Emirates said to mull u-turn on $16bn Airbus A350 order

Dubai-based airline to hold talks with Airbus and Boeing as it weighs options for new aircraft

Emirates Airline is reportedly reconsidering a decision to cancel an order for 70 Airbus A350s, as well as the possibility of an alternative order for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Emirates’ President Tim Clark, said the company would hold discussions with Airbus and Boeing either at the end of this year or next year.

Earlier this month, Airbus announced that the Dubai-based airliner was cancelling its long-standing order for 70 A350 airlines, an order worth $16 billion at catalogue prices when the deal was announced in 2007.

Clark confirmed that the airline is still interested in acquiring between 50 and 70 wide-body, twin-engine jets, which will be capable of flying on regional routes in the Middle East, and cities in Africa.

“At the end of this year, beginning of next year, we will re-engage with Airbus on this aeroplane [the A350]. We will also engage [with Boeing about the Dreamliner],” Clark told the Financial Times.

“When the aircraft [the A350 and 787] are mature, they will be better defined in terms of performance, fuel burn,” he added.

Clark said the Emirates remains an important customer for Airbus.

With 48 A380s in its fleet, Emirates is the largest operator globally of the Airbus superjumbo, which has carried over 25 million passengers since its launch in 2008.

Emirates is also the largest A380 purchaser, with 92 of the iconic double-decker pending delivery and the possibility of more being purchased.

So far in 2014, Emirates has introduced A380 services to Barcelona, London-Gatwick, Frankfurt and Zurich. It will soon launch Kuwait on July 16, Mumbai on July 21 and Dallas/Fort Worth on October 1.

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