Dubai-based airline Emirates’ decision to cancel its order for 70 A350 XWB (extra wide-body) aircraft from Toulouse-headquartered Airbus Group could have negative consequences for the airline manufacturer, according to a leading rating agency.

Emirates’ cancelled the order currently worth approximately $22bn on 11 June. The order was originally placed in 2007 and valued at $16bn at the time.

US firm Moody’s Investors Service has viewed the decision as a credit negative move for the aircraft producer, but said it was a credit positive development for Airbus’ main rival, the US-based Boeing.

Boeing is in a position to strengthen its Middle East presence given Emirates’ growing preference for its 777X aircraft over Airbus’ A350 XWB model.

The airline announced an order for 150 777X aircraft at the Dubai Air Show held last November.

Emirates maintains strong ties with Airbus due to its strong pipeline of orders for the double-decker A380 jumbo jets it operates.

Moody’s said it did not think the cancellation would immediately hurt the financial profile of Airbus, since deliveries were not due to start until 2019.

Emirates’ decision could force Airbus to reconsider its product strategy and lead to costly investment in improving current aircraft models to meet the changing demands of airlines.

Airbus is also exposed to the Middle Eastern airlines potentially moving away from A350 XWB models to Boeing’s 777X.

Airbus and Boeing have long been vying for greater market share in the Middle East’s growing aviation sector. Last November at the Dubai Airshow, more than $200bn of aircraft orders were placed in just the first three days of the show.

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