Airbus and Boeing fought to save billions of dollars of jet deals on Sunday as host airline Emirates kept the Dubai Airshow in suspense over dozens of tentative orders designed to fine-tune the world’s largest international airline network.
The world’s top jetmakers are trying to win final approval for more than $30 billion in orders from Emirates that have been on ice for up to two years as Emirates protests about industrial delays.
Interlocking deals involving a total of 110 Boeing 787 and Airbus A330neo and A350 are up for grabs, but it remains unclear whether there was room for all them in Emirates’ revised fleet, delegates said.
Emirates wants to reduce an order for 150 Boeing 777X after deliveries were pushed back by a year and may use at least part of the 787 order as leverage.
It also has a total of 70 A330neo and A350 orders pending as part of a deal triggered by Airbus’ recent decision to axe the slow-selling A380, for which Emirates was the biggest supporter.
The plans involve reshaping the fleet to adapt to demand for shorter regional flights, but delegates said they could not rule out a repeat of 2017 when an air show deal was postponed.
“It feels like two years ago. It is hard to predict,” a senior industry source said.
Negotiations to unjam the orders dragged into Sunday evening after a muted start to the November 17-21 show saw just two planes ordered, for Biman Bangladesh Airlines, delegates said.
All of the parties declined to comment.
In an interview with German publication aero.de on the eve of the show, Emirates boss Tim Clark signaled he would not place orders and complained about widespread delivery delays.