Analyzing the Emirates order cancellations

The cancelled order for 70 Airbus A350s before the company’s annual Innovation Days was a surprise and an embarrassment that took the edge off what was intended to be a two day promotion of Airbus programs.

The cancellation by Emirates Airlines was certainly not good news. But it probably should not have been a total surprise. That it was had more to do with people not paying attention. Emirates had been signaling for some time it had issues with the program ever since Airbus rejigged the A350-1000 a few years ago, without consulting Emirates in the process.

Headlines were bad and while most analysts were measured and reporting balanced, there were a few exceptions of hand-wringing disaster for breathless stories.

Airbus tried to downplay the cancellation, without much success. But an objective analysis suggests Airbus and the rationale analysts are correct: while a blow, it’s hardly a program-defining moment, any more than the Bombardier CSeries-Pratt & Whitney engine failure last month was a defining moment in that program.

John Leahy, COO-Customers, pointed out that Boeing saw more cancellations for the 787 than Airbus has for the A350. Boeing saw some 200 orders for the 787 cancelled during its program delays. The largest single cancellation was for 35 from Qantas Airways. Qantas actually cancelled 51 787s over three actions. Lessor RBS Capital cancelled 25 in one go.

The Emirates deliveries began in 2019, five years hence. This gives Airbus lots of time to find new customers, and Leahy told the media at Innovation Days he’s already had some calls from customers seeking the slots. He also said he can resell them at higher prices than Emirates received as a launch customer.

Why did Emirates cancel? No doubt dissatisfaction with the A350 revision is part of it. Upgauging is another element. Emirates is aggressively expanding and there is limited room at its Dubai airport hub. The Boeing 777-8 ultra-long haul airplane is larger than the shorter-range A350-900 and the 777-9 is larger than the A350-1000.

Had these been near-in delivery slots, there would be more cause for concern. But it’s a long time before “metal” is cut and engines are built.

We aren’t worried about this, any more than we were hand-wringing over the 787 cancellations. Those who engage in hysteria over this simply don’t understand the realities of the market.

70 Comments on “Analyzing the Emirates order cancellations

  1. You note that 787s had more cancellations than the A350. True. However many (not all) of 787 cancellations were due to economic stress in the global economy and/or financial conditions of the customer. You cite QANTAS’ 51 order cancellation. We’ll that was due to their weak financial performance. And this carrier is still struggling. Emirates’ cancellation was due to the changes in the aircraft design and specs that the carrier had not had a chance to review.

    • You are correct, Uresh, but some 787 cancellations were because of the program delays and falling short of specifications.

    • I’d reckon that quite a few 787 early customers were sitting on the fence during the long 787-delay saga and deciding not to cancel due to the nature of the 787 historic pricing discounts**. Why should they’ve cancelled their 787s ordered at heavily discounted prices when they in addition were getting a handsome penalty payment from Boeing as well?

      The A350 is IMJ simply too small for Emirates. Their growth is tremendous and before they can move to the New World Central Airport in Dubai in 2025, they must make very efficient use of the capacity at DXB if their continued growth isn’t to be hampered.

      When the new Concourse D opens in 2016 at DXB, Emirates will be the only operator at Concourses A (20 A380 gates), B and C. There are currently a total of 74 gates with aerobridges at A, B and C; 25 of which are for the A380. In addition there are currently 62 remote stands for A, B and C. If Concourses B and C were to be upgraded to A380 capable gates only, then you’d have 40 A380 gates at B and C in additon to the 20 A380 gates already available at Concourse A.

      I’m of the opinion that Emirates for obvious reasons primarily wants their double deck A380s parked at gates that have 3 aerobridges, while they don’t mind parking their single deck widebodies at remote stands. 60 A380 gates sure sounds a lot, but not if you operate the way Emirates does. During the early morning departure bank, for example, Emirates is facing an increasingly acute problem of saturation. Here’s an excellent analysis of “Emirates A380 Deployment – Operational Analysis”:

      It’s not a secret that Emirates wants to grow their A380 fleet further beyond the 140 unites already ordered, However, if that is to happen many more A380 stands must be constructed at Concourses B and C.

