seriously WARN  AGAINST such a programme from Rolls. Could turn out to be billions wasted.

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