Dubai based Emirates Airline has increased its industry leading Airbus 380 superjumbo firm order tally to a whopping 90, by ordering a further 32 A380s from Airbus. A380 firm orders now stand at 234 from 17 customers. The order has a list price of US$ 11.5 billion but significant discounts are quite common.
Even prior to this additional order, Emirates with 58 planes on firm order (no options), was already way ahead of the next largest A380 customers — Singapore Airlines (19 firm, 6 options), Lufthansa (15 firm, 10 options) and Qantas (20 firm, 4 options).
The agreement was signed in a ceremony today at the Berlin Air Show by Emirates Airline Group Chairman and CEO His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, and Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders. Witnessing the ceremony was German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The interiors of the A380 is done at Hamburg’s Finkenwerder Airport.
Emirates received its latest and tenth A380 registration A6-EDJ just yesterday. All Emirates A380’s are powered by Engine Alliance GP7200 engines.
The signs of expansion by the gulf carrier comes in the fact that Emirates plans to hire more than 700 pilots over the next 18 months to support new routes and aircraft.
Despite being at receiving end of some sharp criticism and complaints from Emirates last year, Airbus CEO Tom Enders was all praise for his biggest customer
“Emirates has supported the development of the A380 from the earliest days, and today’s order – the single largest A380 order ever – is the best endorsement I can imagine. On behalf of all of us at Airbus, we thank Emirates for their confidence and support. The A380 is indeed a remarkable eco-efficient aircraft, a profit generator for airlines and a great flying experience for passengers”
One has to ponder where Emirates will deploy all their new A380s. Following delivery of their first A380 in July 2008, Emirates operates its ten aircraft to eight destinations — London Heathrow, Toronto, Paris, Jeddah, Bangkok, Seoul, Sydney and Auckland. While the airline expects the list of destinations to increase as more airports around the world become A380 ready, the pace of A380 readiness is not as fast as planned, and certain large traffic airports like Mumbai’s CSI airport, which have the traffic generating potential, cannot be upgraded to Code F standards.
In India only Delhi’s IGI and Hyderabad’s RGI airports, both operated by the GMR group are A380 ready.
Lufthansa was expected to be the first operator to launch an A380 to India with services to Delhi. At present the German carrier will not fly to its two largest markets — USA and India, but sources inform Bangalore Aviation, the Lufthansa India team is putting herculean efforts to commence an A380 service, and we at Bangalore Aviation pray for their success.
Despite its initial hiccups the A380 in-service fleet has accumulated over 15,000 commercial flights, and its operators have praised its popularity with passengers. Both Singapore Airlines and Qantas, early adopters of the A380, report higher than average load factors of 83% at a time when the industry was averaging about 70%.