Emirates has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for up to 36 Airbus A380s, providing a major lifeline for the European manufacturer’s flagship programme. The agreement comes just days after John Leahy, Airbus’ Chief Operating Officer – Customers, admitted production of the superjumbo could end, should a deal with Emirates fail to materialise.
The MOU, valued at $16bn at list prices and consisting of 20 firm orders and options for 16 more, was signed at the airline’s Dubai headquarters by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, and Leahy on January 18.
Sheikh Ahmed said: “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. Some of the new A380s we’ve just ordered will be used as fleet replacements. This order will provide stability to the A380 production line. We will continue to work closely with Airbus to further enhance the aircraft and onboard product, so as to offer our passengers the best possible experience. The beauty of this aircraft is that the technology and real estate on board gives us plenty of room to do something different with the interiors.”
Emirates’ current A380 fleet features both Rolls-Royce and Engine Alliance-powered examples and the airline says it is still evaluating powerplant options for the additional aircraft. The Dubai-based carrier added that airframes from this latest deal will be delivered from 2020 onwards.
Leahy remarked: “I would like to thank Emirates, Sheikh Ahmed, Tim Clark and Adel Al-Redha for their continued support of the A380. This aircraft has contributed enormously to Emirates’ growth and success since 2008 and we are delighted that it will continue to do so. This new order underscores Airbus’ commitment to produce the A380 at least for another ten years. I’m personally convinced more orders will follow Emirates’ example and that this great aircraft will be built well into the 2030s.”