Emirates has just signed a new deal with Airbus, agreeing to buy up to 36 more A380 planes worth $16 billion, the companies have announced.
The airline is the world's largest operator of wide-body aircraft and this new order is crucial for Airbus. After a long drought, this deal ends uncertainty about the future of the Airbus superjumbo program.
Airbus A380 Program Saved
Emirates was already the biggest customer for Airbus A380 aircraft, placing the most orders by far, but it has long stalled a new deal. Airbus had a couple of years with no new orders for its double-decker, which sparked speculation that its future might not be that bright.
If Emirates did not agree to order these 36 planes, Airbus might've been forced to stop making A380 planes. Just before securing the new orders, Leahy said that the A380 program risks shutting down if it fails to strike a deal with Emirates. Leahy said that Dubai's Emirates is the only one that could take enough A380 to keep the program going.
New Emirates Airbus Deal
The new agreement between Emirates and Airbus benefits both companies and buys more time for the ailing A380 program. If Emirates buys all 36 A380 planes, it will secure production until 2029, or even beyond.
For now, the deal includes 20 firm orders, with the option to buy 16 more planes. Emirates is still pondering engine options for now, evaluating Rolls-Royce and General Electric options, but the planes should be delivered starting in 2020. The airline's existing fleet of A380 comes with both GE and Rolls-Royce engines, so Emirates has to decide which option it prefers.
"Together with the airline's 101-strong A380 fleet and its current order backlog for 41 aircraft, this new order brings Emirates' commitment to the A380 programme to 178 aircraft, worth over US$ 60 billion," says Emirates.
Glad to announce a commitment from @Emirates for 20 #A380 & 16 options, worth US$16 billion at latest list prices. The A380 has contributed enormously to the airline's growth and success while delighting passengers with a spacious, quiet cabin. https://t.co/yURhYChklZ #iflyA380 pic.twitter.com/OfyWCodzJ6
— Airbus (@Airbus) January 18, 2018
Emirates A380 Fleet
The new order highlights the airline's confidence and commitment to help Dubai become a world-class aviation hub and travel destination. Some of the new A380 planes will serve as replacements for some of Emirates' existing fleet, while others will further expand it.
"This aircraft has contributed enormously to Emirates' growth and success since 2008 and we are delighted that it will continue to do so," says John Leahy, COO-Customers at Airbus. "This new order underscores Airbus' commitment to produce the A380 at least for another ten years."
Leahy adds that he's confident that more will follow Emirates' lead and place additional orders, ensuring that the A380 continues to see new units "well into the 2030s."