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With no Emirates order, A380 production may end

 

Emirates Airlines and Airbus have still not come to an agreement on a new order for 36 of Airbus's giant A380 planes, and Airbus may finally be ready to wind down production of the plane. Forbes, Reuters and other financial news sources say they have been told by insiders that plans are being made.

In ten years of building the plane, which was designed as a competitor for the Boeing 747, only 217 have been delivered, more than half to three Gulf Airlines, and well fewer than 100 live orders remain; no new orders have been booked in over two years.

Emirates is understood to be willing to order only if Airbus can guarantee another ten years of the program, which would provide replacements, parts and expertise. Airbus is only willing to make that commitment if it gets a really big order from Emirates; otherwise, it can't economically support the line past current orders, many of which are fragile.

While it is still possible a deal could happen, it seems less and less likely. Emirates has another 42 of the planes on order, and it is the only sizable customer at this point. Airlines in general have been switching to more economical planes such as the 777, 787 and A350, and some A380 customers have begun returning planes to leasing companies as the leases expire.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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UPDATE: Emirates saves the day for Airbus, January 18

Emirates Airlines has saved the day for Airbus, with an order for 20 more A380s, and an option for 16 more, extending the production life of the huge plane. Airbus says that it will now be able to keep the line going for 10 years, and hopes that in that time the plane will generate more orders.

List price for the plane approaches $500,000,000, but since large orders usually get sizable discounts and since Airbus really, really needed this order, the discounts are likely both quite generous and unlikely to be disclosed.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

Last edited by PHeymont
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