Emirates again pushes Airbus on A380 upgrade

Emirates again pushes Airbus on A380 upgrade If Airbus chooses to upgrade its A380 superjumbo with new engines, Emirates Airline will be ready to buy them and in an increasing number. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Emirates CEO Tim Clark said this week that the carrier could buy as many as 200 of the upgraded aircraft. At list prices for even the current model A380, that would be worth around $86 billion.

It's also even more of a push from Clark to the European manufacturer to pull the trigger on the upgrade. Emirates is the largest user of A380s in the world, and Clark has previously said the airline would buy 100 of them. Now, it seems the ceiling has lifted on that target with Clark saying this week that the airline could require 100 to 200 of the new aircraft and be able to put the first one in service around 2021.

Airbus has yet to make any official decision on an A380neo, though as the Puget Sound Business Journal reports such a plane could end the already waning 747 program at rival Boeing, as the upgraded engines would make the plane as much as 22 percent more efficient per seat mile — the cost to fly each person — than the 747 by analyst estimates. A green light on the A380neo could also mean work for Wichita where Airbus Americas Engineering was integral to a similar upgrade on the A320 model. Also, Wichita-based Spirit AeroSystems Inc. builds a portion of the A380 wing at its plant in Prestwick, Scotland.

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