On the second day of the Dubai Air Show, Tim Clark, chairman of Emirates, said the airline was freezing its Airbus A350-1000 purchase discussions. The reason is the motorization.
An engine “struggling” in the climatic conditions of the Persian Gulf
The only engine offered on the A350-1000 is currently the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engine and for Emirates, the latter does not meet the airline’s specifications.
For Tim Clark, doubts about the reliability of the engines in the extreme operating conditions typical of the Persian Gulf are not acceptable, even if the Airbus A350-1000 is a good aircraft of which 35 to 50 units could join the fleet. ‘Emirates. Long discussions were held with the aircraft manufacturer and the engine manufacturer who are perfectly familiar with the airline’s requirements and its operating conditions.
Too frequent maintenance
Currently, Emirates estimates that the Royce Trent XWB-97 would require increased maintenance which would ground the aircraft and impact the cost of operating the aircraft. For his part, Ewen McDonald, customer director of the engine manufacturer recognizes that the Trent XWB-97 faces challenges in climates like that of Dubai. The engine manufacturer is working on developments, while Emirates is awaiting guarantees on performance and especially on engine maintenance cycles. Without these conditions, Emirates will not be able to continue discussions on the purchase of the A350-1000.
The Airbus A350-900 is not impacted by these engine problems
The Airbus A350-900s already ordered by the airline are not impacted by these reserves and as planned, a first aircraft will join the fleet towards the end of summer 2024.
For Tim Clark, notwithstanding the manufacturer, so-called “extended” aircraft programs are never a success because they often require a complete redefinition of certain parts of the aircraft which interact with each other and make the problems exponential.
Emirates will therefore wait to see and judge on the parts before ordering the A350-1000 with the engine currently offered.