DUBAI: Airbus A380’s aircraft program on Thursday received a much-needed shot in the arm after Dubai carrier Emirates announced a $16 billion deal for additional 36 of the superjumbos, with 20 firm orders and 16 options.
Emirates, the biggest A380 operator with 101 in service, expects delivery of the newest order from 2020 onwards. With its current order backlog for 41 aircraft, Emirates’ commitment to the A380 program is now at 178 aircraft, worth over $60 billion.
“This deal reflects Emirates’ confidence in shaping the future, and its commitment to advancing Dubai’s vision to grow further as a world-class destination and aviation hub,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said in a statement from Emirates.
We are pleased to announce an order for 36 @Airbus A380s worth US$ 16 billion. This order takes our total A380 commitment to 178 aircraft, underscoring our confidence in the A380 programme. https://t.co/0izOeXDano pic.twitter.com/z4ZlBYFS15
— Emirates airline (@emirates) January 18, 2018
Airbus sales chief John Leahy said earlier this week the French planemaker would stop its A380 superjumbo program if it fails to strike a long-term supply deal with the Dubai carrier for the world’s largest passenger aircraft.
“If we can’t work out a deal with Emirates, there is no choice but to shut down the program,” Leahy was quoted as saying, considering the UAE airline was “the only one who has the ability” to commit to a minimum of six planes a year for up 10 years to make Airbus’ A380 program viable.
“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,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Group, said.
“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. The beauty of this aircraft is that the technology and real estate on board gives us plenty of room to do something different with the interiors.”