Dubai-based Emirates Airlines has cancelled a $16bn order for 70 A350 passenger jets from Airbus, amounting to nine per cent of the plane maker's A350 order book.
The order, which was placed seven years ago, was due for completion in 2019. Airbus said that Emirates had recently "reiterated its confidence in Airbus products, particularly by praising the A380".
Rolls-Royce, which builds the engines for the A350s, said the cancellation would lead to a £2.6bn hit to its own order book. This was reflected in a share price decline of two per cent in early London trading.
In a statement, Emirates explained why the cancellation had gone ahead. “The contract which we signed in 2007 for 70 A350 aircraft has lapsed. We are reviewing our fleet requirements,” it said.
Boeing, Emirates' other main aircraft provider, is still holding on to an order of 150 widebody jets made by the airline last November.