Plane-maker Airbus has revealed that Dubai’s Emirates Airline has withdrawn an order for 70 A350 planes. The reason for the cancellation is currently unknown, although Airbus have said it was due to a “fleet requirement review”.
With Emirates being the primary link between Dubai and the rest of the world, and with Dubai’s governing bodies predicting that 25 million tourists will be descending upon the UAE for the Expo they are due to hold in 2020, the timing seems somewhat unfortunate.
Dubai are also in the process of building a new airport to deal with the elevated traffic they hope will come as a result of the exhibition they won the right to host back in November.
The order was placed in 2007, and comprised of 50 A350-900 aircraft, and 20 A350-1000 models. The first deliveries were due in 2019.
The engines for the aircraft are manufactured by Rolls-Royce, who say that the cancellation has cost them £2.6 billion.
Despite Emirates reneging on their deal, firm orders with other more prominent airlines are in place, and Airbus has said it currently has 742 firm orders for the A350.
Emirates Airline is wholly owned by the Government of Dubai, and with the state leaders currently involved in pumping a predicted $80 billion into infrastructure projects in advance of the Expo 2020, it is thought that prioritising finance in the hope that the Expo can promote the Emirate on the world stage, may be the reason behind the cancellation.
Dubai has seemingly placed an awful lot of emphasis on the Expo, information published by the government has suggested that the exhibition is likely to encourage 25 million tourists to travel there, and the lasting legacy will be that more and more expatriates will be encouraged to live and travel to Dubai as a result of the event.
It is claimed that the Expo series – an event held once every five years – is third behind the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in terms of global scale and impact upon the future success of the host nation. In truth, most around the world are unsure of what the Expo actually is, and recent hosts include Portugal and Spain, who certainly gained no discernible investment or tourism traffic as a result of the event. Dubai will be hoping to put on a memorable event that bucks the trend, and there will be much Arab interest in how the Milan Expo 2015 goes for the Italians.