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Single mega order saves everyone’s favourite plane

January 23, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

It’s no secret that travellers like the big A380, a plane seen as quiet and spacious – but there were doubts about its future. Now, these have been dispelled by one massive order late last week, which has assured that the A380’s production will continue.

Analysts had considered that unless Airbus received sizeable orders for the giant plane, it would probably have to wind down production.

Step forward Emirates, world’s largest international airline. It announced on Friday (Australian time) a USD 16 billion deal for 36 additional Airbus A380 aircraft, with 20 firm orders and 16 options. Emirates’ A380 fleet operates both Engine Alliance and Rolls-Royce engines, and the airline is evaluating engine options for its latest A380 order.

Signing the deal

The 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, this new order brings Emirates’ commitment to the A380 program to 178 aircraft, worth over USD 60 billion.

Emirates is by far the largest Airbus A380 operator in the world and its partnership with Airbus spans decades.

Airbus chief operating officer customers, John Leahy, warned recently that Airbus might have to shut down its A380 program if it failed to sign the deal with Emirates.

One of Emirates’ 380s. It currently runs 101 of them

The A380 was developed to challenge Boeing’s mighty 747, and while customers love the big four-engined plane, airlines tend to prefer smaller twin-engine models like the B787 Dreamliner and the A350. They are cheaper to fuel and maintain.

Airbus has been reducing the rate of A380 production. In 2017, it handed over only 15 A380s. That compared, in the same year, with 67 A330s and 78 A350s.

Airbus expects to deliver 12 A380s in 2018 and eight in 2019. The company could still run production with as few as six A380s a year, reports say, but obviously more is better. And now Emirates has saved the day, with more orders expected from other carriers and the A380’s future seemingly assured.

Written by Peter Needham

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