Emirates demand forecast unchanged following A350 cancellation

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Emirates remains upbeat on future demand following its decision to cancel the 70 Airbus A350s that it had on order.

“There’s no change in Emirates' view of demand,” says Nigel Hopkins, executive vice-president of group services at the Dubai-based carrier, at an Airbus A380 investor event in New York on 12 June. “We’re absolutely positive about the future.”

Emirates is on track to carry 70 million passengers by 2020, he says.

The airline carried 44.5 million passengers in the fiscal year ending 31 March 2014.

Airbus disclosed Emirates' decision to cancel the order for 50 A350-900s and 20 A350-1000s at the beginning of a media event in Toulouse on 11 June.

"Airbus and Emirates Airline benefit from a long-standing relationship and the airline recently reiterated its confidence in Airbus products particularly by praising the A380 and the benefits the aircraft brings to their operations," said the airframer.

Hopkins declines to comment further on the move.

Lenders are unsure about the move. No other airlines around the world have indicated any misgivings with the A350 leading to the possible conclusion that Emirates' forward view of demand has changed, various attendees say on the sidelines of the investor event.

“You don’t just make a 70 A350 mistake in your demand forecast,” says one attendee.

Emirates retains a firm orderbook for 92 A380s and 56 Boeing 777-300ERs, Flightglobal’s Ascend Online database shows.

Airbus is not expected to have any trouble placing the A350s with either new customers or existing customers who would like earlier delivery positions.