Airbus just landed the $16 billion Emirates deal it needs to save the iconic A380 superjumbo

  • Emirates has ordered 20 Airbus A380s with an option for 16 additional jets of the same type.
  • The total value of the deal is $16 billion at list prices. 
  • Thursday's order will keep the A380 program afloat for the next decade. 

Emirates has agreed to a firm order for 20 Airbus A380 airliners along with an option for 16 additional superjumbos. 

At list prices, Thursday's deal is worth roughly $16 billion, although it is customary in the aviation industry for important customers such as Emirates to receive major discounts.

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TRABZON, TURKEY - JANUARY 14 : A Pegasus airplane is seen stuck in mud as it skidded off the runway after landing in Trabzon Airport, Turkey early Sunday on January 14, 2018. 162 passengers and crew on board were safely evacuated. (Photo by Hakan Burak Altunoz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TRABZON, TURKEY - JANUARY 14 : A Pegasus airplane is seen stuck in mud as it skidded off the runway after landing in Trabzon Airport, Turkey early Sunday on January 14, 2018. 162 passengers and crew on board were safely evacuated. (Photo by Hakan Burak Altunoz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737 passenger plane is seen struck in mud on an embankment, a day after skidding off the airstrip, after landing at Trabzon's airport on the Black Sea coast on January 14, 2018. A passenger plane late on January 13 skidded off the runway just metres away from the sea as it landed at Trabzon's airport in northern Turkey. The Pegasus Airlines flight, with 168 people on board, had taken off from Ankara on its way to the northern province of Trabzon. No casualties were reported. / AFP PHOTO / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY / STRINGER / Turkey OUT (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
TRABZON, TURKEY - JANUARY 14 : A Pegasus airplane is seen stuck in mud as it skidded off the runway after landing in Trabzon Airport, Turkey early Sunday on January 14, 2018. 162 passengers and crew on board were safely evacuated. (Photo by Hakan Burak Altunoz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TRABZON, TURKEY - JANUARY 14 : A Pegasus airplane is seen stuck in mud as it skidded off the runway after landing in Trabzon Airport, Turkey early Sunday on January 14, 2018. 162 passengers and crew on board were safely evacuated. (Photo by Hakan Burak Altunoz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TRABZON, TURKEY - JANUARY 14 : A Pegasus airplane is seen stuck in mud as it skidded off the runway after landing in Trabzon Airport, Turkey early Sunday on January 14, 2018. 162 passengers and crew on board were safely evacuated. (Photo by Hakan Burak Altunoz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TRABZON, TURKEY - JANUARY 14 : A Pegasus airplane is seen stuck in mud as it skidded off the runway after landing in Trabzon Airport, Turkey early Sunday on January 14, 2018. 162 passengers and crew on board were safely evacuated. (Photo by Hakan Burak Altunoz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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Earlier this week, