United Arab Emirates-based airline operator Emirates has agreed to purchase up to 50 A350-900 XWB aircraft from Airbus.

Valued at AED58.7bn ($16bn) according to list prices, the deal was announced at the Dubai Airshow 2019.

Airbus is expected to begin deliveries of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB powered aircraft in May 2023 and continue through 2028.

The new order will replace the heads of agreement signed earlier this year, which involved plans to acquire 30 A350s and 40 A330Neos.

The A350-900 XWB aircraft will enable the carrier to expand operations to new markets, including long-haul missions comprising up to 15 hours of flying time from Dubai.

Emirates chairman and chief executive HH Sheikh Ahmed said: “Today, we are pleased to sign a firm order for 50 A350 XWBs, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.

“This follows a thorough review of various aircraft options and of our own fleet plans. It is Emirates’ long-standing strategy to invest in modern and efficient aircraft, and we are confident in the performance of the A350 XWB.

“Complementing our A380s and 777s, the A350s will give us added operational flexibility in terms of capacity, range and deployment. In effect, we are strengthening our business model to provide efficient and comfortable air transport services to, and through, our Dubai hub.”

Emirates’ A350s will feature various cabin layouts.

Last year, Emirates finalised a previously signed memorandum of understanding with Airbus for the purchase of up to 36 A380 aircraft for a total of $16bn.