      *** Emirates is already the largest customer for A380s and the 777 long-range jet offered by Boeing Co. BA -2.42% In December, it signed an order for 50 more of the Airbus double-decker airliners, bringing its total commitment to 140, with 47 currently in service. The first 25 of the latest order will use current A380 engines, Mr. Clark said.

      The second batch, due several years later, might be delivered in the improved configuration, called A380neo, or new engine option, with a Rolls-Royce-built engine. The current version of the plane comes with two engine offerings, one by Rolls-Royce and one by General Electric Co. GE -0.87% and United Technologies Corp. UTX -0.81%

      “If they do it, then we will replace the other 65 that are coming up for retirement in that period,” said Mr. Clark. “And frankly, we would buy more on top of that.”

      So, in the twilight years of DXB Emirates could IMJ be operating upwards of 180 A380s and 180 777s. All of the A380s would be parked at the 60 or so gates at Concourses A, B and C, while their smallest aircraft at that time — the 777-300ERs and/or the 777-8Xs — could be parked at the more than 60 remote stands of Concourses A, B and C.

      Hence, this has nothing to do IMO with Emirates’ cancellation being due “to the changes in the aircraft design and specs that the carrier had not had a chance to review.” Again, the A350-900 is plainly too small for Emirates, and so is the A350-1000. Not because they don’t want to operate smaller arcraft but because of the space constraints at DXB. When Emirates finally move to the new airport in 2025 I would not be surprised if they would once again reconsider operating “smaller” aircraft as well.



  2. Did Airbus really not know that the cancellation was happening? Why would Emirates crash the Airbus party in this manner?

    Me thinks TC is playing hardball to get the A380neo to be taken seriously and on the drawing board. The ME carriers are known to flounce when they don’t get their way. And yet EK and Airbus need each other just as much as long as The Sheikh and TC still want to expand at the rate they’ve stated.

    • If this had been a 20-frame cancellation I could see how it could be EK trying to force an A380neo… But 70 frames, originally ordered with launch customer discounts, with the associated slots for the first two years of delivery (2019/20) probably gone soon enough?
      Seems very excessive to do that if you just want to make a point. Even QR hasn’t done that so far, and they’re much more known to throw hissy fits than EK are.

    • Certainly Airbus knew what was going on. As for the timing, we asked–the timing was driven by compliance with disclosure rules as a publicly traded company.

      • That makes sense, as Airbus’ press release explicitly points out that the cancellation would be reflected in the June Orders overview. Something they usually don’t point out (nor do they usually issue press releases for cancellations to begin with).
        Scott – do you have any info on whether this was indeed linked to the A380 deal last year in some way, or whether this was a largely independent development that has come to pass since?

        • Apparently someone on said the 350 deposits were applied to the 380 order, but I don’t have any independent information.

          • Since it was a 2007 order, Airbus may simply have had to refund it in full, due to the delays?

        • @Andreas,

          “Since it was a 2007 order, Airbus may simply have had to refund it in full, due to the delays?”

          You can’t really say that Emirates was affected by the delays. The were scheduled to take delivery from 2019 onwards.

  3. Fully agree with the analysis, although to be honest I was quite surprised about the announcement. Flightglobal in their analysis happen to point to an interesting quote from Tim Clark from just before the A380 order announcement last year:
    [blockquote]Ahead of the Dubai show announcements, Clark hinted to Flightglobal that Emirates could switch out its Airbus widebody orders, saying: “Quite honestly, I’m more interested in more A380s than the A350 [sic!], because of the way our route network is growing.”[/blockquote]

    So as you said – at least some writing has been on the walls for a bit.

    • Sorry – got mixed up with tag formatting there; where’s the edit function when you need it? 😉

  4. If somebody who is launch customer of A350 drops his order in order to be launch customer for A33NEO will he get double or single discount?

    • Regular discount I’d say – I don’t think EK are a candidate for the A330neo, though. Quite far from it, in fact.

  5. Scott- your analysis works for me because I understood the performance concerns were real. Here is the issue, JL says that people have asked for the slots and are willing to pay a higher price. Why? He just told the interested parties that the EK prices were low, and they are offering rock bottom prices for the A330NEO, why pay a premium? Airbus needs to fill the production schedules, and the sooner these positions are sold the better for the production planning.

