Airbus is in discussion to sell new A380 superjumbo planes to British Airways this year after fastening a program-saving contract from Gulf operator Emirates, as per people who know the matter.
The UK carrier, which presently has 12 A380s in its fleet, had stated that in the past that it was seeking for six to seven second-hand A380s. Now it is considering taking a great number of new ones, mentioned the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.
Airbus’s outgoing head of sales, John Leahy, stated on Bloomberg Television Friday he was confident the European planemaker would secure one more A380 order this year. That customer is British Airways, the people mentioned. Airbus, based in France, Toulouse and BA parent IAG refused to comment.
British Airways is keen in the superjumbo because of the jet’s capability to increase the number of passengers every flight at its London Heathrow hub, which is running close to capacity target. The carrier’s main aim is on North Atlantic ways that are among the world’s busiest long-haul services, and it ranks as the No. 1 operator of Boeing’s 747 jumbo, the second-largest passenger plane after the A380.
BA is verifying a contract for new planes after negotiating that refurbishing used examples of the Airbus behemoth for its own requirements would be too expensive, one of the people stated. The carrier’s superjumbos are fitted out in a four-class configuration featuring 469 seats, as per its website.Order Drought.
Willie Walsh, IAG CEO has been evaluating the business case for second-hand A380s for as least two years, with planes becoming available as the oldest ones come off lease from Singapore Airlines after a decade of service. Walsh also ran the rule over six younger aircraft deemed surplus to requirements at Malaysia Airlines Bhd.
An a way for new double-deckers from IAG would assist vindicate Airbus’s efforts to save the A380, which Leahy mentioned on Monday might be dismissed after failing to attract a buyer for more than two years. That was before Dubai-based Emirates reported its contract for as many as 36 planes worth $16 billion.
While Airbus mentions that order will keep the A380 production line going for more than a decade, it is still seeking for slashing development rates to just six annually from 12 this year. Follow-on orders from carriers like British Airways are therefore still important in raising the annual tally to a level where the manufacturer can break even on every plane.
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