I'd be willing to bet they will order the A350, but also keep the 787. They could use the 778 and 779 to replace and upgauge the 777s flying today, and use the A350 and 787 for smaller routes without that much demand. Say, if they ordered the 35K (perhaps with EY's slots if they cancel their order), they could have the 78J or even 789 for their smaller routes, the 35K and 779 take over the 77W routes, the 778 for ULH or flights with a lot of cargo demand and the 388 to keep doing its current role. I think it could work out pretty well for them.
I'm not following the logic.
STC and Airbus aren't the best of buddies these days. He basically left them standing at the altar in Paris because they would not commit to the A380 with "copper bottomed guarantees". It looks like his concern was justified. He walked away from A350 when it changed in a way he didn't like. He orders 787-10 saying “The Boeing 787-10 aircraft is the best choice for Emirates, it’s a good eight-hour aircraft.”. How does not getting the A380s he did get a commitment on translate to a sale of A35K? He already has the world's largest 777-3 fleet and 777-8 and 777-9 on order. The best plane to use for the cancelled A380s would be 777-9. He's had the opportunity to order A359 or A35K for 77W replacement for years now and has not done so. Seeking to cancel his A380 orders wouldn't increase the attractiveness of A350 in any way, IMHO.
I would agree with you if it was just the initiative of Airbus to accelerate the end of production for the A380. But we don't know that. We do know Airbus and EK are in discussion about it.
It may very well be EK has changed their minds a year on. Maybe ordering more A380s is not such a good idea after all. Flying them half empty in the low season is something they could get away with in the past, but not anymore. (OT: I remember a Tuifly 738 flight DXB-AMS had to be cancelled a while ago. All 180 pax could be rebooked to a single EK flight!).
Right sizing could be the way forward. While the Qatari and UAE governments are not on speaking terms anymore, I'm sure Al-Baker and Clark still are. It would not surprise me if Al Baker would rave about how good the A350s are working for QR. And QR are doing well, still growing despite the sanctions of Qatar's neighboring countries. Rightsizing the fleet like QR does (even going for the A321LR now) should have something to do with it.
So EK may see some sense in slowly rolling their A380 fleet over with 777-9s, and their 77W fleet with A35K's, 787-10s and even -9s. Perhaps the A359 could have a role too. The only doubt I have is for the 777-8.
And yes, I also think the Dubal and Abu Dhabi rulers may have had a chat about EY's A350 order too. But that's something I don't believe will ever go public.
146,318/19/20/21, AB6,332,333,343,345,346,359,388, 722,732/3/4/5/G/8,9, 742,74E,744,752,762,763, 772,77E,773,77W,788 AT4/7,ATP,CRK,E75/90,F50/70