Markets

Emirates order helps to keep Airbus A380 superjumbo flying

Emirates order helps to keep Airbus A380 superjumbo flying

Airbus's decision in 2007 to pursue the A380, capable of packing in 853 seats, was diametrically opposed to Boeing's bet on the Dreamliner, marketed as a more efficient plane that could be used for both medium and long-distance flights.

The announcement propelled shares in the company to a record high.

According to reports, Emirates Airline has placed a commitment to buy 20 A380s with an option to procure 16 more, with deliveries to start in 2020.

Negotiations between Airbus and Emirates had broken down at the last minute at the Dubai Airshow in November, when the Middle East carrier placed an order for 40 smaller 787 aircraft made by Airbus's USA rival Boeing. The oldest among the fleet is 10 years old.

A key official of Airbus has reported that Emirates is a single airline, which has the capability of committing nearly six airplanes yearly and has done so for almost eight to ten years.

But the A380 has been a disappointment for Airbus.

While Airbus says that order will keep the A380 production line going for more than a decade, it's still looking at slashing build rates to just six annually from 12 this year.

Dubai's main airport, where Emirates is based, is among the busiest in the world with more than 80 million travellers passing through in 2016. By way of comparison, Boeing's rival 787 Dreamliner had 94 orders a year ago.




Business Secretary Greg Clark said it was "fantastic news" for Airbus and its 15,000-strong United Kingdom workforce.

Sheikh Ahmed said: "We've made no secret of the fact that the A380 has been a success for Emirates".

The Dubai-based Emirates already has 101 A380s in its fleet and 41 more on order, making it the largest operator of the jumbo jet.

Days later, Airbus revealed an enormous 430-jet, $50 billion order from private equity firm Indigo Partners, which will distribute the planes among its low-priced airlines.

"The A380 is an iconic aircraft and today's deal underlines Airbus's commitment to its production over the long term". In 2017 it won no new orders for the superjumbo and two existing orders were cancelled.

The A380 order book stood at 317 at the end of December 2017, with 222 aircraft delivered and a backlog of 95.

At Dubai's biennial Air Show in November, Airbus suffered an embarrassment when it was scheduled to announce it had a struck a deal with Emirates for its A380, only to see Boeing sit on the podium with the airline and sign a $15.1-billion deal.