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Dubai Airshow 2023 Day 3/4 – Orders and Announcements

Emirates has ordered 15 Airbus A350s on the fourth day of the Airshow while Ethiopian Airlines Group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for 11 additional Airbus A350-900s.

Beyond the orders for Boeing and Airbus aircraft, Emirates is set to invest US$950 million in a new engineering facility at Dubai World Central. Additionally, strategic agreements exceeding USD $1.5 billion with global partners signal Emirates’ commitment to long-term aviation services, ensuring its A380 fleet flies well into the next decade.

Emirates Orders 15 Airbus A350-900

Emirates has ordered 15 Airbus A350-900s at the Dubai Airshow 2023, in a deal valued at US$ 6 billion at list price. This takes Emirates’ total A350 order book to a total of 65 units.

“The A350-900s will add to our fleet mix and we are pleased to announce additional orders for this aircraft type. 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. 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.”

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.
a white airplane flying in the sky
Emirates Airbus A350-900. Image: Emirates

The first A350 is scheduled to join Emirates’ fleet in August 2024, and with these additional orders, Emirates will continue to receive A350 deliveries until early 2028. Despite wide speculations, the Dubai-based carrier didn’t order the larger A350-1000 variant at this year’s Airshow.

“With this agreement, we mark another solid step forward in the long-standing relationship agreement between Emirates and Airbus. A relationship founded on a pursuit of innovation, efficiency, and operational excellence. Just as the A380 established itself at the heart of Emirates operations, we are equally proud of what the A350 will do in the years to come.”

Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International

Following this order for 15 A350 aircraft, Emirates has committed a total of US$58 billion for 110 additional aircraft at this year’s Dubai Airshow.

Ethiopian Airlines Signs MOU for 11 Airbus A350-900

Ethiopian Airlines Group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for 11 additional Airbus A350-900s on Day 3 of the Dubai Airshow. This agreement boosts the carrier’s total order book and commitment for the A350 to 33, including four A350-1000s.

Ethiopian Airlines currently operates a fleet of 20 A350-900s and following the latest agreement, it has confirmed its position as Africa’s largest A350 customer.

“We are excited to place this commitment for 11 Airbus A350-900s. As a customer-focused airline, we are particularly excited for this fleet as it offers extra comfort to passengers with its features like the quietest cabin in its class and ambient lighting. We are keen to expand our fleet size, acquiring the latest technology aircraft to offer a convenient and memorable onboard experience to our esteemed passengers.”

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Mesfin Tasew
a white airplane flying in the sky
Ethiopian Airlines Airbus A350-900. Image: Airbus

In July 2022, the Ethiopian flag carrier upsized four of its A350-900 on order to the largest variant of the A350 Family, the A350-1000, becoming Africa’s first customer for the aircraft. Ethiopian Airlines was also the first African airline to begin operating the Airbus A350 aircraft in 2016.

“Ethiopian Airlines is a great example of how to leverage the exceptional values of the A350 for long-haul travel, playing on the benefits of Ethiopia’s unique geographical position that offers the fastest connections between China and Latin America. We are delighted to further strengthen Ethiopian Airlines fleet, and through this, continue the great relationship we have built up together,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International.

Emirates Invests in A380 Fleet to Keep it Flying Longer

Emirates has announced that it is doubling down its investments to maintain and improve the operational efficiency, fleet performance, and reliability of its A380s well into the next decade.

The Dubai-based carrier has signed agreements worth over USD $1.5 billion at the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow, with its global suppliers and partners to deliver superior aviation aftermarket and Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) services.

a large airplane with people standing on the ground
Emirates A380 at the Dubai Airshow. Image: Emirates

“Our continued commitment to and confidence in the A380 are why we’re investing heavily to keep the fleet in optimal shape and pristine condition. The A380 will remain core to our network and customer proposition for the next decade, and we want to ensure our fleet is in tip-top shape.”

Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline

Emirates reported that it has reached an agreement with multiple partners including Honeywell, Collins Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney, Safran, Lufthansa Technik, OEM Services, Gameco, Haeco, and others to optimize its A380 fleet’s lifespan and unlock additional operational efficiency gains. These partners will provide a range of maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services, parts provisioning, component repairs, and as well as technical support.

Emirates currently operates close to 90 A380s, with more slated to enter active service in the coming months. Since last year, the airline has started retrofitting works on 67 of its A380s, in addition to the installation of new Premium Economy Class cabins. So far, 16 A380s have been retrofitted and are now in full commercial service.

a group of people standing on a runway with airplanes flying in the sky
Emirates A380s at the Dubai Airshow. Image: Emirates

Emirates to Build US$950 Million Engineering Facility at Dubai World Central

In addition to widebody orders, Emirates has also announced a massive US$950 million investment to build a new engineering facility at Dubai World Central (DWC). The new engineering complex will be spread over 1 million square meters, making it the largest facility of its kind to be operated by any airline.

According to Emirates, the new facility will support the carrier’s fleet and operating requirements into the 2040s. The facility will also be a center for commercial aviation engineering services in the Middle East, with spare capacity potentially offered to other airline operators.

“The new facility will enable Emirates to be entirely self-sufficient when it comes to maintenance, repairs, overhaul (MRO), and all engineering requirements for our aircraft fleet. It gives us operational stability flexibility, and quality assurance. It’ll create thousands of skilled technical jobs and add value to Dubai’s economy.”

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, of Emirates Airlines and Group,

an aerial view of an airport
Emirates New Engineering Facility at DWC Rendering. Image: Emirates

Emirates’ new engineering facility will be equipped to handle the full gamut of specialist aircraft engineering services – from routine aircraft checks to bespoke paint jobs, light to heavy maintenance programs, engine repair, and testing, to full cabin interior fit-outs and aircraft conversions.

Construction work is planned in two phases with Phase 1 expected to begin in 2024 and be completed in 2027. Provisions have been made for further expansion, potentially doubling the capacity in Phase 2, in line with growth and operational requirements.

  • Phase 1 of the project will deliver 8 maintenance hangars and 1 paint hangar – all capable of handling any size of commercial aircraft up to Code F (A380), an engine run-up facility, some 20 support workshops, massive storage facilities, and administration offices.
  • The existing Emirates Engineering Centre at Dubai International (DXB) will continue to support the airline’s operations, with the new complex at DWC initially handling spillover work and heavy maintenance programs with longer aircraft ground time.

“The new Emirates Engineering complex will also incorporate sustainability into its design, including the use of green build materials throughout the complex; the installation of solar panels on roofs across the entire campus; and the set-up of recycling systems for oils and wastewater,” said Ali Mubarak Al Soori, Emirates Group Executive Vice President – Facilities, Projects Management & Group Procurement & Supply Chain.

Emirates Signs Series of Agreements with Safran Worth Over US$1.2 Billion

Emirates has signed a series of agreements with Safran valued at more than $1.2 billion, which include seats for Emirates’ new fleet of A350, 777X-9, and 787 aircraft, cabin equipment, wheels, and carbon brakes, landing gear component repairs, retrofit, and MRO support.

“Safran is a key partner for Emirates and we’re working closely to reimagine and elevate our future cabins with smart design and the latest technologies. These have been decisive factors in our selection of seat types which will be customized for Emirates. Today’s announcement is significant not only because it cements the partnership between Emirates and Safran, but also because it supports aviation manufacturing and the wider value chain in France and across Europe.”

Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline
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Emirates – Safran Agreement. Image: Emirates

Feature Image via Airbus