By DebbieH 19 Jan 2018 6 min read

Emirates throws lifeline to superjumbo


Emirates has just announced an order for 36 of Airbus’ A380s, potentially saving the jet from being discontinued. Earlier this week, John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer at Airbus, said that the A380 programme would have to shut down if a deal could not be reached with Emirates.

A memorandum of understanding was signed on Thursday morning by Leahy and HH Sheikh Ahmed, Chairman and Chief Executive at Emirates, for 20 A380s and an option for 16 more. Deliveries of the aircraft, valued at $16bn, are due to start in 2020. Some of these will be used as fleet replacements for some of the 101 A380s that Emirates is currently flying. This order adds to the 41 aircraft already confirmed by the airline.

The A380 is at the heart of Emirates’ fleet and operations. Sheikh Ahmed said: “We’ve made no secret of the fact that the A380 has been a success for Emirates.” He added: “This order will provide stability to the A380 production line. We will continue to work closely with Airbus to further enhance the aircraft and onboard product, so as to offer our passengers the best possible experience.”

Leahy commented: “This aircraft has contributed enormously to Emirates’ growth and success since 2008 and we are delighted that it will continue to do so. This new order underscores Airbus’ commitment to produce the A380 for at least another 10 years.”

Airbus sees the A380 as part of the solution to traffic congestion at busy airports as demand for air transport continues to rise. With its capacity of up to 575 passengers across four classes, the A380 is capable of carrying more passengers with fewer flights. Although the aircraft has proved very popular with passengers, the high operating costs mean that it has been less so with airlines. Airbus still believes in the future of the aircraft, however. With air traffic continuing to double every 15 years, the market may well turn to the A380.

Leahy added: “I’m personally convinced more orders will follow Emirates’ example and that this great aircraft will be built well into the 2030s.”




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