Emirates rescues the A380 superjumbo from death row

Tammy Harvey
January 21, 2018

The two parties have been negotiating for a further commitment for quite some time, with Emirates seeking assurances from Airbus that A380 production would continue for at least 10 years, and Airbus, in return, pressuring Emirates to place an additional order to guarantee that an end customer for the aircraft, and its production line, was out there.

At the Paris Airshow in June 2017, Airbus presented an updated version of the A380 featuring new fuel saving winglets in what was the latest initiative to help improve the aircraft's operating economics and perhaps attract new orders for the program. Emirates now owns more than half of all A380 aircraft that Airbus has produced.

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.

A key official of Airbus has reported that Emirates is a single airline, which has the capability of committing nearly six airplanes yearly and has done so for almost eight to ten years.

"We've made no secret of the fact that the A380 has been a success for Emirates". Our customers love it, and we've been able to deploy it on different missions across our network, giving us flexibility in terms of range and passenger mix. "I'm personally convinced more orders will follow Emirates' example". It allows Airbus to continue to employ thousands of production line workers worldwide.

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. No carrier has ordered A380s since the year 2015, but sales of long-range twin-engine jets have soared. Reports claim that the deal to purchase thirty-six superjumbos from Airbus was expected to be signed in November past year during the Dubai Air Show. Airbus says it needs to produce six A380s a year for the production line to be viable.

Earlier this week, Airbus confirmed a Reuters report that the A380's survival lay with Emirates, saying it would have "no choice" but to close production if the Emirates deal fell through despite interest in smaller orders from others.

"The challenge will be for us to maintain at least this level of industrial output in the years to come before taking advantage of the replacement of the A380s and potentially new markets". Half of those came from Emirates.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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