Emirates has reached agreement with Airbus to cancel commitments to add 39 additional double-deck A380 aircraft to its fleet. The Middle East carrier already operates 109 of the type, but will now take only 14 more over the next two years rather than increase its inventory to 162 as was originally expected. The move paves the way for Airbus to close the A380 production line in 2021 after the last examples for Emirates and three for Japanese All Nippon Airways are completed.
Emirates will take a further 14 A380s, reducing its overall buy from 162 to 123. (Simon_sees)
To offset the capacity that would have been provided by additional A380s, Emirates has ordered 40 A330-900 and 30 A350-900 aircraft. It is expected that deliveries of the former will start in 2021, with the first A350s following in 2024.
It was only two weeks ago when it became apparent that Emirates was looking to change its outstanding order portfolio: Emirates explores fleet changes.
Emirates will take delivery of 40 A350-900s starting in 2024. (Airbus)
The talks were driven in part by Airbus' need to clarify its ongoing position on the loss-making A380 program and Emirates' need for a more flexible fleet that could accommodate regional routes in the Middle East as well as long thin intercontinental routes.
The A330neo are likely be deployed on routes across the Gulf region as well as to Europe and the Indian subcontinent where demand does not justify a Boeing 777-X or an A380.
Emirates forthcoming A330neos are likely to be deployed on regional routes from its Dubai base. (Airbus)
The A350-900s will enable the carrier to operate services to North America and deeper into Asia, while again offering a slightly reduced capacity that should enable it to increase profitability.
Emirates also has a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to take 40 Boeing 787s. It has not yet clarified whether the MoU will be converted into a firm order, but the 40 A330neos it has now agreed to take will enable it provide similar capacity over a broadly similar range. The airline's order for 115 Boeing 777-9s and 35 777-8x is so far unaffected and these aircraft are likely to replace the carrier's existing 777-300/ERs after deliveries start next year.
Text © The Aviation Oracle