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Airbus A380 future in the air

February 1, 2019

Emirates is considering switching some — or even all — of its order for the four-engine superjumbo jet. Without the Emirates deal, the iconic Airbus A380 has no future, according to analysts.

Airbus A380
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Matthews

European aircraft maker Airbus on Thursday said it is "in discussions" with Dubai-based airline Emirates about a make-or-break deal for the future of the superjumbo Airbus A380.

Secured last year, the Emirates deal was hailed as a lifeline for the iconic double-decker aircraft and the program's roughly 3,000 workers.

Read more: Opinion: Europe and an Airbus on rails

How the deal fell through:

  • Emirates ordered 20 A380s with an option to buy 16 more.
  • But the Dubai airline is considering switching some or all for the smaller A350.
  • Deliveries under the current contract are due to start next year.
  • Airbus confirmed negotiations, but said they are confidential.

Read more: Airbus threatens UK flight over Brexit 'madness'

Emirates' Airbus A380
Emirates is looking to downsize some or even all of its orderImage: picture-alliance /M. Mainka

Emirates reconsider

This would not be the first time Emirates has tried to change an order for Airbus aircraft. In 2014, Emirates canceled an order for 70 A350s, which was valued at $16 billion (€14 billion). 

Airbus is "seriously" looking at setting a timetable to shutdown the A380, according to sources close to the matter.

Read more: Airbus to axe thousands of jobs in Europe

Competition in the air

With airlines switching to smaller and more fuel efficient jets, sales in four-engine aircraft have taken a severe downturn. US aerospace company Boeing is already looking to fill the gap with its models.

In 2017, Boeing managed to block an Airbus bid by putting forward a deal for 40 twin-engine 787 Dreamliners. The company is likely to renew efforts to close it this year, according to analysts.

Read more: Boeing takes over Embraer's commercial business

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ls/aw (AFP, Reuters)