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Tue 8 Jun 2010 01:31 AM

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Emirates to boost A380 fleet as demand returns

Order underscores the industry's recovery after a slump due to the economic recession.

Emirates to boost A380 fleet as demand returns
MORE ORDERS: Emirates Airline is poised to order more of the Airbus A380 as it looks to expand Dubai as a global travel hub. (Getty Images)

Emirates Airline, the biggest customer for the Airbus SAS A380 superjumbo, is poised to order more of the world’s largest passenger jet to expand Dubai as a global travel hub, two people with knowledge of the accord said.

The carrier will commit to more than 30 additional A380s, and the company will probably announce the agreement at the ILA Air Show in Berlin tomorrow, said one of the people, who declined to be identified because the two sides are still working on terms of the deal.

An order would mark a breakthrough for Airbus on the A380 after winning only one new customer for the 525 seat jet since commercial operations began in 2007.

The A380, which Emirates will partly use to shuttle migrant workers between the Middle East and countries including Pakistan and India, will take years to become profitable after Airbus struggled with construction delays and slower than planned assembly of the jet.

Emirates previously ordered 58 of the plane, with 10 delivered by Airbus to date. The carrier was among the first to take delivery of the jet, which is also operated by Air France KLM Group, Singapore Airlines Ltd, Qantas Airways Ltd and Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

Germany’s national soccer team took Lufthansa’s first A380 on its maiden commercial voyage to South Africa yesterday evening for the soccer World Cup.

Emirates uses the A380 on routes to Bangkok, London, Paris and Sydney, and it flies the A380 in different configurations, depending on the length of the flight.

The carrier will resume flights to New York from Dubai later this year after suspending the route earlier.

Emirates would also be interested in flying to destinations including Berlin and Stuttgart in Germany, though the German government has yet to give clearance for such a plan, Emirates President Tim Clark said in an interview in Berlin today. He declined to comment on A380 orders ahead of the ILA show.

Airbus markets the A380 as more efficient than smaller planes and the older Boeing 747 jumbo, because the jet uses less fuel per passenger and can help cut through congested airports.

Airlines tout the A380’s perks that include in flight bars, hundreds of movie channels and enclosed cabins on some first class configurations.

The location of Dubai, from where Emirates operates, on the world map lets the airline access almost every global hub in non stop flights. The order for additional A380s underscores an industry recovery from a slump following the economic recession.

The airline industry will post a $2.5 billion profit in 2010, reversing two years of losses, the International Air Transport Association said today, scrapping an estimate for a $2.8 billion deficit as the economy rebounds.

Airline executives meet this week in Berlin for IATA’s annual general meeting, followed by the ILA show, where manufacturers including Airbus will showcase some of their models. Emirates plans to have an A380 at the show, after taking delivery of the jet from Airbus’s Hamburg site last week.

Airbus is a unit of European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co Airbus is based in Toulouse, France.

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Andrew 10 years ago

As i mentioned in a previous post a few weeks ago, lots and lots of positive PR spin coming from Emirates all of a sudden! I suspect the PR people are positioning the company for an upcoming IPO. In terms of new plane orders, I for one would be interested to see if any upcoming announcements are actually firm orders or just letters of intent, as is the case with the A350 orders the airline has placed. The best place to check is the press releases on the Airbus website. Sit tight for more more positive PR spin on AB regarding Emirates over the coming weeks.