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Business Comment

Cancelled Airbus order is the superjumbo in the room


Outlook You can't blame Airbus's sales chief for claiming the biggest cancellation of an order in aviation history was no big deal. He's a salesman – turd varnishing goes with the job.

But the truth is that Emirates' cancellation of 70 A350s can mean several things, none of them good. Particularly not if you work at, or own shares in, Rolls-Royce.

Either: there's a problem with the A350 that's got Emirates spooked; the airline is fed up with the slow progress of talks to improve the A380 superjumbo's performance; Emirates has realised it has over-ordered across its fleet and needs to retrench; airlines in the Middle East and emerging markets think their markets are softening. Or maybe all the above. Ignore the salesman. Adopt the brace position.