The new tormentors of Airbus
He was always good for a surprise. Akbar Al Baker, until the beginning of this month the CEO of Qatar Airways, was known for canceling delivery ceremonies or the announcement of new orders at the last minute. In 2011, he canceled a press conference scheduled by Airbus at the Dubai Airshow at the last minute, only to order planes from its U.S. rival Boeing a few minutes later.
Although Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury was then the Chief Development Officer at the now-merged PSA Group with Fiat Chrysler, the start of the Dubai Airshow may now remind some longtime employees of the aircraft manufacturer of Al Baker. Because at the industry meeting now, it's two other airline CEOs who have spoiled the start of the party for Airbus: Ahmet Bolat, the Chairman of the Board of Turkish Airlines, and Tim Clark, the President of Emirates.
It was expected that both airlines would announce new large orders for Airbus during the Dubai Airshow. However, these announcements are still pending. While at least Turkish Airlines' order seems to be ready for signing soon, Emirates' order may not come as quickly. Tim Clark dashed Airbus's hopes on the second day of the show.
The A350-1000, the largest version of Airbus's latest long-range jet, generally fits well into the airline's fleet, explained the 73-year-old President of Emirates in a conversation with journalists. However, as long as Rolls-Royce cannot guarantee better reliability for the Trent-XWB engines of the A350-1000 under the specific operating conditions of Emirates with the high dust content of the air in Dubai, he will not consider ordering the long-range jet.
Scolding for Rolls-Royce
Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines informed the Istanbul Stock Exchange that negotiations with Airbus are still ongoing. The necessary announcements will be made publicly once the board approves, the airline said. This is not the first time that Turkish Airlines Chairman Bolat has played with the nerves of the two major aircraft manufacturers.
The 1959-born, habilitated engineer had already hinted at a massive order in May. He wants to establish Istanbul as an essential hub for flights from Europe to Asia and Africa. Industry experts had therefore speculated that the order could be signed on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting in early June in Istanbul or shortly thereafter during the Paris Airshow.
Bolat is playing with Airbus's nerves
However, during the IATA meeting, Bolat announced that the decision would be delayed by two months due to the presidential elections in Turkey. It had been speculated again that he would order up to 350 planes from Airbus in Dubai. After all, Airbus CEO Faury and his sales chief Christian Scherer made a stop in Istanbul on their way to the show. Faury has since left Dubai. The order is still pending.