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Update: Emirates rescues Airbus A380 from extinction

Just yesterday, no one was sure if Airbus’ A380 was breathing its last.

Just now we found out, the massive aircraft got a new lifeline.

Emirates Airlines announced Thursday a $16 billion deal for 36 additional Airbus A380, putting an end to Airbus’ plan to end the production of the aircraft.

“The additional Airbus A380s will be delivered to Emirates from 2020 onwards.  Together with the airline’s 101-strong A380 fleet and its current order backlog for 41 aircraft, this new order brings Emirates’ commitment to the A380 programme to 178 aircraft, worth over $60bn,” said a statement released by the company.

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Emirates reasons

Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive at Emirates Airline said: “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.”

Airbus reaction

John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer Customers at Airbus, said 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,” he said.

But why did Airbus want to put an end to the production of A380?

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Apparently, the Airbus A380 failed to reach it sales goals while it is facing competition from other aircrafts.

This is why it was preparing to end the production of A380 had Emirates not sealed that deal which would make the program unviable.

Airbus chief salesman John Leahy was quoted by CNBC as saying “the only one who has the ability to commit to a minimum of six planes a year for a minimum of eight to 10 years, which Airbus needs to make the program viable.”

Also, Saj Ahmad, Chief Analyst, StrategicAero Research, and an industry observer said the A380 has been a monumental financial abyss for manufacturer Airbus.

He explains that the A380 has failed to come anywhere near the sale goals envisaged for it and that at nearly 20 years old it is entering the age of obsolescence and facing more efficient airplanes like 777X, 787 and A350.

Also, the aircraft suffered from engine problems resulting in serious incidents in the past few years.

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 Economic feasibility

The telegraph reported that the economics of operating A380 also have proved off-putting for airlines.

“Simply put, every service needs to run at close to full capacity for carriers to make money,” it said while adding that this has prompted airlines to buy medium-sized planes instead, such as the Dreamliner, the A320neo and the A350.