Home' Asian Aviation : AAV July August 2010 Contents 18 AsianAviation | JULY--AUGUST 2010
offers a bigger
than the Middle
East, with June's order for 32 more
of the double-deck jetliner viewed
as perhaps the nal huge investment
from the Arab region.
The A380 was designed with
both regions very much in mind.
Still, Airbus Chief Executive
O cer Tom Enders says: "I think
we have exploited that [Arab]
market already. Emirates supported
the A380 from the earliest days and
[this] increased order is the best
The Dubai-based operator in
early June ordered 32 Engine Alliance GP7200-
powered A380s, nominally valued at US$11.5 billion,
taking its total rm orders for the aircra to 90. e
carrier was an A380 launch customer, with an initial
commitment for seven machines and options on a
In February 2011, Emirates will start retiring almost
70 older widebody jetliners: Airbus A330-200s; A340-
300s and -500s; and Boeing 777-200s, which are to be
replaced by 777-300ERs and the forthcoming A350
Chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed Bin
Saeed Al-Maktoum says the purchase con rms the
airline's strateg y to be a leading carrier and to establish
Dubai as a central gateway to global travel. "Our latest
commitment signals con dence in the growth to come,
in a thriving aviation sector," he says.
e carrier expects to become one of the world's
largest airlines with this expansion. Prior to the latest
acquisition, Emirates already had 143 twin-aisle
aircra on order -- 48 Airbus A380s and 70 A350s,
as well as 18 Boeing 777-300ERs and seven Boeing
freighters -- collectively worth more than US$48
billion at catalogue prices.
Emirates uses its current eet of ten A380s to
ser ve eight international destinations: Auckland,
Bangkok, Jeddah, London, Paris, Seoul, Sydney, and
Toronto. e aircra will y to Beijing from August
and Manchester from September, resuming ser vices to
New York in October.
Emirates Chief Executive Tim Clark says the
additional A380 order "has been in the making for a
long time" and is simply an extension of the carrier's
successful growth strateg y. e 32 aircra will be
delivered between April 2015 and November 2017.
"We have the delivery slots we want, at the time that we
want, to allow us to grow at the pace we want," he says.
Clark says that once the economic recovery is solidly
underway, "if we haven't placed orders and bagged the
[delivery] positions that we want, then we'll be behind
the cur ve when everybody else is doing it". As Emirates
expands its routes and A380 eet, the aircra will be
despatched to additional long-haul points in Asia,
Australasia, Europe, and North America to replace
existing aircra types and increase frequencies.
How can the airline justify the huge eet? Clark
explains that a daily US A380 ser vice from Dubai
requires 2.5 aircra to be assigned to it, with ve
needed for double-daily operations. "You [need] only
six double-daily points on 14.5h missions and those 32
aircra are gone," he says.
e logic of the Gulf airline's order, 2010's rst for
the A380 coming just a month a er Airbus Chief
Operating O cer (Customers) John Leahy doubled
his target for the year to 20, is not seen equally clearly
by industry pundits. "It might just
be win-win [for Emirates]," says
Teal Group analysis vice-president
Richard Aboula a. " ey'll almost
certainly get walk-away rights,
so the worst-case scenario is a
He claims the move provides "a
lot of heavily discounted capacity
with which to take advantage of
[increased market] access. But even
then it's impossible to imagine an
expansion plan that absorbed 90
A380s before 2026, especially given
all their other order positions."
But Aboula a points out that as
Emirates is not growing with tra c
that is organic to Dubai, its huge
deal could hurt other potential
"Much Emirates tra c has been siphoned from
Europe's legacy carriers," the analyst says. at region
"appears willing to let Emirates poach this tra c to
save the A380. Letting [Dubai's international airline]
grow at European carriers' expense might be the only
way to generate demand for this airplane."
Enders recognises the huge stake Emirates has:
" ere is always a risk [for Airbus] in this sort of
exposure, but if you see how Emirates operates, it
has one of the best managements in the world. eir
strateg y is not built on sand. ey see chances where
others see risks. Industrially, it is much better than
selling four A380s here and six there, with each one
di erently customised."
Of course, the latest Emirates move might stimulate
regional rivals to consider their own plans, according to
Enders. "Some blue-chip airlines will have to think 'Are
we getting it right and is Tim [Clark] getting it very
wrong. What will the world look like when Emirates
has 90 A380s?'," the Airbus chief says.
A380 product-marketing director Richard
Carcaillet expects more customers to increase orders:
"I have no doubt we'll see a number with eets of [such
a] size in the medium to long term." He claims Airbus
is engaged in A380 sales campaigns with at least three
potential new customers for the type, but does not
suggest any will mature this year. ●
Ian Goold / London
Emirates A380 order: a last
hurrah from the Middle East?
Dubai's Emirates plans to use the additional aircraft
to open new routes and replace ageing equipment.
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