Emirates Purchase Pulls Airbus A380 Back From the Brink

Ivan Schwartz
January 21, 2018

These questions became particularly acute on Monday when Airbus CEO John Leahy said at a press conference that production of the A380 could soon come to an end unless new orders could be confirmed that would allow for the construction of at least six of the US$446 million planes that seat up to 853 passengers per flight.

Emirates Airline has broken the Airbus A380 order drought with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to purchase up to 36 of the world's largest passenger aircraft.

Persian Gulf carrier Emirates, already the biggest A-380 customer, signed an outline agreement for 20 of the double-deckers with an option to buy 16 more, the Dubai-based company said yesterday, handing Airbus its first orders for the flagship model in more than two years. "This aircraft has contributed enormously to Emirates' growth and success since 2008 and we are delighted that it will continue to do so".

"We've been able to deploy it on different missions across our network, giving us flexibility in terms of range and passenger mix", Sheikh Ahmed said. "I'm personally convinced more orders will follow Emirates' example and that this great aircraft will be built well into the 2030s".

"Some of the new A380s we've just ordered will be used as fleet replacements". Airbus delivered just 15 of the planes last year, and aims to deliver 12 more this year.

But the A380 has been a disappointment for Airbus.

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Emirates is by far the largest operator of the A380 with 101 in service today and a backlog of 41 superjumbos on order before Thursday's announcement.

The world's largest passenger aircraft has struggled for sales in recent years, with carriers preferring twin-engine variants to serve their long-haul routes. Reports claim that the deal to purchase thirty-six superjumbos from Airbus was expected to be signed in November a year ago during the Dubai Air Show.

Emirates' commitment to take six A380s a year for a decade fills a gap in planned production as Airbus touts business from other airlines. The deal, worth an estimated $16 billion at list prices, will make Emirates the buyer behind over half of all A380 orders worldwide with 178 units bought over the model's eleven year commercial operation.

"I am not pleased with the ramp down but this is controlled".

Speaking to reporters earlier this week, Airbus's sale director, Jim Leahy, said: "If we can't work out a deal with Emirates there is no choice but to shut down the program".

Other reports by GizPress

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