Emirates A380 order

News today that Emirates Airline has ordered an additional 32 Airbus A380’s, taking their total commitments for the type to 90. Clearly, they must be impressed with this plane, but you also have to wonder just how much of an incentive Emirates has been given by Airbus to place such a large order, especially with the rival Boeing 747-8 vying for attention. . .

Still who knows, with the euro at four-year lows against the US dollar, the effective cost to Emirates from a currency exchange point of view would have been very attractive. It’s not that long ago that Airbus was suffering from a relatively high euro against the dollar, so the current situation would actually be very good for Airbus.

Good to for the thousands of jobs throughout Europe that are connected with Airbus, and this aircraft in particular. With the current state of the economy, European trade and industry needs a boost, so this order will be particularly celebrated in Berlin, Paris and London. I wonder if there are any Greek companies involved in the A380 project . . .

Emirates say they want to continue the growth of their airline and it’s plans to be a major international player, as well as making Dubai a major international air transport hub. With the new Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai projected to have a capacity of around 140 million passengers per year, Emirates has got plenty of space and capacity to shoot at. This new airport, which is in addition to the current Dubai International Airport and not a replacement for it, will ultimately have six 4,500 metre runways and all of its airbridges are planned to be A380 compatible. In that context, Emirates’ fleet of 90 A380’s doesn’t seem out-of-place.

The major European carriers, such as British Airways, Air France-KLM and Lufthansa, must be quaking in their boots. They’ve, to various degrees, been suffering as a result of the GFC, not to mention the Icelandic volcano and various strikes, and to see Emirates adding such huge capacity to an already cut-throat market must have them wondering how on earth they are going to compete. Their own home hubs are capacity constrained, they are short of cash, and are operating in an economic climate that shows very little sign of significant growth.

Emirates, on the other hand, is based in a region that directly connects with the European and Asian markets. It directly connects with the power house Asian economies and is able to insulate itself, to a degree, by not being over dependant on Europe or North America. The UAE economies are in relatively good shape, and key markets in India and China are expanding at a significant pace, bringing people through Dubai. So long as Europe doesn’t go into recession again, you’d have to say that the future for Emirates is looking good.

All the best Emirates!

Talking of the A380, I’ve added some photos today of Qantas’ first A380, VH-OQA, that visited Perh in October 2008. Check them out!

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