Emirates Orders A350-900, Backtracks On A330-900neo

Filed Under: Emirates

The Dubai Airshow is going on at the moment, and for the most part we haven’t seen too many exciting aircraft orders, even though these are otherwise quite common at the shows.

There’s one major exception — Emirates has just placed a huge order, which shows them once again modifying their fleet renewal strategy.

Emirates Intended To Order A350-900 & A330-900neo (As A380 Replacements)

In February some huge decisions were made about the future of Emirates’ fleet, and about the A380 overall.

At that point it was announced that A380 production would end in 2021, as Emirates was the only airline keeping the program alive. With this, we saw Emirates reducing their total A380 order from 162 units to 123 units.

In the process of reducing their A380 order by 39 aircraft, they intended to order 40 A330-900s and 30 A350-900s. At the time the order hadn’t yet been finalized, but clearly it was a provisional agreement as they needed to replace the A380s with some other Airbus aircraft.

Emirates A330-900neo (which is no longer happening, it seems)

Emirates Finalizes A350-900 Order, But Cancels A330-900neos

Emirates has today announced a firm order for 50 Airbus A350-900XWBs, worth about 16 billion USD at list prices. So that’s 20 more A350s than they were initially looking at. But here’s the really interesting part:

This purchase agreement replaces the heads of agreement signed in February where Emirates announced its intent to purchase 30 A350s and 40 A330Neos.

So Emirates has increased their A350 order by 20 aircraft, and in the process seems to have also backtracked on their plans to get the A330-900neo.

The plan is for these A350s to be delivered between May 2023 and 2028.

Emirates says that the A350 will enable them to serve a range of short haul and long haul markets, up to 15 hours from Dubai. Emirates says that they’ll equip the A350s with different cabin configurations, including in some cases premium economy.

Emirates A350-900

Emirates Is All Over The Place With Their Fleet

It’s clear that A380 production ending is really messing with Emirates’ strategy. Emirates prides themselves in the simplicity of their fleet, as they currently exclusively operate A380s and 777s.

But the rest of their plans are a bit confusing:

Emirates 787-10 (which also may no longer be happening)

Bottom Line

It’s nice to see Emirates both increase and finalize their A350 order, and perhaps simplify their overall fleet plans.

Fleet simplicity has been a hallmark of Emirates, so to see them planning on potentially flying A380s, 777s, 777Xs, A350s, A330s, and 787s, all at once, seemed a bit much.

It seems to me like they may just focus on the 777Xs and A350s for refreshing their fleet, which makes sense.

What do you make of Emirates’ decision on the A350-900 and A330-900neo?

  1. The 777X and A350 would probably be enough for Emirates since there aren’t any bigger planes on the market. Perhaps them renegotiating their 777X order means them increasing their 777-9 count, if they stick to their current strategy. But since they already have a big audience and brand recognition, along with good passenger loads, they could now focus more on frequency in short and medium haul markets compared to huge passenger loads from the A380.

  2. For political reasons, specially with Opens Skies with the US, Emirates needs to order US frames as much as Europeans, as they need both these markets to balance their waves from Africa and Asia.
    With the rumours of them willing to downsize their 777X order ( which I doubt given that there will be no newer A380 for replacement ), they need to send both a clear signal they are not totally committed to Airbus and make room for the 787, thus exit the A339 which would re-add a type Emirates had got rid of ( they flew both A330ceo and A340) : besides, the A339 was never part of their strategy when they first signed up for the 787.
    Bottom line : expect their 787 finalized soon, perhaps with a top-up. I also expect further a top-up order for the 777X down end of the 2020s, assuming of course Boeing have it flying and with no new competitor on the horizon, as Dubai has been courting both Russia and China for a FAL there, should be for the CR939.

  3. Emirates needs the capacity to replace the A380, especially at slot restricted airports like LHR. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 777X order is firmed up with even better discounts. The 777X will likely replace the A380 while the 787-10 / A350 will replace the 77W and 77L.

  4. Wonder what the price Difference is between A350-900 and A350-1000. Because they would have gone for Dash 1000. Because Emirates is known or Branded and an operator of Bigger and Better Aircrafts.

  5. 1) Airline orders Aircraft Type B but downgrades previous order for Type A

    2) 3-6 months later, airline Airline orders Aircraft Type C but downgrades previous order for Type B

    3) 3-6 months later, airline Airline orders Aircraft Type D but downgrades previous order for Type C

    And so on…

    Nice way to remain in the news and get some publicity

  6. Do we know what first class cabin will be going into all the new planes? Is it the new first class as seen on the handful of 777s?

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