Future of super-jumbo in doubt as Emirates decision looms

The Airbus A380.
The Airbus A380. Photo credit: Supplied.

For more than10 years the Airbus A380 has been seen as the ultimate flying experience. 

Emirates has been using the A380 as a marketing tool and, up until recently, flew four of them into Auckland everyday.

But, in a statement made yesterday, Airbus chief salesperson John Leahy said the future of the double-decker A380 depends on Emirates' decision to choose Airbus over Boeing when it places its next order.

Until this statement, Airbus has never deviated from the company message that the A380 programme is successful and at no risk of being shut down.  This statement changes all of that.

Airbus was expecting a massive order to be placed for the A380 at the recent Dubai Airshow, but instead Emirates announced a NZ$25 billion-dollar deal for competitor Boeing's Dreamliner aircraft. The deal made for an awkward moment as it was made in front of Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Emirates now finds itself in a position most airlines would envy, being wooed by the two largest aircraft manufacturers in the world, guaranteeing a great deal for the airline and its bottom line.

Boeing will use fuel economy, route versatility and high level support from the US government as reasons for it to be chosen.

But, Airbus will be desperate hold on and secure another order from Emirates, which could mean massive discounts off the sale price.  

If Airbus fails, the A380 and perhaps super-sized aircraft in general will become a thing of the past.