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A few weeks ago I wondered if the A380 might be doomed. Sales of the super-jumbo have slumped, and there is little to keep . As the one major buyer of the aircraft, the fate of the entire program was in Emirates’ hands. And things were looking iffy, as both Airbus and Emirates wanted guarantees from the other. Emirates wanted guaranteed production. Airbus wanted a sizeable order.
Emirates orders 36 planes
Well, it looks like both got what they wanted, at least in part. Emirates has a solid order on the books for 20 of the super-jumbo jets. They additional 16 are a future option. This adds a bit more to the 41 orders on the books, but it probably isn’t quite what Airbus wanted.
The French aircraft company is struggling to sell their massive plane. Production has slowed significantly. A mere dozen will be completed this year, and production may slow even more after that.
This order may be enough for Airbus to keep the A380 rolling out of the factory for the moment, but the future of the aircraft is still in question. The market has shifted away from Emirates goal for the plane. It was designed to fly hub-to-hub where airport slots are at a premium. Instead we see the opposite trend, as airlines operate more direct routes with more fuel efficient two-engine aircraft. We also have low cost carriers flying heavily traveled routes, utilizing alternate area airports, such as what Norwegian does with Oakland, Stewart, and Providence.
All in all, I expect this to be a temporary revitalization. The curtain will close on the A380 some day.