Emirates Airline has signed a firm purchase contract for 50 additional A380s.
The latest Emirates Airbus A380 deal was originally announced at the Dubai Airshow 2013 on November 17.
Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, finalized the contract documents for the 50-aircraft Airbus A380 order during a visit to Airbus’ headquarters in Toulouse.
Clark’s visit to Toulouse came as Emirates accepted two new A380s (the 43rd and 44th delivered to the airline) on the same day. The carrier took delivery of the two aircraft at Airbus’ A380 completion center at Finkenwerder Airfield in Hamburg, where all A380s are flown for interior installation and completion of exterior painting.
“The A380 is our flagship aircraft. It is popular with our customers and delivers results for us in terms of operational performance,” says Clark. “That is why we have ordered these additional 50 aircraft, to add to our A380 fleet.”
Emirates’ latest A380 order takes its total purchase of the superjumbo type to 140 aircraft. This makes Emirates the largest customer for the Airbus A380 by almost a factor of six, with the next-largest customer for the A380 (Singapore Airlines) having ordered 24.
Reports from the Dubai Airshow 2013 following announcement of the latest Emirates order indicated that Emirates plans to use the last 25 A380s to be delivered from its big new order to replace the 25 oldest A380s in its fleet.
The last 25 aircraft from the ordered will not be delivered until after 2018. By that time it is of course possible that Emirates could have placed another repeat order for A380s, to replace the next-oldest batch of A380s in its fleet and perhaps also for A380 fleet growth.
Emirates has said publicly that it actually would like to see Airbus develop a larger version of the A380 than the current A380-800, which (in comfortable three-class configuration) seats up to 560 passengers.
Today Emirates operates 44 Airbus A380s, including the two newly delivered aircraft.
Emirates’ two latest A380s each are fitted with 14 seats in First Class, 76 seats in Business Class and 427 seats in Economy Class, and will be put into service starting 21 December, initially operating on flights to Mauritius and Munich.
Since first entering service in 2007, 122 A380s have been delivered, to 10 major international carriers. The aircraft flies 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 kilometers) non-stop.
To date, customers have placed firm orders for 309 Airbus A380s, not including a memorandum of understanding for 20 A380s signed by Doric Lease Corp at the Paris Air Show 2013 in June. Emirates’ firm orders currently account for more than 45 per cent of all firm orders for the A380.
Emirates already operates the world’s largest fleet of A380s, flying one in three of the aircraft already delivered. Emirates was the first airline to order the aircraft back in 2000.
In 2013, Emirates received 13 A380s and it expects to receive another 13 in 2014. The airline still has 96 more A380s (valued at $43 billion at list price) on order, of which it expects 71 to be delivered before the end of 2018.
From its Dubai International Airport hub and dedicated A380 terminal, Emirates’ A380s now fly to 24 destinations worldwide, including Los Angeles and Auckland.
Emirates’ currently operates the world’s longest non-stop A380 service (13,414 kilometers). This is its daily A380 flight between Dubai and Los Angeles, launched earlier this month. Emirates’ shortest A380 flight is between Bangkok and Hong Kong, clocking 1,900 kilometers.
The Dubai carrier’s current A380 destinations are Amsterdam, Auckland, Bangkok, Beijing, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Kuala Lumpur, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Manchester, Mauritius, Melbourne, Moscow, Munich, New York JFK, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Singapore, Shanghai, Sydney, Toronto, and Brisbane.
Emirates will also start operating scheduled A380 services to Zurich in January 2014.