July 29, 2008
Emirates Collects Jet and Orders 60
By DAVID JONES
THE biggest customer in the world for the world's biggest airline picked up its first Airbus A380 superjumbo - and said it wanted another 60 wide-bodied aircraft worth around pounds 6.5bn at list prices from the jet manufacturer.
Dubai-based Emirates said itwas signing a letter of intent for 30 of Airbus' latest jet, the A350XWB, together with 30 A330-300s.
The airline last year agreed a firm order for 70 A350 XWBs with an option for 50 more and the new deal includes the firming up of 30 of those A350 options, eventually increasing Emirates' total order for the A350 to 100.
It already has 58 of the A380 superjumbos on order - more thana quarter of the 202 that are wanted by 17 airlines around the world.
Wings for all Airbus airliners are made at the company's wing factory at Broughton, Flintshire, and the Emirates orders are good news for job security at the plant.
The letter of intent was signed by Emirates chief executive Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoumand Airbus chief executive Tom Enders as the airline's first A380 was handed over in Hamburg, Germany, yesterday.
The airline is keenontheA380 because of its low fuel burn - increasingly important as fuel prices have risen dramatically - and quietness.
But in Germany Mr Enders is reported as saying that Airbus has not yet given the allclear to production problems with internal wiring in the superjumbo that have delayed deliveries of the giant plane.
"Problems are over only when we have reached stable serialproduction. Wehave a lot of work ahead of us until then," he said.
Mr Enders said the company will produce around one A380 a month but it wanted to boost that rate over the next two years.
The Emirates' first A380 will fly to the United Arab Emirates today and the airline's first A380 commercial service between Dubai and New York is due to start on Friday.
Sheikh Ahmed said: "Dubai aims to attract 15 million visitors a year by 2012 and Emirates is forging ahead with expansion plans. The A350 XWB and A330 will enable Emirates to expand using modern, fuel efficient aircraft and, alongside the A380, will be key tools in achieving our goals."
The long range A350 will be able to carry between 270 and 350 passengers, while the A330-300 can carry around 300 passengers on medium range routes.
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