Airbus gets 20 more A350’s from Emirates, a blow for Boeing

The huge big jet aircraft orders that nearly always ring loud from these air shows aren’t likely to be forthcoming. Boeing and Airbus are playing down expectations. The days of 100+ orders are over for now.

In the past weeks Lufthansa has turned 14 firm 777-9 orders into options, the next step is cancellation.

British Airways is deferring deliveries of its 777-9 to ease over capacity issues.

Qatar is dithering over cutting ten 777-8 orders or turning them into 777-9’s. Rumour has it the cut is now more likely.

The 787 is having production cut in 2020 just having ramped up to 14, it’s going down to 12.

Airbus have shelved plans to raise A350 production to 14 and will stay at 10 per month.

Not only that but Airbus basically said they were not looking at any type of A380 replacement to compete against the 777-9. They recognise there just isn’t a market for it.

And then there’s Emirates. Indications are they’re still wondering how their future aircraft profile will look, but it became clearer today when the finalised a 30 provisional order deal for A359’s and added 20 more turning the whole lot into a firm order of 50.

They see the writing on the wall, as non-stop flights head towards realisation from New York and London to Australia. These will redefine the next 25 years of intercontinental flight, cutting out the Middle East from the giant connecting hubs they’ve become and diminishing their customer base.

And it’s worse than it looks, because they know that every European and US airline that sees ULR flying being a reality is going to want to do it. And the more it proves viable the more passengers will be willing to do it and prices will drop.

So Emirates, which has 150 777-9’s on order is publicly rethinking that total. It’s also looking – again – at the 787-10 order. And the 70 Airbus order for A359’s and A330neo’s rising by 20 more A359’s today tells you where they see the future.

And…a familiar refrain from the Qataris and Emirates, “we’re sick of the delays on what we have ordered”.

However there is still a place for the single aisle. Airbus are mopping up orders on the A320 series and if there are orders this week that’s where they’ll go.

Boeing meanwhile are working the show like its their last chance, apologising for the MAX, and touting for business like a man with a begging bowl. A 737 order would be a big deal – something like BA’s 200 aircraft order would be a major coup. Frankly any order for the MAX would be a big deal right now.

It’s not impossible for something positive to be sprung at the show for Boeing. Person to person contact at these events can be transformative. But it seems far less likely this time round.