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Mon 7 May 2007 02:56 PM

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Emirates orders more 'superjumbos'

The Dubai airline will take first delivery of the Airbus A380 next year.

Emirates airline has reaffirmed its order for 43 Airbus A380s and has signed a contract for a further four planes.

Dubai's government-owned airline, which already has the largest number of the 'superjumbos' on order, will now receive 47 of the $300 million planes.

The first aircraft will be delivered in the third quarter of 2008, according to a statement issued by Airbus parent company EADS.

Last month Emirates hinted that it could use the superjumbo for a new low-cost arm of the business.

"We are thinking a bit about [a low-cost carrier]," Maurice Flanagan told the Reuters news agency. "It's something for the next few years. The [Airbus] A380 could be a very good aircraft for that."

Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Emirates Group, said in a statement issued today by EADS that the "Airbus A380 will be instrumental in helping Emirates meet its growing passenger demand".

"We have repeatedly said we are committed to the A380 and, having now fully settled all past issues, this latest agreement should leave no one in any doubt about our faith in Airbus, the company and the quality of the aircraft we are committing to," said Sheikh Ahmed.

The repeat order is "huge vote of confidence for Airbus", according to Airbus President and CEO Louis Gallois.

Airbus is still battling to recover from major delays to its A380 superjumbo project, in which many airlines - including Emirates - have sought compensation.

The aircraft maker - which recently announced 10,000 job cuts - faced a blow earlier this month when it was announced that United Parcel Service had cancelled its order for the freight version of the A380. UPS was the last remaining customer of the model after its rival FedEx pulled out.

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