Emirates Saves the A380 for Now, Places $16 Billion Order for up to 36 New Superjumbos

Jan 18, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Emirates has saved the superjumbo Airbus A380 from its impending doom. On Thursday, the Dubai-based carrier announced that it’s signed a Memorandum of Understanding an order for up to 36 of the A380s, a deal worth $16 billion.

Emirates’ announcement comes less than four days after Airbus’ sales chief said that production of the aircraft would come to a halt if it didn’t get an order from Emirates.

As part of this announcement, Emirates has officially placed a firm order for 20 of the aircraft, which are scheduled to begin delivery in 2020. It also has options to buy a further 16 A380s.

The Airbus A380, once considered the future of aviation, has struggled mightily in recent years. Not only have orders decreased, but production has slowed. According to BBC, just a few years ago, Airbus produced 27 of the A380s annually. In 2018, that number will drop to 12. And in 2019, it’s expected to deliver just eight of the sumperjumbos.

Emirates is the largest customer of the A380. It currently has 101 of the aircraft in its fleet and 41 more firm orders that had previously been placed. In November, it took delivery of its 100th A380. The carrier was expected to place a new order for A380s at the Dubai Air Show in September, however, it opted to place an order for 40 Boeing 787 Dreamliners instead.

The bar on board Emirates' A380.

“We’ve made no secret of the fact that the A380 has been a success for Emirates,” said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates’ chairman and chief executive. “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. 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. The beauty of this aircraft is that the technology and real estate on board gives us plenty of room to do something different with the interiors.”

This order won’t necessarily save the A380 for good. But, Airbus said that Emirates’ order underscores its commitment to produce the aircraft for at least another 10 years.

“I’m personally convinced more orders will follow Emirates’ example and that this great aircraft will be built well into the 2030s,” said John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer customers for commercial aircraft.

Thursday’s order from Emirates represents a lifeline for the A380. But, after this order has been fulfilled, it still remains unclear what the future holds for the superjumbo. Check out TPG reviews from first class and business class on Emirates’ A380.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.