    Guess it is not histeria for me, but more focused on what EK takes in place of the A350-900s. I get the airport space issues and many have claimed the 777-8X is a dog of a frame, but if it meets customer expectations it is that customer’s dog. The 787 cancellations were due to poor commitment to delivery plan and the financial crisis. These are not due to programmatic issues but simply performance. It’s the first major cancellation and if it leads to other customers expressing similiar concerns then you have a systemic performance issue. Sorry to read about this type issue, don’t care about the spin from Airbus or anyone else, more interested in what this means to the widebody order books. 742 is not bad for the overall book, but the -1000 and the -800 need some life fast.

    • “It’s the first major cancellation and if it leads to other customers expressing similiar concerns then you have a systemic performance issue.”

      Emirates placed one order in 2007 for the 70 and have now cancelled it after they got their 777X. For the past several years, they’ve stated that THEY had issues with the aircraft not being able to do what THEY want.

      Others have instead topped up their orders. SQ, CX, QR, UA, and EY has even gone to the extent of adding more after initially cancelling their orders. Performance is not an issue here for these people.

      No doom and gloom here. This is an Emirates fleet strategy issue, not an A350 performance issue.

      • Actually it is a performance issue, at least for EK. For them the A-350 did not meet their specs. Airbus knew this and did not do anything to meet the EK specs., if building an airplane just for them. The new and improved A-3510 did not meet EK specs. and EK told them that. Apparently the original A-3510 design was closer to specs. than the improved model.
        EK is Airbus’s biggest WB customer and they have not made their customer happy. This would be akin to Boeing designing the B-737MAX without any consideration for WN.
        Since 2011, 29 A-358s have been canceled outright, not converted to another model. Additionally, in recent years the A-359 and A-3510 have had their ranges reduced for originally advertised max. range. For example the A-359 had its range reduced from the original 7750 nm to the current 7200 nm, the A-3510 from 8400 nm to the current 8000 nm.

        • EK is Airbus’s biggest WB customer and they have not made their customer happy. This would be akin to Boeing designing the B-737MAX without any consideration for WN.

          There’s a difference between giving a customer due consideration when designing specs – and designing a plane around just one (potential) customer’s specs. The 777-8X for instance has been called EK’s plane more than once.
          The A350 seems to be doing just fine even without this massive order, so it’s not like Airbus need to worry about whether they didn’t get the plane right at all to begin with.
          LH and QF, while on the consulting committee for the 767-X, never actually ordered the 777, despite having been pretty loyal Boeing customers before that (especially in QF’s case). The programme overall still did just fine.

          Since 2011, 29 A-358s have been canceled outright, not converted to another model.

          Almost half of those 29 were penned in for Alitalia (via a lessor), who are a financial basket case at this point – as Scott wrote at the time, they’d have trouble financing a Piper Cub these days.
          I’m still not sure what your point is – cancellations happen. All the time. For tons of resons. Boeing is currently listing 54 cancellations for the 737 for this year alone.

          We all know that Airbus isn’t exactly pushing the A358 to say the least, and is working to move customers away from the A358. So some cancellations are to be expected. It’s business.

          If Airbus had only 200 A350 orders overall and EK had just cancelled 70 of them, of which the first was to be delivered in 6 months’ time, it’d all be a different story. But as it is, Airbus still have well over 700 firm orders for the type, which isn’t all too shabby considering the plane hasn’t even had its EIS yet. The only other widebody plane that did better before EIS was the 787.

          Additionally, in recent years the A-359 and A-3510 have had their ranges reduced for originally advertised max. range. For example the A-359 had its range reduced from the original 7750 nm to the current 7200 nm, the A-3510 from 8400 nm to the current 8000 nm.

          Do you have any source for the A350-900 range you claim? Airbus still lists 7750nm for the A350-900.
          None of the ranges were ever mentioned by EK to be an issue in any case. They did publicly state that they were unhappy with the -1000 redesign, as they a) weren’t consulted, and b) lost some engine commonality; they also said before that they felt the -900 was actually a bit small for them.

        • EK is Airbus’s biggest WB customer and they have not made their customer happy.

