Airbus has won a $16bn (£12.3bn) order for 50 aircraft from Emirates as the Dubai-based airline continues its international expansion.
The order for the A350-900 XWBs – extra wide body – is the first big contract announced at the 2019 Dubai Air Show.
The A350’s wings are made in the UK, and the aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce engines.
Emirates said the airline was still in talks with Boeing about buying more aircraft from the US manufacturer.
The Airbus order, announced at a hastily-convened news conference after last-minute negotiations, will be used to help re-shape the Emirates fleet as the airline adjusts to a slowing regional market and the early end to production of the A380 super-jumbo jet.
Emirates is the biggest operator of the A380, with more than 100 of the aircraft in its fleet.
The airline’s chairman and chief executive, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said the A350s would allow Emirates to expand its long-haul network. The first of the A350 aircraft, which flies up to 15 hours and carries 350 passengers, will be delivered in 2023.
Emirates is likely to have got a discount on the headline list price of $16bn because of the size of the order.
“It is very good news for Airbus,” the European aerospace giant’s chief executive, Guillaume Faury, told the news conference. He added that there would be no reversal of the decision earlier this year to end production of the A380.
Sheikh Ahmed said talks were continuing with Boeing at the air show, with everything up for discussion, including when the US aerospace giant might resolve issues around its 737 Max, currently grounded after two crashes.
Emirates has previously said it could buy 40 of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners, but has yet to firm up the order.