ROLLS-Royce has suffered a £2.6 billion blow to its order book after Dubai-based airline Emirates scrapped plans to buy 70 Airbus A350s.

Emirates placed the order as part of a wider deal with Airbus in 2007 and had been due to receive the first extra- wide-body (XWB) A350 planes in 2019.

Rolls, which has major bases in Bristol and Derby, said it was hopeful that the delivery slots would be taken by other airlines but admitted that in the meantime the cancellation will reduce its order book by around 3.5 per cent.

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The loss of the Emirates order comes in a year when Rolls-Royce expects revenues and profits will fail to grow due to the impact of defence spending cuts among major customers. Airbus said it remains confident in the A350, with 742 firm orders ahead of its entry into service.