Emirates discussing future of A380 order with Airbus
Airbus has disclosed they’re currently talking with Emirates about the future of their A380 superjumbo contract, which will see the airline receive 53 more aircraft with options for an additional 16.
In a short statement published on their website, Airbus states the conversations remain strictly confidential.
Emirates is the largest A380 operator and is essentially the life or death trigger for the A380 program. With 109 in service and their remaining orders, the A380 has become the crown jewel for the airline, showcasing the luxury enabled by the aircraft.
Undisclosed members involved in the talks have stated the manufacturer and the airline are looking at converting the remaining orders to the smaller A350 XWB Family, which would potentially undo or modify their cancellation of 70 in 2014 that were ordered in 2007.
The 2018 order/commitment for 36 Airbus A380s placed by Emirates saw complications with engine manufacturers, where Rolls-Royce was unable to meet performance specifications. The order saved thousands of workers at Airbus, however has been entangled in many knots over engine talks.
Rolls-Royce is eager to prevent rival engine manufacturer General Electric from securing almost all positions within Emirates, since their order for 150 Boeing 777X aircraft are exclusively powered by GE9X engines and their 40 787-10s on order could be powered by GEnx engines.
A deal for A350s would see an exclusive engine, the Trent XWB, power the fleet plus options to set up a maintenance deal.
Various members in the aviation industry have not ruled out that Boeing could be competing for the order too, potentially offering more 787s and 777X aircraft to the table.
Tom Enders, Chief Executive of Airbus, plans to resolve the talks and come to an agreement by the time he leaves in April to be succeeded by Guillaume Faury. Whether Emirates cancels the A380 order, reduces it, switches to the A350 or removes Airbus from the equation completely, the announcement will be massive.
Any further information will be added to this post, however any large announcement will be posted as a separate article.
UPDATE: Jon Ostrower – Editor in Chief of The Air Current, which it and himself are well renowned in the aviation industry – is reporting the A330neo is on the table too.