The struggling Airbus A380 superjumbo program was just handed a lifeline by its largest operator, Dubai-based Emirates Airline.
The Gulf behemoth has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to acquire up to 36 additional A380 aircraft. The firm commitment is for 20 A380s with options for an 16. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2020. From the first A380 delivery in July 2008, Emirates has 101 superjumbos in service and 41 on order before this agreement.
This is a hard fought win for the European airframer and its retiring sales head John Leahy. At the start of this week, Airbus said it would have to close A380 production if the Emirates order did not come through. It is reported this agreement rescues the production line till 2029 since Emirates will take delivery of six aircraft a year for a decade.