Emirates has been the first customer to place an additional order for Airbus A380s in almost three years. The add-on order to Emirates' current backlog of A380 orders includes 20 firm orders, as well as 16 options. At list price, the new order for Airbus A380s is worth approximately US $16 Billion.
The significance of this order is especially huge, as just several days earlier, Airbus' departing sales chief John Leahy stated that the Airbus A380 production line will be terminated if it did not receive a larger order from Emirates. The current order of A380 superjumbos will be delivered starting from 2020 onwards.
When it was first conceived, the A380 was designed to replace smaller aircraft on high capacity routes, allowing airlines to add more capacity in certain markets. Furthermore, as airports reach maximum capacity, the only way for an airline to create more seats to sell to customers is to upgauge to larger jets in order to add capacity. Unfortunately, the jet has not sold very well, because airlines have constantly found it difficult to fill all of the seats onboard the aircraft. Furthermore, business travelers prefer frequency and flexibility over capacity when it comes to selecting flights.
As such, Airbus has slowed the production speed from 27 a year to just 8 annually starting in 2019, in an attempt to keep the A380 program alive as long as possible. Leahy stated that Emirates' commitment to continue purchasing the A380 will allow the production line to remain open for at least another decade, and sales chief John Leahy also stated that "I’m personally convinced more orders will follow Emirates’ example and that this great aircraft will be built well into the 2030s."
Personally, I believe that Emirates has one of the world's best A380 hard products in the world. Fully-featured seats in all cabins add to the comfort passengers will experience, as will the stylish interiors. The Airbus A380, an AvGeek's dream, is unfortunately becoming a burden for many airlines who can't find the capacity to fill all of their aircraft. Nevertheless, I'm excited to see Emirates' investment into the A380 program, which has historically struggled for many years.
Featured photo courtesy of Julian Herzog Photography.