Airbus, Emirates Agree to A380 Delivery Delay

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In an emailed statement Tuesday European aerospace giant Airbus Group SE said that it had reached an agreement with Emirates airline to delay delivery of 12 of the company’s double-decked A380s. Originally six were to have been delivered in 2017 and another six in 2018.

The report follows an announcement earlier this month that Iran Air cancelled an order for 12 of the planes. Dubai-based Emirates has ordered a total of 142 of the superjumbo jets and Airbus has so far (through November 2016) delivered 87.

Emirates CEO Sir Tim Clark has said his airline would would order 200 more of the planes if Airbus would upgrade the A380’s engines to a more fuel-efficient version. Airbus has put of responding to the request for at least two years and counting.

The airline recently switched engines from the GE/Safran alliance to Rolls Royce for latest batch of A380s. Emirates and Rolls-Royce reached an agreement earlier this month on the engines’ performance and maintenance issues.

An A380 carries a list price of $432.6 million until at least next month when Airbus would normally post its 2017 price list. The superjumbo is the most expensive passenger aircraft in the world and can carry up to 600 passengers on its double-decked frame. If an airline can fill all the seats the A380 is not only the most expensive plane in the air, but also the most economical.

Airbus cannot drum up more buyers for the plane either. Depending on a single customer, no matter how large, is not in Airbus’s best interests. The cancellation from Iran Air and an earlier cancellation from Australia’s Qantas for 8 of the planes has not been offset by an order for 3 from All Nippon Airways (ANA). Qatar Airways has received 6 of the 10 A380s it has ordered.