Emirates says it will not buy Airbus A350 until Rolls-Royce fixes engine problems

Emirates, a Dubai-based airline, has ruled out purchasing Airbus A350-1000 aircraft until Rolls-Royce’s engine durability problems are resolved.

Emirates’ President, Sir Tim Clark, stated that the fuel-efficient engines did not meet Dubai’s government-owned airline’s requirements for maintenance. He told reporters on Tuesday at the Dubai Airshow that “we don’t purchase defective aeroplanes”.

He added that if Rolls-Royce made technical modifications to make it more efficient in Emirates’ dusty, hot base of Dubai, they would be willing to purchase up to 50 aircraft. He said that Rolls-Royce would be re-assessed for the fleet plan if it knew what Emirates wanted it to do.

Rolls-Royce has defended their engine and rejected the notion that it is “defective”.

Rob Watson, Rolls-Royce’s president of civil aeronautics, said that Trent XWB engines are the most efficient and reliable large gas turbines on the market. Watson also stated that Rolls-Royce had “just completed a deal” this morning. Watson acknowledged, however, that the company’s largest engine, the Trent 97-XWB, faced durability issues in hot, dusty climates.

The durability of these engines is lower in harsh environments.

In recent months, the latest generation engine from Pratt & Whitney has also encountered similar problems with durability.

Watson said that Rolls-Royce will be looking at technology upgrades to its existing engine fleet to make them more tolerant of hotter climates.

Christian Scherer said earlier that Tuesday, Airbus’ chief commercial officer Christian Scherer stated that the Rolls-Royce engines were “perfectly fine”. He added that “many customers” around the globe have been using the engine.

Clark also said that Emirates’ financial performance has been record-breaking, despite the conflict in Gaza.

Emirates, he explained, has absorbed the impact from canceling its Tel Aviv to Dubai route following the attacks on Israel’s 7th October by shifting capacity onto other segments. He said the route was “the fastest growing city pair” that he’d seen in his entire career.

Launched by the Dubai Government in 1985, the carrier has grown accustomed to geopolitical challenges in its troubled neighborhood, including conflicts with Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

“I will not minimize what happened. . . But we’ll work around it,” said he.

Clark downplayed the threat of growing regional competition on Emirates’ position as the leader among Gulf supercarriers. He claimed that the airline has already grown despite rivals from Turkey, Qatar and Abu Dhabi. Riyadh Air is the latest airline to enter, born from ambitious plans for economic diversification in Saudi Arabia.

He said, “They’ve all fallen back to the essence model that we have built here.” “Dubai continues to be a powerful magnet, and it is growing. There are many activities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.”