She Ahmed Airbus
Guillaume Faury, CEO, Airbus, and Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum during the signing at Dubai Airshow. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Dubai: Emirates Airline announced on Monday an order for 50 Airbus A350-900 aircraft, worth a total of $16 billion.

The deal marks the first order by a UAE-based airline at this year’s Dubai Air Show.

The order replaces an initial deal signed between Emirates and Airbus in February 2019 for an order of 30 A350-900 aircraft, and 40 A330 aircraft. Under the latest agreement, Emirates increases its order of A350’s by 20 aircraft, but said it is still in talks about confirming the order for the A330s.

The carrier will start taking delivery of the aircraft from May 2023, and will continue to until 2028. Emirates said at the Dubai Air Show that the aircraft will give it more capacity, and will allow it to operate flights on routes that are up to 15 hours away.

The newly-ordered A350 will be fitted with Emirates’ Premium Economy class, which is set for launch on A380 aircraft in November 2020.

Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive officer of Emirates Airline and Group, said the deal follows “a thorough review of various aircraft options and of our own fleet plans.”

“Complementing our A380s and 777s, the A350s will give us added operational flexibility in terms of capacity, range, and deployment.

In effect we are strengthening our business model to provide efficient and comfortable air transport services to and through our Dubai hub,” he said.

Shaikh Ahmad added that the deal reflects Emirates’ confidence in the UAE’s aviation sector.

Asked about the initial order in February, and whether the deal on A330 aircraft will be finalised, Shaikh Ahmad told reporters that discussions are still ongoing on the model.

“It (A330s) is on our radar. I don’t want to say now we’ve cancelled it or not, because we’re still talking about it,” he said.

At a signing ceremony during the Dubai Air Show, Airbus described the A350s as the “young but very talented brother” of the A380, which will not be in production past 2021.