Emirates Delays Airbus A350 Order Over Performance Concerns

Airbus A350 and Emirate Airlines

Emirates Airline, the world’s biggest long-haul airline, has decided to delay any future orders of the Airbus A350.

The airline says it can’t compare performance between the A350 and Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, until more of the jets are in service at competing airlines.

Emirates scrapped the order of 70 planes in 2014 after concluding that they would not meet the specifications that were originally promised by Airbus, said President Tim Clark  in a briefing Sunday at the Dubai Air Show.

Clark said he will weigh the A350-900 and A350-1000 against the biggest 787-10 Dreamliner to see which best meets route requirements that vary in range and capacity.

Emirates plans to add between 50 to 70 jets for regional services. The company has said it would be willing to split the order between Boeing and Airbus.

“People haven’t got a true measure of what this thing will do,” Clark said. “The ramp-up rate needs to be pushed a bit, it’s taking them forever to get this thing up.”

Airbus has indeed been slow to deliver the jets. Only 11 A350-900s have been delivered to Qatar Airway Ltd., Vietnam Airlines Corp. and Finnair Oyj since the first was shipped at the end of 2014. The jet manufacturer plans to hand over 15 this calendar year. In comparison, Boeing’s 787-8 and 787-9 are coming off the production line at a rate of 13 or 14 a month.

Winning a contract for the 787-10 would go a long way for Boeing which has attracted only three new orders since 2013. Boeing currently has a backlog of 146 jets.