Emirates Inks Deal For 50 Airbus A350s

Emirates has inked a deal for 50 Airbus A350-900 XWBs at the Dubai Air Show, an order that is worth around $16 billion USD. The aircraft is said to be a good fit for operations for the Middle Eastern carrier and will feature the new premium economy class.

The new Emirates A350 in all its glory. Photo: Emirates

What are the details?

In a surprising move on the second day of the Dubai Air Show, Emirates called a last-minute press conference with just an hour’s notice. Rumors flew as to what the event could be about, with ideas that it might be a joint release with not only Rolls Royce and Airbus, but Boeing as well.

As the Emirates president took to the stage and the media packed into the small hall, the answer was revealed.

Emirates has signed a huge deal with Airbus, more than predicted. Photo: Simple Flying

Emirates has signed a deal with Airbus for 50 Airbus A350-900 XWBs. This deal is expected to be worth around $16 billion USD according to list prices. Emirates originally had an order for 30 A350 as part of their deal during the closure of the A380 program but has since expanded it by another 20 to reach 50 today.


His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in the Airbus Press Release: “Today, we are pleased to sign a firm order for 50 A350-900 XWBs, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. This follows a thorough review of various aircraft options and of our own fleet plans. It is Emirates’ long-standing strategy to invest in modern and efficient aircraft, and we are confident in the performance of the A350 XWB.”

Emirates was long famous for having only A380 and Boeing 777 in their fleet, but has since rapidly expanded into other plane types such as the Boeing 777X, the Airbus A330-900, and the A350.


“Complementing our A380s and 777s, the A350s will give us added operational flexibility in terms of capacity, range and deployment. In effect, we are strengthening our business model to provide efficient and comfortable air transport services to, and through, our Dubai hub.”

Simple Flying
The teams from Emirates, Rolls Royce and Airbus pose for a photo. Photo: Simple Flying

What will the new aircraft feature?

The aircraft is expected to also feature the new premium economy cabin that Emirates will roll out in the next few years. We predict that the seat could be produced by HAECO. Read our story on this here

premium economy emierates
This is the predicted seat design for the new cabin. Photo: HAECO

The aircraft will be powered by Rolls Royce XWB engines, which will provide excellent power to fuel consumption ratio for the fleet. The CEO of Airbus said that they were privileged that Emirates had selected the A350 and that it was a good fit for the airline.

Here at Simple Flying, we can’t wait to see what Emirates does with this aircraft. With the new premium economy cabin and extra space afforded by the aircraft, the possibilities will be endless. With such a huge order, this makes Emirates the future third-biggest operator of the type, following Qatar with 76 and Singapore with 67 respectively. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2023 until 2028.

“We are honored by Emirates’ strong vote of confidence in our newest widebody aircraft, taking our partnership to the next level. The A350 will bring unbeatable economics and environmental benefits to their fleet,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus Chief Executive Officer.  “We look forward to seeing the A350 flying in Emirates colors!”

A330-900neo questions:

Questions still remain about Emirates A330-900 order (for 40 aircraft) and as it has yet to be inked by the team here in Dubai, likely delayed beyond the scope of the show (after all, why not announce them all at the same time). Although judging by the pattern of increasing the A350 order from 30 to 50, perhaps the A330neo order might increase upwards aswell.

What do you think about this order? Will you be riding in an Emirates A350? Let us know in the comments.


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A smart move for them to buy a proven plane and have a critical number of them for staff training, support and maintenance. Having flown on it many times, the A350 is a great product and will allow them to open up new routes or support routes with lower densities than an A380.


And it has the range capabilities that surpasses the A380 and 777-300er/x9. Maybe its a good replacement for the 777-200lr, Emirates doesn’t use them to their full extent on their range capabilities anyway


That’s quite a prestigious deal Airbus could pull on land. It will put increasing pressure on its rival who is at risk of losing its dominance in the wide body market segment. Is there anything Boeing can pull out of their hat in Dubai?

Gerry Stumpe

Not this year.


Are the 50 planes -900s, -1000s or a mix of both?

Mike Rowland Hill

I fly from the far east to London regularly with my chosen airline, Qatar.
Usually this involves Boeing 787 800 and A380, but recently flew London to Doha on A 350.
Excellent aircraft all round, and look forward to next time.
BTW, A380 is also a magnificent machine for passengers.
Shame it’s going out of favour.
Mike Hill.


Qatar are an interesting airline in that they fly both the 787 and the A350, thus allowing you to do an efficient comparison if one type is used on your flight to Doha and the other type is used on your onward flight from Doha. For example:
– SIN-DOH is on an A350-1000;
– DOH-DUB is on a 787, with a 2-hour connection.
If you happen to have such a combination, you get a stunning demonstration of the extra personal space on the A350 compared to the 787.


I fly Qatar 787 Norway to Doha, A350 Doha to Bangkok. The A350 is significantly better in every way when you fly economy class.

Gerry Stumpe

Sound move. I guess the A350 is the new “Queen of the skies”.


Next task for Emirates is to cancel their 787 order: a long-range, premium airline like Emirates shouldn’t expect passengers to put up with 8+ hours of rubbing shoulders against other passengers and leaning sideways so as to avoid rubbing against the sidewall ribs…


Actually, the 787 at 9 abreast is slightly more comfortable than the 777-300ER (77W) at 10 abreast. In a like-for-like, apples-to-apples comparison, the seat bottom width, arm rest width and aisle width is 17,2″ (787) vs. 17″ (77W), 2″ (787) and 2″ (77W) and 18″ (787) vs 17″ (77W), respectively. The internal width of the 777X is increased by 4″ over that of the 777-300ER, which means that the seat bottom width can be increased to 17.2″ and aisle width can be increased to 18″ — which means that the 777X will have exactly the same (un)comfortable seat standard as… Read more »

Nate Dogg

They never “firmed” up the order in the 1st place. It was purely a letter of Intent same as the last order for A350’s and A330 neo. However today they are supposed to have lodged a FIRM order for the 1st time for the A350.


Yes, I know it was just a Letter of Intent for the 787…and, thus, so much easier to throw in the bin 😉


good one EK ! WOW an impressive order tally of 50 aircraft.. Im sure that has caused the guys at Boeing to bite their bottom lip and hold their breath letting it out slowly. HAHAHA LOL.
Things starting to crumple , around you.(@Boeing)


An excellent decision Emirates! After two recent flights in this outstanding aircraft I highly recommend it in all cabins & for those choosing economy class the XWB allows a “genuine” 9 abreast configuration unlike the squeezed 9 abreast in the 787 or worse still the high density 10 abreast in the 777.


A350 is a ‘magnificent flying machine’. Flew Qatar Airways, DOH PHI DOH Route. Amazing!

Moaz Abid

The question is, why is it called XWB? I mean it only has 9 seats in a row.

Charlie Schminke

I read the responses regarding the A350 verses the Boeing 787. It seams to me that the 787 is an inferior aircraft to the A350. I think the A350 is a better looking aircraft than the Boeing 787. I say this because of my background as a graphic artist.