          A PS on this: EK previously specifically asked for the A346HGW. Airbus gave them that – and EK still cancelled the order then.
          Sure, the A346 was a completely different story commercially from the A350, but it still illustrates the point that striving to make a particular customer happy at all cost isn’t necessarily the wisest course of action.

      • No doom and gloom here. This is an Emirates fleet strategy issue, not an A350 performance issue.
        That is indeed explicitly what Leahy said, according to ATW:

        He said the first indication Airbus had from Clark that he was going to cancel the A350 order came this week and that it “absolutely was not related to any performance issue,” but was simply about Emirates’ fleet requirements review.

  6. The launch of the 777-x possibly sealed the fate of the A350 at Emirates. TC possibly secured his slots which he knew he would give up once the larger 777-x is launched. TC stated in an interview about the A380 and 777-x “at Emirates we are creatures of size and scale”. They want to dominate by moving large number of passengers in larger airplanes.

    If Etihad and Qatar were smart, they would allow Emirates to go on that road of big planes filled with a large number of people while instead focusing themselves on lighter fuel efficient planes that are less crowded, more comfortable thus allowing for much better service.

    It would be nice to hear from an airline “we are creatures of safety and service” or “creatures of quality and safety” as opposed to size and scale.

    Unless someone is flying first or business class, those larger planes cramped with 10 abreast seats will never allow for the more comfortable experience in an A340, A330 or 787.

    • “Unless someone is flying first or business class, those larger planes cramped with 10 abreast seats will never allow for the more comfortable experience in an A340, A330 or 787.”

      Quite a bold statement, considering that the 380 was built exactly as a sort of cruise ship for the sky and as a Y passenger you have more space in 10 abreast than in any other planes mentioned, especially a 9 abreast 787.

      • I wasn’t talking just about space. It is the volume of people doing what people do; cough, speak, eat, cry, lines to dirty lavatories, etc.

        • the bigger the plane the more space for speaking, crying, lining up… the lines don t get longer the bigger the plane is.

  7. Can anyone list the specs that Emirates liked and those they did not on the A350?

    I have watched this, Emirates always wants more flight distance and I thought thats what they got as well as more powerful engines, but that seems to be what they don’t want in this case so any clarification of the confusion would be appreciated!

    As for the crushing blow, I would call it a case of the empire strikes back. Airbus snagged JAL and now Boeing has snagged Emirates (777X replacing A350, obviously not the A380 though a 747-8I order would be an interesting attention getter!

    Call it a draw currently (though I think Boeing is ahead on 777 orders vs A350 between the two listed and who knows how the cash falls as they are both early (bargain) orders.

    • How is it the empire strikes back? It’s not even remotely compared to the JAL-A350 case when Airbus got a customer that was looking like a staunch Boeing customer to order Airbus, in this case, EK has always been a Boeing customer too, even almost more so than Airbus looking at how much they love their 777s. I think you’re looking to draw comparisons that aren’t there.

      • In the sense of whose new aircraft program trumps the other.

        In this case a double happy for Boeing as a 787/777 cancellation that was counted as a firm order for 70, and the 200 or so (whatever the final count) for the 777. Boeing lost a 25 order swing, this one is 270 and Boeing had to have it for the 777x.

        So, an entire segment brought back and an exclusive one now at that. Yep Airbus has the A380 which is a money looser so far. Will see how Boeing does on the 777x of course.

        Not said as a Boeing endorser, I loath their current management but in the psychological game its a win from what was a locked in order, worse than loose a competition.

        Long term the A350 is fine, they have found a niche between the 787 and 777/777x that I did not think was there (in those quantities). Kudos to Aibus, I did not think they would puill it off.

        I still think there will be problems. I still think they are being given a pass by Qatar who is taking some of those first 17 Rev I airframes and the huge changes that follow. I am not confident that you can successfully change 75% of a structure on computer modeling.

        I could be wrong, just seen too many slip ups in anything let alone something like the A350 and its complexity

        • “I am not confident that you can successfully change 75% of a structure on computer modeling.”


