Airbus superjumbo A380 gets lifeline with Emirates $16bn order

Reuters

Reuters

Al Maktoum was quoted by Airbus as saying that "We've made no secret of the fact that the A380 has been a success for Emirates" and "We will continue to work closely with Airbus to further enhance the aircraft and onboard product". To do that, Airbus would need to really believe that the A380 has some kind of future outside Emirates, despite all the trends that clearly indicate the market thinks otherwise. The carrier had scuttled a deal for the same number of aircraft toward the end of previous year amid doubts about the manufacturer's dedication to improving the plane.

Airbus announced earlier Thursday that Emirates has signed a Memorandum of Understanding confirming a firm order for 20 A380s. The additional A380s will be delivered to Emirates from 2020 onwards. "If we fail to close agreement with Emirates, we will have to put an end to program", executive said.

Emirates has built much of its network and brand around the 544-seat A380 superjumbo but is also the world's largest operator of twin-engined Boeing 777s which carry up to 400 people in their newest version now in development.

At list prices, Thursday's deal is worth as much as about $16 billion, though it is customary in the aviation industry for important customers such as Emirates to receive major discounts.

However, Emirates ordered 40 Boeing 787 Dreamliners previous year, putting the future of the Airbus A380 in jeopardy. Airbus plans to cut production of the planes to eight per year in 2019, and the new order extends the life of the A380 to around 2029.

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Emirates has confirmed it will buy 20 A380 planes from Airbus with an option to order another sixteen.

Just yesterday, no one was sure if Airbus' A380 was breathing its last. The airline firm took delivery of its first A380 in July 2008, and its 100th two months ago.

The commercial chief of Airbus, John Leahy, advanced this Monday that if no new orders arrive, y will stop manufacturing it.

Airbus SE pulled its flagship A380 superjumbo back from the brink with a follow-up order from Emirates, giving the giant jet a new lease of life days after the planemaker floated the possibility of killing it off amid slack demand. No other airline has more than 18. But the airline instead committed to buying 40 787-10 airplanes from Boeing.

For Mr. Leahy, who is retiring from Airbus this year after a career spanning more than 30 years during which has sold more than 15,000 planes, the deal is a final coup.

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