In what could be an extraordinary boost for Europe’s Airbus multinational corporation, UAE’s Emirates Airline is said to be on the brink of throwing down a whopping $16 billion for some 36 new A380 wide-body double-decker passenger aircraft.
Hot on the heels of Airbus 2017 sales-figure data showing Europe’s primary aircraft manufacturer hovering at a paltry 35 percent of rival Boeing for the year, a potential Emirates order would be a shot in the arm to the French aerospace corporation, as well as a boost to the airframe design itself, considered by industry watchers to have been overshadowed by the Boeing 777.
Dubai’s Emirates has almost single-handedly kept the model afloat, with 100 of the superjumbo jets currently in service, and another 142 on order — not including the possible upcoming addition — making the UAE-controlled airline the world’s largest owner of the aircraft, according to Reuters.
The upcoming order is projected to be announced at the November 12-16 Dubai Airshow. The annual event sees Gulf air carriers — without Qatar Airways this year following an ongoing diplomatic squabble with several other Arab countries — offer products and services to a global market currently cautious about the stability of commerce and air travel in the Middle East.
The A380, the largest passenger aircraft currently in service, can seat up to 544 people in several levels of comfort. The jet was first offered in 2007 to great fanfare but has since seen diminishing sales following the surprising popularity of the much smaller — and more fuel-efficient — Boeing 777.