Dubai: Emirates Airline said Monday it would buy 50 Airbus 350-900 widebody aircraft in a $16 billion deal, as it reorganises its fleet after cutting orders of the A380 superjumbo.
“I am happy to announce we are purchasing 50 Airbus 350 for $16 billion,” the carrier’s chairman and CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum told reporters at the Dubai Airshow, adding that delivery would begin from May 2023.
Emirates serves global network
Emirates serves a global network spanning over 158 destinations in 84 countries. Its fleet stands at 261 large aircraft, including 113 Airbus A380 superjumbos and 158 Boeing 777 planes.
Its move earlier this year to cut 39 aircraft from its total A380 orders prompted Airbus to pull the plug on the costly plane, which airlines have struggled to fill to its capacity of 500-850 people.
At the time, Emirates said it would buy smaller A330 and A350 models instead in a deal worth $21.4 billion.
The airline said that Monday’s announcement “replaces the heads of agreement signed in February where Emirates announced its intent to purchase 30 A350s and 40 A330Neos.”
Sheikh Ahmed said the decision “follows a thorough review of various aircraft options and of our own fleet plans.”
The airline said the A350 will enable it to serve a range of new markets, including on long-haul routes up to 15 hours of flying time from its base in Dubai.
“It is very good news for Airbus,” the European aerospace giant’s CEO Guillaume Faury said at the air show, adding he was “very proud that Airbus 350 has been selected by Emirates”.
Emirates Airline, the largest carrier in the Middle East, reported earlier this month that its net profits nearly tripled in the half year, mainly thanks to a drop in operating costs and fuel prices.
The result was a change of fortunes for the Dubai carrier, which for the full year to the end of March took a heavy hit from high oil prices and currency fluctuations.