Emirates is weighing a fresh order for Boeing Co.’s behemoth 777X twin-aisle plane as part of a complex series of transactions that would remake its fleet plans and likely spell the end of Airbus SE’s A380 superjumbo jet, people familiar with the matter said.
The moves probably wouldn’t be a ringing victory for Boeing or a total defeat for Airbus. Emirates is considering at least 20 of the 777X planes while weighing the cancellation of an existing deal for 40 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, said the people, who asked not to be named as the discussions are private. For Airbus, the airline is looking at cutting the A380 order while studying orders for the wide-body A350 jetliner and slow-selling A330neo, the people said.
With the reshuffled agreements, Emirates President Tim Clark would split both pain and rewards between the rival planemakers. The juggling act is emerging as one of the preferred options for Dubai-based Emirates as it looks to break a deadlock with Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc over terms to supply engines for the airline’s most recent A380 deal, the people said.
Clark is known for putting pressure on suppliers, and the final outcome of the talks isn’t yet certain, the people cautioned. The negotiations over the Emirates order for as many as 36 A380s had reached an impasse toward the end of last year, with alternative plans being drawn up in the last few weeks, one of the people said.
Representatives of Airbus and Emirates declined to comment, adding that discussions were continuing. Boeing and Rolls declined to comment.
The Emirates pact for the Dreamliners was never finalized. Boeing’s 777X and Airbus’s A330neo have each struggled to drum up significant order backlogs.
–With assistance from Christopher Jasper.
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