Airbus seals deal worth billions with Emirates for new aircraft

20 January, 2018, 04:18 | Author: Manuel Hopkins
  • Getty — Chris Jackson  Tim P. Whitby

Emirates, the world's largest global airline, has announced a US$16 billion deal for 36 additional Airbus A380 aircraft, with 20 firm orders and 16 options.

If Emirates signs off on the full deal, it will have committed to a total of 178 A-380s, or more than half of all orders for the plane worldwide.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group, and Mr Leahy, signed and sealed the deal at the airline's headquarters in Dubai. "Our customers love it, and we have been able to deploy it on different missions across our network, giving us flexibility in terms of range and passenger mix".

This new deal will make up for some of the humiliation suffered by Airbus at the hands of Emirates at the November 2017 Dubai Air Show, when the airline chose to place a large order for rival Boeing's Dreamliner.

With the January 18 signing of an MOU for up to 36 new A380s, Emirates is assuring that production of the ultra-large widebody-which can seat between 525 and 853 passengers and has a 15,200 km range-will continue for another 10 years.

Emirates is already the world's biggest customer for the A380 with 101 in its fleet and 41 more firm orders previously placed.

Getty  Tim P. Whitby
Getty Tim P. Whitby

"I wish to thank Emirates, Sheikh Ahmed, Tim Clark and Adel Al-Redha for their continued support of the A380", said John Leahy, COO customers of Airbus commercial aircraft.

"Every 15 years, air traffic doubles", he said.

"This new order underscores Airbus' commitment to produce the A380 at least for another ten years", said Airbus chief salesman John Leahy.

Calling time on the A380 would not have caused major financial damage to Airbus, but would have been "emotionally expensive", a company source said.

Further, Bregier acknowledged there was a commercial challenge around the A380, noting an internal Airbus analysis of the program's supply chain determined that there needed to be a "minimum of six aircraft a year to maintain industrially an efficient production line". "This deal reflects Emirates' confidence in shaping the future, and its commitment to advancing Dubai's vision to grow further as a world-class destination and aviation hub".

Emirates' A380 fleet operates both Engine Alliance and Rolls-Royce engines. The last order by another airline for the A380 was in 2015 when Japan's ANA booked three. In 2017 it won no new orders for the superjumbo and two existing orders were cancelled. "I'm personally convinced more orders will follow Emirates' example".

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