The cancellation deals a big blow to Airbus, which was scheduled to deliver 50 A350-900s and 20 of the larger A350-1000 model to the carrier. The 70 planes represented close to ten percent of Airbus' orders for 2014, resulting in its share price falling almost four percent.
Emirates did not give any specific reasons for the cancellation, only saying that the decision to cancel the order stemmed from a review of their "fleet requirements." Airbus said that it already has customers interested in taking up the cancelled aircrafts, which were ordered in 2007 and worth $16 billion.
Boeing will be keen to take advantage of this situation, hoping that Emirates will purchase its new 777X wide-body aircraft that is scheduled to enter service in 2019. Emirates is already the world's biggest customer for the 777 and the biggest for the 777X as well, ordering 150 of the newer planes.
The 777X is the closest in size to Airbus' A350-1000 but Emirates could also be looking at Boeing's much-touted 787 Dreamliner series of airplanes.
"Emirates is the largest and most influential long-haul airline in the world," said analyst Sash Tusa of Edison Investment Research in London. "When it looks at your flagship product and decides it can do better with somebody else's, that's a problem."
Despite the setback the Airbus A350 has a strong order book, with 742 planes on order. Qatar Airways with 80 orders and Singapore Airlines with 70 orders are the biggest customers for now. The A350 is scheduled to to enter service soon and hasn't experienced any technical glitches so far.
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