        • “I still think they are being given a pass by Qatar ”

          Out of all the airlines out there, you’d think QR would be the most vocal if Airbus did not meet expectations. Remember all the noise AAB made about the 787, and the 748F at Cargolux…

        • I want to ask. Is there some recent data out there that indicates that the A380 is a money loser for Airbus? Airbus says profitability is in 2015/2016 whichever is their latest PR statement. I’d like to know if there’s something that indicates otherwise?

  8. To my way of thinking, the A350 never really sat well within what I understand the aims of Emirates to be. Too much overlap with the 777 fleet. So I was surprised when they ordered them and am not so surprised that they’ve now canceled them.
    They’ll get more 380s for sure, but I wonder, as others are doing, what the chances are of them being the launch customer for the 330neo with very close flight deck and systems commonality with the 380s and the same, or very similar engines? Provided they go RR on the next batch.
    A true cheap(ish) and cheerful regional solution for the sub-continent and other ports within range

    • If the A350 does not fit why would an even smaller shorter range A330?

      • I´m wondering what they will use for Dubai – Europe/N Africa. When the A350 was in it´s original form it was the obvious candidate, since it has now became “more airplane” it also became too much airplane for short routes, and as Emirates have to have the B777X there was not much point to it any more, but what will EK use for medium haul? I thought A330 NEO unlikely, but maybe 787-10? It´s a bit bigger..

  9. It’s times like these when a salesman must have moxy – and a lot of it. If were Airbus’ salesman, I’d call Tim Clark at Emirates right away and say in all seriousness, “So, Timmy…how many additional A380s do you want to order to replace the 70 A350s ya’ just cancelled?” Yeah…it’s crazy, but I’d do that if I’d been stiffed on an order that big. Then….I’d go get drunk (if I were a drinking man).

  10. Why should Emirates now order any other aircraft? Tim Clark can seat back and wait until the 777X appears according to specs or an A350-1100.

    How much bigger than the A350-1000 is the 777X9 really according to a comparable seating? We had this discussion here but I can’t find the right post.

    • I have always thought the A350-1100 would be a perfect plane to complement to the 777-9X. The first on medium haul routes; and the second on long haul. Emirates has a lot of medium haul routes to Europe and the Middle East. They may be too committed to the 777 to do that and in any case the A350-1100 doesn’t exist yet.

  11. Totally agree with the upgauging ‘Emirates = Only Big Birds’ outcome here, and those craft will quickly be absorbed by other airlines if [and I think/hope when] the a350 proves itself in the market – and I like Leahys comment that the ‘resale’ prices will be higher – also pretty true :).

    I think the A330neo may have an opening for closer-to-home operations, although again, where EK fly, they end to fill, but it would serve as a nice route development aircraft for EK.

    That said, there is something to be said for deciding to develop your airline around fewer models and not having every type of aircraft in the market.

    Not a nice headline… but not an big deal. Very much looking forward to the a350s EIS and feedback from Qatar on it’s in-market abilities. Any information about weights/performance coming in?

  12. In the long term, I’m sure it wouldn’t affect Airbus, but this is a pretty ugly news nobody would ever want to be associated with. Emirates just handed Airbus what’s possibly the single largest widebody order cancellation ever. And to rub salt in the wounds, Emirates is going to place the single largest widebody order with Boeing now.

    What other mega-cancellations have there been before?

    • To paraphrase one Airbus-basher; EK could in due course unceremoniously dump 777X orders for more A380s. What the EK cancellation demonstrates is that nothing is certain when it comes to orders with far-off deliveries.

  13. Sorry, but I’m still not sure I get or will ever get EK’s initial issue with the A3510 revisions. It was made a more capable aircraft which is what EK likes, though it came with an EIS pushback, what’s wrong with that?

    I also find it odd that with this, the ULH 777-8X might become the smallest plane in the fleet. Surely, they might need slightly smaller planes?

    • Simple reason IMJ is that DXB is going to be severly constrained until Emirates moves to the new airport and that DXB is going to help finance that airport. Hence, they (i.e EK and the Dubai government) now seem to want to up-gauge as much as possible in order to get as many O&D and transfering passengers going through DXB as is physically possible.

      Things have changed since they ordered the A350. For example, they now have close to 50 A380s in operation which they didn’t have back in 2007. The 777-300ER has a capacity of 30 more seats than the A350-1000 in a typical EK three class configuration, which is significant, and they are now even using the 77W to open up new routes such as the one to OSL on the 2nd of September of this year.

