It has been a nail-biting year for Airbus. They crossed the year ahead of their friends across the pond in Boeing regarding the number of aircraft sold, but the deals rolled in right about at the end of the year. It seems now they have something to celebrate for the rest of 2018 now, with a new order for Airbus 380 from Emirates.
One of the significant areas of concern highlighted again and again by Airbus has been the inability to get any new orders for the Airbus A380, which is a double-decker marvel which I love to fly on. Emirates has been the only airline which has put the A380 at the centre of their operations and not as an add-on service to service select routes. They ordered over 140 of them the first time around; however, they have been in a bit of a tiff with Airbus about the detailing of the new deal with them.
At the Dubai Airshow, I was in the room where it seemed the new deal was going to be announced, with Airbus and Emirates people filling the room. However, Boeing people also arrived, and it eventually was a deal announced for the Boeing 787-10s, and Airbus was left empty-handed. The critical request from Emirates has been a commitment to keeping the A380 line open for a few years, at least a decade so that they know it is a core part of Airbus operations and won’t be shut down if Emirates did not support the program.
But all seems to work out at least for the moment, and the Airbus A380 is going to survive to live another day. Emirates has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus to buy another 20 Airbus A380s and have an option on 16 of those. Call it a lifeline to the A380 program!
Worth USD 16 billion at list price, the contract is on top of the Emirates 101-strong fleet of A380 aircraft and a backlog of 41 more of the double-decker jets. Some of the new A380s, which will begin to come through in the fleet from 2020, will replace the older planes, says Emirates.
We do not know yet if the new orders will be the Airbus A380 or the A380plus, a concept being propagated by Airbus but something Emirates did not take a liking for.
It’s not known if these new orders will encompass an upgraded version of the superjumbo – dubbed the A380plus – which adds fuel-saving winglets and room for 80 more passengers.
What do you think about the new deal between Airbus and Emirates for the A380?