Airbus confirms A380 talks with Emirates
The future of the Airbus A380 could be under threat after Airbus confirmed that it is “in talks” about the latest order from the A380’s biggest customer, Emirates. Various media reports from Reuters and Bloomberg, among others, led to Airbus releasing a statement that it is in talks with the Gulf carrier. Emirates may be switching from A380 orders to the A350, according to the reports.
Emirates has invested billions of dollars in the A380 and was considered the saviour of the A380 with a recent order for an additional 36 planes that would keep the A380 production lines open, but has been at odds with engine maker Rolls-Royce. Reuters reported that Airbus is looking closely at closing A380 factories sooner than expected as part of a reshuffle of orders, with CEO Tom Enders unlikely to leave the situation unresolved when his mandate ends in April.
Airbus said in a statement after Reuters first published news of the talks that it “confirms it is in discussions with Emirates airline in relation to its A380 contract”. But it said details of negotiations were confidential. Emirates and Rolls-Royce declined to comment.
Emirates announced the lifeline order for up to 36 superjumbos worth as much as US$16 billion at list prices a year ago, throwing a lifeline to the program’s roughly 3,000 workers and securing its future for at least another decade. But a year-long impasse between Emirates and Rolls-Royce over shortfalls in fuel savings has so far blocked the order.
Airbus is trying to broker a complex workaround which could see Emirates take smaller jets also powered by Rolls-Royce while it tries to secure homes for as many A380s as possible, with British Airways recently expressing interest, according to media reports.