The Dubai-based Emirates Airline signed Thursday (January 18, 2018) a Memorandum of Understanding to acquire up to 36 additional A380 aircraft. The agreement was signed in Dubai by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, and John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer – Customers, Airbus Commercial Aircraft. The commitment is for 20 A380s and an option for 16 more with deliveries to start in 2020, valued at USD 16 billion at the latest list prices. News of the order has been met with relief. “The looming end of the Airbus flagship A380 has been averted for the moment,” Der Spiegel remarked while dpa headlined: “Emirates saves Airbus’ huge aircraft A380”. Earlier, the production was believed to have been on the verge of closure.
The order means production will be utilized to capacity for another six years. Apart from production of the A380 fuselage segment, Hamburg is responsible for the paintwork and the aircraft interior. A large part of deliveries are handled in Finkenwerder. Overall, Emirates has ordered 178 Airbus A380 worth a total of USD 60 billion. Emirates presently have 101 jets in the A380 fleet – making it the largest operator of such aircraft.
Growth at subcontractors
Frank Horch, Hamburg’s Senator for Economics, Transport and Innovation, said: “I’m really delighted that Emirates remains committed to the largest passenger aircraft in the Airbus fleet and has acknowledged the potential in terms of sustainability. Since the decision for the location of the A380, the number of employees at Airbus in Hamburg has increased from 7,800 to around 12,500 at present. The development of employment at Airbus also shows that both production and final assembly of the A380 have had a positive effect on the site’s development. The extension as single aisle centre of competence was crucial to the fact that Hamburg now counts among the world’s three largest civil aviation centres.”
The assembly line has made Hamburg a direct part of the growing aviation market. Both Hamburg and Germany can secure a technological competence advantage in key forward-looking industries for generations. Aircraft component suppliers have witnessed growth and created more highly-skilled jobs for engineers, mechanics and technicians,” Horch added.
Decision benefits aviation centre
The dynamic aviation sector is having follow-on, positive effects in the region, for instance, more investments in factories and production sites, the Technology Centre Finkenwerder, an endowed chair at the Technical University Hamburg-Harburg and research projects with aircraft component suppliers, colleges and universities, fairs, congresses and especially the ZAL TechCenter. Hamburg Aviation is a key part of the location’s success. All the main players in the sector are active in it,” Horch added.
Sheikh Ahmed said: “We’ve made no secret of the fact that the A380 has been a success for Emirates. Our customers love it, and we’ve been able to deploy it on different missions across our network, giving us flexibility in terms of range and passenger mix.”