© By Julian Herzog, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39235791
It has been agreed that Dubai-based airline Emirates will purchase up to 36 Airbus A380s, saving the model from extinction.
The Airbus flagship superjumbo, the largest passenger plane in the world with a 525 person capacity, was set to be shelved due to a lack of sales and demand during recent years. That was until January 18th 2018, when Emirates confirmed the first purchase of the model in two years, an outright order of 20 planes with the option to buy 16 more in the future. The deal, worth an estimated $16 billion at list prices, will make Emirates the buyer behind over half of all A380 orders worldwide with 178 units bought over the model’s eleven year commercial operation. It will also extend the life of the A380 to at least 2029, Airbus had openly admitted that without imminent new deals they would commence termination of the program. Airbus also confirmed that delivery of the jet will commence from 2020, three years earlier than initially speculated.
Emirates, which is owned by the Dubai government and is currently the largest airline in the Middle East, had been toying with the purchase of A380s for some time. Just last year they scrapped a deal to buy the model over doubts that Airbus were dedicated to improving their jet. This new deal will make up for some of the humiliation suffered by Airbus at the hands of Emirates at the November 2017 Dubai Air Show, when the airline chose to place a large order for rival Boeing’s Dreamliner.
The Airbus A380 was pitched as the future of airline travel when it appeared on the market over a decade ago. Its superior passenger capacity offered a solution to increased demand for international travel and airport congestion as only a certain number of planes can land at an airport on any given day. However the plane became a financial disaster for the firm as airlines began to favor the use of smaller airports. After two years of no sales, the Emirates deal is truly the only thing standing between the Airbus A380 and the scrapheap.