Airbus, Emirates ready to deal on new order for flagship A380

Airbus, Emirates ready to deal on new order for flagship A380

Airbus is working with Emirates, the biggest buyer of its A380 double-decker airliner, on a follow-up deal, which would bring much-needed relief to a program that’s running out of orders as carriers pick smaller more fuel-efficient aircraft.

The two sides aim to come to terms in time for the Dubai Air Show, which starts November 12, Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum said on Friday in Hamburg, before taking delivery of its 100th A380.

Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders sought to bolster the troubled program at the event, saying the A380 would remain in production for another decade, and that there are other sales prospects to customers in the Middle East and Asia.

“I hope that we will be able to do it” in time for the biennial air show in Emirates’ hometown, Sheikh Ahmed told reporters. “It’s really about the work between the two teams as we speak today. There are discussions,” but contract talks “take ages and are expensive.”

The Airbus A380, which is the European manufacturer’s largest and most expensive plane at a list price of US$436.9 million, has become a tough sell for the company. Emirates represents the only major customer for the double-decker, with 142 of the jet’s 317 net orders as the airline uses the model as its flagship.

Most other customers, such as British Airways to Lufthansa to Air France, have made the plane only a sub-category of their fleets.

Bloomberg reported in June that Airbus was working to secure a follow-on order for 20 planes, which would lift Emirates’ total orderbook to more than half of the A380’s total. In June, Airbus unveiled the so-called A380plus, which adds fuel-saving upgrades in a bid to make the 550-seat, four-engine behemoth more appealing.

“For Emirates, the A380 has been a success,” Al Maktoum said. “We remain committed to the program and will work closely with Airbus and our partners to continually enhance our A380 product.”

Airbus has cut back production of the superjumbo over the past few years to adapt to the slowing order flow, moving from 28 deliveries in 2016 to just eight a year from 2019. The move is in line with Boeing’s own troubles selling the latest iteration of its 747-8 jumbo jet, which has seen even weaker demand than the A380.

The Dubai Air show is the venue of choice for the major carriers from the Middle East to place orders. Besides Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways also operate the plane. Emirates has on several occasions topped up its order book.

In a sign of how important the relationship is the Franco-German planemaker rolled out its top executives for the Hamburg handover ceremony, including outgoing sales chief John Leahy who is slated to be leaving Airbus at the end of this year or early next.

Leahy, who has racked up more than 15,500 jet orders worth US$1.7 trillion at list prices over two decades as head salesman, could make a final Emirates deal his swan song.

“I’m not sure John will retire without one more significant A380 order,” CEO Enders quipped in Hamburg.

 

6 comments

  • Jason Bird

    Speedbird

    9 Nov, 2017 05:30 am

    I sure did hope an order is forthcoming as I love the A380 and am surprised more carriers haven’t make a success of it.
    Perhaps the enhancements will spur Qantas on to take up some of those remaining BIG birds on its order books (although I’m very doubtful of this ever happening and fully admit it’s a case of wishful thinking on my part)
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  • loopflyer

    loopflyer

    9 Nov, 2017 07:45 am

    The A380 is nothing short of fantastic. I wish more airlines would order the plane.
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  • ZT

    ZT

    9 Nov, 2017 11:53 am

    Qantas are saying it is much cheaper and more efficient to have 2 smaller capacity aircraft with total capacity equaling the A380 capacity.
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  • reeves35

    reeves35

    9 Nov, 2017 01:04 pm

    It may be cheaper (though the calculation of this is largely based on load and yield assumptions) but with airports such as HKG, LHR and LAX all slot restricted, it is not easy to operate 2 aircraft because the slots just aren't available. Even SYD and MEL have severe gate restraints at peak times.
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  • AJW

    AJW

    9 Nov, 2017 05:35 pm

    Are they really saying that? Or are they saying that they are better off flying smaller aircraft to/from more destinations rather than have a large hub to hub plane like the A380. Which realisticly is still needed for flights into hub constrained ports where there is little to no hope of airlines like Qantas gettting more slots.
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  • Orus Picarous

    oruspicarous

    11 Nov, 2017 04:27 pm

    I rather have QF take up A350-1000s or any other variant of A350, although they’ve got a great deal on 787s and possibly convert some 16-odd rights into upcoming 797 whenever that comes
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17 Jul, 2019 09:06 pm

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