February, 12 2014

Airbus has scored its first major order for the A380 this year, after Amedeo firmed up a memorandum of understanding signed at last year’s Paris Air Show.

Amedeo plans to take delivery of the aircraft from 2016 to 2020 at a pace of around five to six units per year. The company’s CEO, Mark Lapidus, says no engine choice has been made yet, but will be announced in due course.

Lapidus is cautious about whether or not Airbus should reengine the A380 as Emirates has proposed. “It is difficult to see there is a compelling argument for reengining,” he says. Lapidus believes the A380 will still have the lowest unit costs even after entry into service of the A350-1000 and the Boeing 777-8/9. On the other hand he concedes that “in some distant future it is a possibility.”

Emirates Airline President Tim Clark said at the Dubai Airshow last November that it would “not make sense” to have all the new engine technology available for aircraft such as the A350 and the 777-8/9, but not for the A380. Emirates says there is not a significant unit cost difference between its Boeing 777-300ERs and the A380.

Lapidus says Amedeo has no customers yet for the aircraft. “These are speculative orders.” He sees potential with new customers and existing A380 operators. The Amedeo CEO pushes for better utilization of the A380 cabin as a means to improve efficiency. In particular, he is in favor of the proposed 11-abreast layout in economy class. That would take typical A380 seating to 573 seats, compared to the current 550.

The Amedeo order takes total commitments for the A380 to 324. It follows an order for 50 A380s placed by Emirates at the Dubai Airshow.

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