‘This has been a tough decision, but we are happy we will now have the best American and European technology for our Airbus super-jumbos,’ said Emirates’ chairman, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, speaking at the show in Singapore. The deal marks a departure in procurement strategy for Emirates, which has previously sourced its large-jet engines exclusively from Rolls Royce.

Emirates used the Dubai airshow in November to firm up its orders with Airbus for 22 A380s and an option to take 10 more of the giant aircraft. Deliveries are expected to start in 2006. The airline announced at the same time an order with The Boeing Companyof the US for 25 777-200 and 777-300 aircraft. Alliance and Rolls Royce are competing for the contract to supply engines for these aircraft.

Rolls Royce, which is offering the Trent 900 for the 555-passenger A380, was awarded in November a $475 million contract to supply Emirates with 38 Trent 500 and 700 engines for its new A340-600 and A320-200 aircraft. Rolls Royce, having so far secured the bulk of the world’s A380 engine orders, claims up to 30 per cent of the aircraft engine market in the region (Aviation, MEED Special Report, 1:6:01, pages 25-26).

The attention of both companies now shifts to the contract to supply Doha-based Qatar Airwayswith engines for its fleet of two A380s on order from Airbus (MEED 12:10:01).