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Long-haul carrier Emirates orders 15 Airbus A350s after engine dispute

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Long-haul carrier Emirates said Thursday it will purchase 15 additional Airbus A350-900s worth $6 billion after a spat between the airline and the European manufacturer went unusually public during this week's Dubai Air Show.


The Emirates' order, far smaller than initially expected, came after the airline and its sister carrier FlyDubai purchased $63 billion worth of aircraft from Boeing Co. at the start of the weeklong show, which comes as international travel has rebounded following the coronavirus pandemic.


So far, Emirates has ordered 65 of the aircraft.


On Tuesday, Emirates President Tim Clark signaled the carrier would hold off on a major purchase of Airbus A350 aircraft over concerns about the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines on the 350-1000. Rolls-Royce vigorously disputed Clark's comments about what he described as the additional maintenance required for them in Dubai's hot and desert environment.


Thursday's order will see Emirates get the 900 series, which has a different engine. A statement issued by Emirates that also quoted Airbus did not mention the engine dispute, but the airline and the manufacturer notably did not hold a news conference at the Dubai Air Show to discuss the purchase.


“We plan to deploy our A350s to serve a range of new markets including long-haul missions of up to 15 hours flying time from Dubai,” Emirates chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in the statement. "We will work closely with Airbus and Rolls-Royce to ensure our aircraft deliver the best possible operating efficiency and flying experience for our customers.”


For Airbus, the deal represents squeezing out a sale in an air show dominated by Boeing. Airbus discontinued its iconic double-decker A380, which is one of the main workhorses of Emirates' fleet.


“With this agreement, we mark another solid step forward in the long-standing relationship agreement between Emirates and Airbus,” Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer said in the statement.


This article originally appeared on ABC.

Photo: AP Photo/Jon Gambrell

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