The news has hardly been hidden and certainly not denied: with the start of the Dubai air show on Sunday Emirates is expected to order 30 of the ‘improved’ Airbus A380, enough to keep production going for another 4 years past current orders and well into 2024.
With the first Singapore airlines aircraft already returned to its lessor and stored, engineless in France, the first Emirates versions will be coming off lease in 2018/19. From then on it’s almost a small avalanche of A380’s, as Emirates stabilises its fleet at around 105 aircraft and new aircraft replace those coming off lease, a net increase in operational A380’s after that is over.
It’s likely this will be the last time Emirates order the aircraft – the Boeing 777-10 is likely to take up the large aircraft role after that.
Meanwhile the 300 aircraft order signed by China with Boeing turns out, unsurprisingly, to be mostly existing orders, some of them two years old. Very little was new.