50 A380s? We could have bought 10 more, says Emirates

Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:45pm EST
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By Tim Hepher and Praveen Menon

DUBAI (Reuters) - Emirates' whopping order for 50 of the world's biggest jets should end doubts about the A380 that have tested the nerve of manufacturer Airbus, the airline's chief said -- adding it was so sure of filling the planes it might have bought 10 more.

The record $23 billion A380 order at the Dubai Airshow turned round the fortunes of a recently slow-selling jet that is synonymous not only with Europe's industrial ambitions, but also the rapid growth of its largest customer.

"For us the A380 is the future. And we don't like anyone talking about it not being around," Emirates airline president Tim Clark told Reuters an interview.

"I want to make this absolutely clear, to Airbus and the EADS board, that we are here for the long-term. We will take more if we can, we have demonstrated that."

Emirates already dominated the A380 backlog with a total of 90 ordered out of 259 since it was launched in 2000. After the new deal it has 140, or almost half the planes on order.

Yet some other airlines have cancelled or deferred as they worry whether they can fill the giant jet in tough economic times. Industry analysts say doubts have grown over whether as many as 30 further aircraft will be delivered as planned.

"I've been very vocal with the Airbus management, saying don't bottle out of this ... it's a really good aircraft," Clark said.

Sunday's deal galvanized an already dramatic start to the Dubai Airshow, coming on top of $100 billion in orders for a new Boeing (BA.N: Quote) jet including 150 for Emirates.   Continued...

An Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger jet, flies during the Dubai Airshow November 18, 2013. REUTERS/Caren Firouz