A380 saved as Emirates places order for 36 aircraft

18 / 01 / 2018

  • Emirates A380s

    Emirates A380s

Dubai-based Emirates has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to acquire up to 36 additional A380 aircraft, the giant aircraft which had been facing the axe due to a lack of demand.

Following the order, Airbus said production of the aircraft would continue for at least the next ten years, while it was confident that it would continue to be made into the 2030s.

The commitment is for 20 A380s and an option for 16 more, with deliveries to start in 2020. The deal is valued at $16bn at latest list prices.

The agreement was signed this morning at the airline’s headquarters in Dubai by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline and Group, and John Leahy, chief operating officer customers, Airbus Commercial Aircraft.

Sheikh Ahmed said: “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.

“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, so as to offer our passengers the best possible experience."

John Leahy, chief operating officer customers, Airbus Commercial Aircraft said: "This new order underscores Airbus’ commitment to produce the A380 at least for another ten years. I’m personally convinced more orders will follow Emirates’ example and that this great aircraft will be built well into the 2030s.”

Following delivery of its first A380 in July 2008, Emirates took its 100th A380 on the November 3, 2017, in Hamburg.

The aircraft had been facing a difficult future. Critics had argued that its size - it can carry 575 passengers - made it inefficient unless all seats could be sold.

On the cargo front, a fully laden A380 can carry about 8 tonnes of cargo, meaning it is not the most cargo friendly aircraft.

There has been some talk of the development of an A380 freighter, but it has been suggested that while the aircraft has more space than the B747-8, the weight it can carry is proportionately less.

"The A380 is an essential part of the solution to sustainable growth, alleviating traffic congestion at busy airports by transporting more passengers with fewer flights," Airbus said.

To date, 222 A380s have been delivered to 13 Airlines while 317 have been ordered. Emirates has placed orders for 142 of the aircraft.