scorecardThe biggest moments at the Dubai Airshow, as Boeing beats Airbus, Emirates criticizes Rolls Royce, and Israeli companies' stands lay empty
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The biggest moments at the Dubai Airshow, as Boeing beats Airbus, Emirates criticizes Rolls Royce, and Israeli companies' stands lay empty

Pete Syme   

The biggest moments at the Dubai Airshow, as Boeing beats Airbus, Emirates criticizes Rolls Royce, and Israeli companies' stands lay empty
LifeThelife3 min read
The entrance to the Dubai Airshow.    Pete Syme/Business Insider
  • Emirates' president sparked tensions with Airbus and Rolls Royce after criticizing the A350-1000 engine.
  • Boeing beat Airbus in the orders tally after securing a $52 billion deal with Emirates on day one.

Emirates was the center of attention at the Dubai Airshow, which took place last week. The host nation's flag carrier made a $52 billion deal with Boeing on day one, before sparking tensions with Airbus and Rolls Royce.

Tim Clark, the airline's president, ruled out a deal for the A350-1000 despite Bloomberg reporting that Emirates previously wanted to buy 50 of them.

He said the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 — the exclusive engine option for the widebody jet — is "defective" as he believes it needs to be removed for maintenance too frequently, per Reuters.

The dispute played out in public, attracting questions on Tuesday at Airbus' press conference announcing EgyptAir's order for 10 A350-900s.

EgyptAir CEO Yehia Zakaria and Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer hold an EgyptAir model and smile at the Dubai Airshow.
EgyptAir CEO Yehia Zakaria and Christian Scherer of Airbus.      Pete Syme/Business Insider.

Airbus' chief commercial officer, Christian Scherer, called it a "perfectly fine engine" before saying he wouldn't comment on Clark's remark and bringing the focus back to the EgyptAir deal.

Later that same day, Rolls Royce's chief customer officer commented on the record. "The engine works really well in what we call benign operations," he told Reuters. "But in sandy, hot conditions it is challenged, as all modern engines are, because the temperatures are very high."

Airbus later reached an accord with Emirates on Thursday as it announced an order for 15 of the shorter A350-900, which the airline said was worth $6 billion.

Boeing beats out Airbus in the orders battle

Boeing got off to a hot start on Monday, announcing several deals.

As well as Emirates' order for 95 jets, the American manufacturer also called press conferences with SunExpress, flyDubai, Royal Jordanian, and Royal Air Maroc.

Ethopian Airlines and Kazakhstan's SCAT Airlines announced orders with Boeing on Tuesday.

In total, Boeing received 214 firm orders for commercial aircraft, compared to Airbus' 66.

As well as the smaller Emirates order, Airbus made deals with Ethopian Airlines, EgyptAir, and airBaltic.

Airbus didn't get to announce a potentially mammoth deal with Turkish Airlines, after the state-run Anadolu Agency reported they were in talks to purchase 355 jets — of which 250 were for the A321neo.

Although an Airbus spokesperson told Reuters the two did reach an agreement in principle for a "significant commercial aircraft order."

Riyadh Air yet to announce narrow-body order

Riyadh Air, the Saudi airline set to take to the skies in 2025, has its sights set on a big narrow body order.

Bloomberg reported that Riyadh Air was set to order 100 Boeing MAX jets to compliment the 72 Boeing Dreamliners it provisionally ordered in March. CEO Tony Douglas said it would announce the narrow body order in the coming weeks.

Riyadh Air also unveiled its second livery — a more modest and cost-efficient white with purple accents, compared to the purple 787 that debuted at June's Paris Air Show.

But a plan to project the new livery onto the purple airliner in Dubai went awry.

Peter Bellew, the chief operating officer, said during a panel that Riyadh Air had started training its first four pilots.

Israel's IAI and Rafael leave stands empty

The Dubai Airshow took place five weeks after the Hamas attacks against Israel on October 7, reigniting tensions in the region.

Israeli defense companies IAI and Rafael had prominent stands in the main exhibition hall, but there was nobody at them.

IAI and Rafael
IAI and Rafael's exhibition stands on Tuesday.      Pete Syme/Business Insider

When Business Insider visited the IAI stand on the first day of the conference, it was surrounded by a red cordon, which was removed by the second.

One person at the Airshow who said they worked for IAI declined to comment when approached by CNBC. And staff who represented the company at the previous Dubai Airshow told the outlet they didn't attend because they had been drafted into the Israel Defense Forces.

The United Arab Emirates was among the 121 countries who voted at the United Nations last month in favor of a humanitarian truce in the Israel-Hamas war.




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