Emirates is eyeing up a potential new mega aircraft order, with both Airbus and Boeing vying to secure a contract to supply the Dubai-based airline with an additional 100 – 150 planes.
Sir Tim Clark, the airline’s long-serving president who abandoned his own retirement plans in 2020 to steer Emirates through the pandemic, said that Emirates was evaluating three possible aircraft for the new order.
“We are looking at both more A350s, more 777-9 and possibly the 787 range,” Sir Tim confirmed on the sidelines of an annual gathering of airline executives during the International Air Transport Association (IATA) conference in Istanbul.
Sir Tim wouldn’t be drawn on how many planes the carrier was considering purchasing, but Bloomberg suggested Emirates needed between 100 and 150 additional new aircraft as part of a fleet renewal program that will stretch through to the 2030s.
Emirates already has 200 passenger aircraft on order, including 50 Airbus A350-900s, 115 Boeing 777X jets and 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
Perhaps due to fleet commonality reasons, Sir Tim has seemingly rejected the possibility of Emirates ordering the Airbus A330neo – an aircraft type that the airline ordered in 2019 for use as a regional plane before the deal was amended and the A330neo dropped in favour of A350s.
Emirates is currently expected to take delivery of its first A350 next year, while both the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and 777X are now slated to join the Emirates fleet in 2025.
The 777X, or 777-8 and 777-9 as it is also referred to, is the most contentious aircraft set to join the Emirates fleet, as it was originally meant to be delivered from 2020. Boeing has faced serious certification issues, much to the frustration of Sir Tim, but both sides now seem confident of a late 2025 delivery.
Emirates still has some time, however, until it needs to start worrying about a future without its flagship A380 which helped solidify the airline as an ultra-luxe carrier in the minds of many travellers.
The carrier intends to start the gradual retirement of its A380s in 2032, although we should know far sooner than that what Emirates has up its sleeves to woo customers aboard its new generation of aircraft. Whether onboard showers and full-sized bars are included remains to be seen.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.