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$16 billion order saves A380

Emirates steps in to boost flagging orders.

The future of the Airbus A380 superjumbo is now secure, after Emirates signed up to buy an additional 36 of the aircraft in a deal worth $16 billion at list prices.

Airbus was admitting just last week that it may have to shut down production on the aircraft type if no further order from Emirates, the A380’s main customer, was forthcoming.

But the Dubai-based carrier Emirates has now agreed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus for 20 A380s, with options for a further 16. The new giant planes will be delivered to the airline in or after 2020.

Emirates already has 101 A380s in its fleet with a further 41 of the planes due to be delivered over the coming years as part of previous orders.

“We’ve made no secret of the fact that the A380 has been a success for Emirates,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group, said.

“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.”

He continued: “Some of the new A380s we’ve just ordered will be used as fleet replacements. 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.”

More to follow?
John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer said the deal underscores Airbus’ commitment to produce the A380 at least for another ten years, adding that he was “personally convinced more orders will follow Emirates’ example” and that “this great aircraft will be built well into the 2030s”.

The pace of production has been dragging. Compared to 27 of the A380s supplied to airlines in 2015, Airbus delivered 15 in 2017 and has only 12 scheduled for delivery in 2018.

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