Today’s announcement of the largest Boeing order by catalog value for 50 of its 777-300ERs plus options for 20 by Emirates worth $US 18 billion brings to mind something that airline’s president, Tim Clark, was reported as saying in March last year in relation to the importance of the Airbus A350 in replacing aging A330s and older model 777s.
If Airbus significantly delays the A350, Emirates would have to keep these aircraft longer which would then exceed its usual aircraft aged of around 10 years.
Mr Clarke said that unlike the A380 aircraft – which was two years late – Emirates could find alternatives to the A350 if there was a delay.
“All I have to do is pick up the phone and order more Boeing 777s,” Clark threatened.
Maybe he has done just that. The Dubai Air Show opened today, and there would have be some worried people in Airbus, given the announcement of delays to the A350 only a few days ago, putting back its entry into service from late 2013 to mid 2014.
In 2007 Emirates ordered 50 Airbus A350-900s, the initial version, plus 20 of the -1000 version, which is both larger and longer in range.
Since then Emirates has more or less simultaneously warned Airbus not to be late, but also to change the design of the A350-1000 to give it more range. It is the largest buyer and operator of the Airbus A380 ( 90 ordered and 17 in service) and the Boeing 777, currently operating at least 86 of them in various versions, although the net effect of the new 777 order is unclear, as it is part of a program to replace old with new, as well as grow that part of its fleet.
Whether the Emirates A350 order is intact should become clear during the course of the four day Dubai Air Show.