Emirates Considering Big A380 Boost
Update 6/12/2017: Emirates has told Reuters that the airline has no plans to buy additional A380s at this time. So, it seems that Airbus' A380 program hasn't been thrown the lifeline that Bloomberg originally reported.
Amid the ongoing diplomatic crisis in Qatar, which will undoubtedly curtail Qatar Airways' expansion plans, another Persian Gulf is remaining bullish in its outlook. Emirates, the world’s leading long-haul carrier, is in early negotiations to order 20 Airbus A380 double-decker jets, according to Bloomberg.
The contract with Airbus, potentially worth as much as $8.7 billion, could be finalized by the end of 2017, with the first aircraft set to arrive in 2020. Though still being discussed, the purchase could either replace existing A380s with expiring leases, or they could boost capacity overall. If the airline decides to go ahead with acquiring more superjumbos, it could keep the A380 program alive — Airbus is reportedly struggling to log new orders from airlines. Emirates' president, Sir Tim Clark, has pushed Airbus to create a more fuel efficient A380, but the lack of demand has deterred the airplane manufacturer from doing so.
Emirates was the first to place an order for the famed superjumbo jet and it now flies to over 40 destinations around the world for the carrier. The airline’s extensive use of the A380 has allowed Dubai, its base, to become a global gateway that connects Europe and North America with Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent.