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Tuesday 08 June 2010
Dubai-based Emirates Airline is to fly a total of 90 Airbus A380 "superjumbos" by the end of 2017 after a shock announcement that it is to buy a further 32, the largest single order in commercial aviation history.
The airline stunned its rivals with the $11.5 billion (€9.62 billion) purchase on the first day of the ILA Berlin Air Show, with one aviation leader stating that "one must assume that this is not an investment for the UAE, but it is an investment for the world."
The 90 aircraft it now intends to order dwarfs the 20 on order from Airbus' next largest customer, Qantas.
Emirates currently flies ten A380s to London Heathrow, Toronto, Paris, Jeddah, Bangkok, Seoul, Sydney and Auckland and expects to fly it to more than 100 airports around the globe as more aircraft become ready.
Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum described the aircraft as his airline's flagship in terms of customer comfort, innovation and operating and environmental efficiency.
The move is likely to further strengthen the position of Dubai as a key hub for long-haul travelers and Emirates as a global airline.
In terms of available seat kilometers, it is already the second-largest airline in the world.
It may also have a positive effect on ticket prices for passengers, as the higher seat counts on board the A380 make for lower running costs, which could translate into savings for consumers.
However, it seems that even the 525-seat A380 may not be large enough for Emirates' needs - the airline's President Tim Clark reportedly said his airline would be interested in buying a 1,000 passenger version of the superjumbo, something Airbus has said it may consider building in the future.
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