    • IIRC, Emirates wanted the A350-1000 to be bigger, while Airbus went for more range, They didn’t need that because they had the 777-300ER which had that capability. It’s just as likely the newly defined 777-9X now fits their needs better rather than there really being anything wrong with the A350.

      • IMJ, the bigger Airbus twin will come in due course. It’s just no point in launching it before Boeing has committed the 777X for production.

      • in follow up that seems to be accurate.

        TC also said he was unhappy that the engines between the 900 and 1000 did not match anymore, he did not want a mixed engine fleet.

        Of course if he does not want 900s which seem far too small (fair enough) then the 1000 becomes a single engine fleet and……. ?

        Keep in mind TC is also the guy who does not think his pilots would know how to turn ACARs off (MH370) so what goes though the Mind of Minolta can be a mystery (the experts say you can and any pilot that want to do what was done could have found that out so….)

        • AFAIK, Clarke said that pilots shouldn’t have the option of turning ACARS on and off, Thus ACARS should always be on irrespective of the actions of the pilots.

          As for the A350 engines; yes, TC apparently said that. However, that doesn’t change the fact that EK seemingly wants widebodies capable of seating at least >350 passengers in an EK three class generic configuration.

  14. Where will the other big orders at Farnborough come from, I wonder? There can’t be many airlines not committed one way or the other now, but Monarch were supposed to announce their fleet renewal pan by now, so perhaps they are a possibility? PDXlite suggests a number of possible nb buyers, but what about nb buyers? We’re now into the traditional Airbus “saving up orders to announce at the show” time..

    • If launched, A330neo orders could come from the likes of Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, Air Asia and many other current A330 operators.

    • Maybe few. the books are filled so far out now it airlines picking up dropped or cancelled orders. I think the 1000 order years are gone now.

  15. Good piece. I was thinking this fracture kind of defines this three-way tug-of-war between the manufacturers in one camp, US & European airlines in another camp, and the three Gulf carriers in yet another camp where the US/European camp has been complaining about the manufacturers developing aircraft that are “too much” aircraft for their needs.

    • Emirates have no brand loyalty to neither Airbus and Boeing. There’s a lot of wishful thinking going on in primarily US-centric news outlets. However, I’d say that some of the most spot-on analysis of the EK cancellation is to be found in this blog.

      Richard Aboulafia, on the other hand, seems to have outdone himself and gone embarrassingly over the top on this.

      Airbus’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day…And What They Can Do To Make It Better.

      • We have to forgive RA. He had a rough few yrs. The A380, A330 refusing to die, NEO doing the NSA/MAX, A350 taking over 300-350 seats, slow motion 777X order rush, 787 delivery promises broken for 6th year, the Queen going nowhere, there’s only so much a man can handle 😉 give him this.

      • What is there in Mr Aboulafia’s article that you would disagree with?

        RA’s key statement: “The second and much bigger step for Airbus is to admit they have a problem….”

        I have found that ‘denial’ is one of the main psychological precursors to business failure.

        • “What is there in Mr Aboulafia’s article that you would disagree with?”

          The headline and the fact that Airbus doesn’t have a problem. His take on the cancellation is predictably construed in terms of the world according to Richard Aboulafia.

          As I’ve repeatedly indicated, EK’s cancellation of their A350 order is really not a big deal. EK wants bigger twin-engined aircraft than what Airbus currently has to offer, which is due in part to congestion issues at DXB. This issue will, in all likelihood, lead to even more EK A380 orders that would be catering to EK’s expansion plans, and not only replacements for airframes that’s already been ordered.

          Of course, if the likes of Qatar or Singapore Airlines had been the ones that would have made such a large cancellation, then I would’ve agreed that Airbus may have had a problem.

          • There have been lots of suggestions of a possible A-350-1100. If Airbus could launch such a design this year, it could be ready about the same times as the B-777X.
            I have not studied an A-3511 design, so I do not know if the A-350 fuselage could be stretched again. It may require a new wing design, and of course new engines, maybe a clipped fan GE9X (down to about 110″, like the Trent 800?), but still retaining the 105,000 lbs. of thrust?

