Airbus Group NV said Emirates canceled its entire order for A350 wide-body aircraft, dealing a blow to the program that's months away from commercial entry.
Emirates, the biggest customer of Airbus A380 superjumbos, will drop its planned purchase of 50 A350-900 airliners and 20 of the larger -1000 variant, Airbus said in a statement today. The decision follows on-going discussions with the airline in light of their fleet requirement review, Airbus said.
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Emirates had topped up its order book for the larger A380 just last year, adding 50 more superjumbos to become by far the aircraft's largest operator. At the same time, the Dubai-based carrier had purchased Chicago-based Boeing Co.'s upcoming 777X, which competes with the A350 program. Emirates President Tim Clark had long been a critic particularly of the A350-1000, saying the aircraft didn't yet meet his specifications.
"Airbus is very confident in its A350 XWB program," the Toulouse, France-based manufacturer said in the release. "Half a year before entry into service, the A350 XWB order book stands at a healthy 742 firm orders."
The A350 will enter commercial service with Qatar Airways Ltd. The airliner comes in three sizes and competes both with the Boeing 777 and the smaller 787 Dreamliner. Airbus has won by far the most orders for the mid-sized version. Emirates had originally announced its urchase in 2007.
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