Emirates Orders Big From Airbus

The jumbojet manufacturer Airbus sold 50 A380s to the gulf carrier Emirates, making it the largest single deal for the commercial jetliner. The deal is intended for replacement and growth for the carrier, valued at $20 billion. The deal was signed at the Dubai Air Show.

This is Airbus’s first deal of 2013, and also the biggest transaction in their recorded history. Ending their dry spell with a slam-dunk, Emirates is Airbus’s biggest customer, having 90 jets and taking delivery of 38 by the end of October. The prior record purchase for Airbus was also by Emirates, taking 32 jets at the Berlin Air Show in 2010. The gulf carrier now has over 50 percent of all A380s sold.

Chief Financial Officer Harald Wilhelm of Airbus said on November 14 that the company will still have to consider reducing A380 output, with unsold production slots as early as 2015. Airbus was about to make its third year in a row of failing to meet order targets, as Lufthansa canceled an order for 3 jets in September. Airbus had a backlog of 144 planes last month.

Another A380 setback comes from Air France, who plans to drop 2 superjumbos for smaller planes. Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. is unsure of their order for 6 A380s, and Skymark Airlines Inc. (Japan) seeks finances for their jumbojet wishes.

The jetmaker Boeing Co. has reduced output twice this year, as its also struggled to meet sales targets for the rival 747-8. Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Ray Connor foresees a rebound in the market in the next year and expects build rates to rise from 1.5 units a month now.