Talk of the Airbus A380 falling off the production line has been thrashed for now with Emirates announcing a US$16 billion order for 36 additional Airbus A380 aircraft, with 20 firm orders and 16 options.
With no orders made on the A380 last year, and some in the industry pegging it a less viable and efficient aircraft compared to the Dreamliner, Airbus COO John Leahy reportedly stated last Monday the company might have to axe the A380 should Emirates not put down an order.
Just days after, Emirates extended this very lifeline to the A380. The 36 additional Airbus A380s will be delivered to Emirates from 2020 onwards – together with the airline’s 101-strong A380 fleet and its current order backlog for 41 aircraft – will bring the airline’s commitment to the A380 programme to 178 aircraft, worth over US$60 billion.
Some of the new A380s will go towards fleet replacement, according to Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline and Group.
“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,” Ahmed explained.
Other winning qualities of the A380, he added, are “the technology and real estate on board” which have given the airline “plenty of room to do something different with the interiors”.
Commented a more optimistic Leahy: “This new order underscores Airbus’ commitment to produce the A380 at least for another 10 years. I’m personally convinced more orders will follow Emirates’ example and that this great aircraft will be built well into the 2030s.”