Emirates announces $16-B deal for 36 A380s

Reuters

At a ceremony in the airline's headquarters in Dubai, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates, said: "The A380 has been a success for Emirates".

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

The planned purchase, which entails deliveries over the next eight years, comes after the European Aerospace giant overtook Boeing last year in terms of aircraft orders, booking 1,109 against the United States company's 718.

Dubai carrier Emirates has announced an order for 36 Airbus A380s worth $16bn at list prices days after the manufacturer warned it could scrap the programme.

Thursday's deal brings Emirates' total commitment to the A380 program up to 178 aircraft and a total value of $60 billion.

Emirates' move raised speculations among aviation experts about a possible end of the production of the European "double-decker" plane.

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His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said: "Emirates truly represents Dubai's spirit of growth, innovation and resilience".

The A380 program has been struggling due to a lack of interest by major airlines who are anxious about the cost of operating such a large aircraft.

Emirates' A380 fleet operates both Engine Alliance and Rolls-Royce engines. Production of the aircraft has dwindled at Airbus facilities as Leahy and his team struggled to find new customers.

Thursday's order will keep the A380 program afloat for the next decade.

Already by far the biggest A380 customer, Emirates had repeatedly stalled on the follow-on deal, putting the future of the double-decker in doubt after it failed to win any new orders for two years.

Emirates started operating the A380 in 2008 and received its 100th model in November - out of 222 delivered to 13 airlines to date. "It will be a great relief to Airbus to have secured this order, but they have to work aggressively to secure orders from other airlines too now". Airbus last week said that with a rush of December sales it had taken orders for 1,109 planes in total in 2017, again outstripping Boeing's 912 orders.

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