At a special ceremony at the Airbus delivery centre in Hamburg, Germany, the ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum and Sir Tim Clark, the President of Emirates welcomed the delivery of the airline’s 100th A380. The milestone event marks 10 years since Emirates first started flying the flagship aircraft.
During the event, Sheikh Ahmed said Emirates remained committed to the A380 project – his comments follow speculation that Airbus might be about to halt production of the superjumbo due to low interest from other airlines. Emirates has a further 42 A380’s on order and Sheikh Ahmed said the airline would “work closely with Airbus and our partners to continually enhance our A380 product.”
Already the largest A380 by far, Sir Tim Clark has previously said Emirates would be interested in ordering even more if Airbus were to develop a ‘NEO’ version of the aircraft. Whilst Airbus has been prepared to commit to such an expensive project, the aircraft manufacturer has redesigned aspects of the plane to make it more fuel efficient.
Sheikh Ahmed hinted at the handover ceremony that Emirates wanted to be in a position to announce a new order for the Airbus A380 at the Dubai Air Show which is held later this month. The chief executive of Airbus said other airlines “lacked the strength and vision” of Emirates in its commitment to the worlds largest passenger plane.
Powered by four Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines, the 100th Emirates A380 will feature the iconic onboard lounge, along with 14 of its award-winning First Class suites, 76 Business Class seats spread across the upper deck and 426 seats in the Economy cabin which takes up the entire main deck.
The 100th A380 will be easily recognisable from its special livery, featuring a mural of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late founder of Dubai. The aircraft will be on display at this years Dubai Air Show which gets under way, later this month.
“This is a tremendous moment for Emirates, for Airbus and for our many partners involved in the A380 programme,” commented Sheikh Ahmed.
He claimed the involvement of Emirates in the project had secured the jobs of thousands of people around the world and had contributed significantly to the economies of countries where the aircraft flies.
“There is no doubt that the A380 has had a big positive impact on aerospace manufacturing and the broader aviation industry, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs and stimulating innovation and new product development,” he explained.
— Emirates airline (@emirates) November 3, 2017
Originally the A380 was designed to meet the needs of the fast-growing airline to break into ‘slot constrained’ airports like London Heathrow and New York JFK. But Sheikh Ahmed said the aircraft “stimulates’ passenger growth at ‘secondary’ airports like Manchester and even Mauritius.
Emirates took delivery of its first A380 in 2008 – it was the first commercial aircraft to have an onboard shower and reintroduced the concept of a having a bar and lounge on a plane. Since its introduction, over 85 million passengers have flown on an Emirates A380.