Tim Clark of Emirates has expressed a desire holding off on ordering for his next batch of Wide Body from either Airbus or Boeing. It signals a want of allowing Boeing a showing of the 787-10 in real time capabilities. He has placed the Airbus A350-9 as a 14 hour range hauler and the 787-10 as an 8 hour range hauler. His concern is desert heat and take-off weight, hauling full loads whether they be full passenger loads, freight or both.
Emirates demands an 8 hour range hauler for 95% of its fight routes. Therefore the A350-900 may be wasted capacity 95% of the time. Where the Boeing 787-10 may have a shortfall 5% of the time. The tie breaker is what manufacturer has the best takeoff and landing dynamics while meeting requirements in the desert heat without enabling some kind of Boeing enhancements for its engine thrust configurations. Engine tweaking may cost Emirates more money than it wants to expend having a 787-10 order selection.
Boeing is addressing these concerns through its 787-10 development progressions, and will give Emirates a final solution for its fully configured 787-10 desert bird. It may not do enough for Tim Clark and he will pay the penalty by ordering under utilized A350-900 will a Maximum range of 14 hours. Either way this article could be written for Airbus or Boeing and the tipping point could be having the 777X added for that 5% of the time needing its Long range and freight capacity coming from a 777-8 or 777-9. Clark is running numbers from its computer route generator in figuring out what option would complete the Emirates planning.
A hint is the fact he is willing to wait for the decision before placing the order for about 70 aircraft. Deal making will make the winning order. Timing is in Boeing's corner. If Emirates waits another year before ordering, looking at either manufacturers backlog or order position is a key element in the deal. In one year Boeing will have shrunk production capacity back log by another 140 787 frames were built and delivered. In one year Airbus will have probably shrunk its production backlog by only forty more A350 frames.
Boeing has the high ground for Emirates at this time when Clark says wait another year before dropping the order into a selected production line. It is really up to each framer what it can do to tie the deal with Emirates at this time. Boeing will bring the price and production slot to Tim Clark for what he needs. If Boeing assures and demonstrates to Tim Clark, the thrust package will exceed performance expectation in the Emirates route environment, then this delay signals an Emirates preference for a Boeing Order.