Airbus announced Wednesday morning French time that Emirates Airlines canceled its firm order for 70 A350 XWBs.
In a statement, Airbus said:
Airbus confirms that Emirates Airline has decided to cancel its order of 70 A350 XWB aircraft. The decision follows on-going discussions with the airline in light of their fleet requirement review, as demonstrated by their order of 50 additional A380 at the last Dubai Airshow and their continuous interest in the program
Airbus and Emirates Airline benefit from a long-standing relationship and the airline recently reiterated its confidence in Airbus products particularly by praising the A380 and the benefits the aircraft brings to their operations.
The order of 50 A350-900 and 20 A350-1000 was originally placed by Emirates Airline in 2007 with first delivery slots scheduled from 2019.
This cancellation could open a hole in Emirates’ fleet plan. The so-called middle market for wide body twins is the heart of the market. This cancellation could open an opportunity for Boeing to step in with the slow-selling 777-300ER, which has a major production gap beginning in 2017. Rather than introduce a new fleet type, Emirates could opt to stay with the 777-300ER for commonality, or perhaps its huge order for 150 Boeing 777-8/9s may supply fleet needs.
Airbus has more than 800 orders, options and LOIs for the A350 even after cancellation.