Emirates places $16 billion order for 36 new A380 superjumbos

Airbus
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group (L), and John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer Customers, Airbus Commercial Aircraft.

Emirates has announced a deal to buy up to 36 more A380 superjumbo jets from European planemaker Airbus.

The Gulf carrier had previously raised concerns that Airbus would cancel the program, leaving the airline with a steep drop-off in the value of its A380 fleet. The deal should help Airbus maintain production of the superjumbo jet, which has been stymied by slow orders.

Airbus raised the stakes with Emirates Monday, by suggesting that unless it could find more buyers for its A380, the superjumbo program may have to end.

Emirates Airline signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 20 A380s with an option for 16 more.

Deliveries are to start in 2020. Airbus said the deal is valued at $16 billion at latest list prices, although Emirates can expect a steep discount.

"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," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline, at the signing in Dubai on Thursday.

The Gulf airline is the biggest A380 customer as its schedules offer more long-haul trips than its rivals. While the A380 has proved tricky for operators, it scores highly with passengers.

Following delivery of its first A380 in July 2008, Emirates took its 100th superjumbo in November 2017.

Also in November, Singapore Airlines handed over the very first A380 into service back to the leasing company that owns it. The jet, which first flew in 2007, is now in storage.

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