  16. Lufthansa are reviewing their existing orders, so I can’t see them placing new ones. A330neo orders also aren’t going to be placed till the plane is announced, and that may not be at Farnborough.

    • Reviewing orders could mean replacing A350s with A330neos. Lufthansa already has a huge fleet of A330s/A340s. Ordering A330neos would mean that they wouldn’t have to invest in new simulators, ground support equipment etc.; or sort of like their thinking on re-using existing 747-400 infrastructure for their 747-8 Intercontinentals.

      • Could be pure coincidence, but the timing of the announcement is rather peculiar. For one thing, you have a possible A330neo launch looming in the horizon and then, you also have EK pretty much ‘firming’ up their 777X configuration. And now LH says they want to review their A350 and 777X orders.

  17. The lesson to be learned here is Not to design an aircraft just for Emirates. Its just One airline with unusual needs. An airline that is starting to smell like a large tour operator catered for the masses. In terms of service and Quality, Qatar and Etihad will rob the crown. No doubt.


    Without entering in details, above question is very pertinent
    * the first version of the A350 was a shameful flop as publicly rejected by airlines
    * the A358 was not even born
    * the A3510 has an entangled history, can by far not compete with the B777-9X, so —that now are call to implement a A85111
    * the A380F was another glaring miss-design and died unborn
    * the A380-800, which due to a chain of design problems became obsolete during its –development period, where the megacustomer Tim Clark, after only 5 year of –Service (a record!) is clamoring for a neo!!!!
    * the A340, died as incapable to compete with the B777
    * the A400, an endless story of failures which is only still alive by the EU pumping —untold billions in mainly to avoid a prestige disaster

    And now, the Emirates cancels, in the middle of the A359 flight
    tests, 20 A3510 (which can explained by the not competing with the B777X, and much more concerning, 50 unit 314 Pax A359, where nobody will believe that the reason were again the 407 Pax (+30%) B777X!!
    And TIM CLARK is refusing to tell WHY he did so!!

    It is not far-fetched to suspect that he heard something not so good regarding the flight tests

    Now, we are left with the A330, the last succesful more than 20 years old widebody, obviously now obsolete and only alive as BOEING was not able timely deliver the B787 (what will not be the case in the future)

    And now Mr. JOHN LEAHY, the main responsible of the miss-plannings noted above, comes with the miracle solution.

    “”Lets reproduce the success of the A320neo, by changing the engines and add some winglets, and preto, the super Aircraft A330neo and A380 neo will be born!!”


    Could be I have missed it, but I do not see in the article here blogged reference that th A380 will be too large for the medium size and low intensive traffic airports, where the B747 performed so well, so there is no market available for a A380neo and therefore no justification to invest many billions in such endeavor!!

    I hope now it becomes understandable WHY I AM ASKING THE INITIAL QUESTION.

  19. To the anonymous author of this article

    1) The article address the issue “is it so bad” but omits to tell anything concrete
    regarding the WHY!! Only because TIM VLARK was annoyed??

    2) Nor how EMIRATES will substitute the cancelled aircraft, especially the 50 A359
    Are you telling that the 407 (+30%) PAXB777-9X will do so??

    3) Do you find nothing to comment that after ordering the 150 B777X in a long time ago in 2013, Tim Clark waited until now, JUST WHEN the flight tests of the A359 were being performed, to cancel these aircraft??

    A Response would be nice (and by the way, a list (or a reference to it) of the 200+ B787 cancellations (not substitutions)

    • Oton Tisch seems to have had a bad day. First, Oton, if you look at the bottom of the post you will see it was written by Scott Hamilton (that’s me), not some “anonymous author.”

      In reply to your questions, the timing of the announcement is an oddity, but since then I’m pretty comfortable that the cancellation of the A350s was part of a larger deal in which 50 A380s were ordered, announced at the Dubai Air Show (at the same time as the 150 777Xs).

      In EK’s FY2013-14 annual report for the year ended 31 March, and published 1 May, no A350 is listed on “firm order,” although the order did appear in the prior year’s annual report.

      Cancellation of 200 787s has been previously discussed.


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