Emirates Order Keeps A380 Alive
Emirates Airlines has extended the production life of the A380 with a firm order for 20 aircraft and an option for 16 more. Airbus had run out of orders for the aircraft and was threatening to end production by 2020 but the new $16 billion order buys it time to sell airlines on the moneymaking virtues of the gigantic aircraft. Emirates, which operates almost half of the world’s 217 A380s and whose critics say is heavily subsidized by the UAE government, swears by the aircraft.
"We've made no secret of the fact that the A380 has been a success for Emirates,” CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum told Forbes. “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.” The grandeur of the airplane hasn’t really caught on as a marketing tool and even Emirates is using it as an economy hauler on some routes. But a few, like Singapore Airlines, have sacrificed some seats for amenities like bars and they claim some success at that end of the market. From Airbus’s point of view, the use of the 555-seat airliner to reduce congestion at airports is a sales tool for getting the airplane into the rapidly growing Chinese market. Not a single American airline has bought an A380 and North America is not mentioned in Airbus’s Super Jumbo marketing notes.