Tue, May 08, 2007
Airbus Calls Deal "A Huge Vote Of Confidence"
It's not for as many planes as Airbus probably hoped, but the
European planemaker isn't complaining. On Monday, Dubai-based
Emirates confirmed it would buy four more A380 superjumbo
airliners, building on its original 43-plane order. The orders came
after Airbus reassured its largest A380 customer it would
compensate the carrier for a two-year delay in receiving its first
As Aero-News reported,
Emirates first hinted two weeks ago the carrier would probably hold
onto its original orders for the beleagured superjumbo. At that
time, Emirates chairman Sheik Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum also said
his airline would possibly buy as many as 15 additional A380s...
which would have been a significant show of confidence in the
Sheik Ahmed was quick to point out that a four-plane order isn't
bad, either. In his announcement Monday, the chairman said the
orders "should leave no one in any doubt about our faith in Airbus,
the company and the quality of the aircraft."
Airbus CEO Louis Gallois called Emirates' repeat order "a huge
vote of confidence" for the troubled planemaker.
Emirates has struggled to increase capacity, in the wake of
delays to the A380. The carrier is counting on the A380 to meet
Dubai's goal of 15 million visitors per year by 2015.
In the near term, Emirates has looked to Airbus rival Boeing to
fill the void left by the absence of A380s -- ordering 10 Boeing
747 freighters and leasing five 777-300ERs in 2006, partly to make
up for the A380 delays, and resulting lost capacity. The carrier
followed those orders with a deal for 12 more long-range 777s.
While showing its measured support for the A380, Emirates also
appears to be hedging its bets. Hours after Sheik Ahmed announced
the A380 order, Emirates President Tim Clark told Dow Jones
Newswires the carrier was also looking at Boeing's forthcoming 787,
as part of a rumored 100-plane order that is also likely to include
orders for Airbus' A350 XWB.
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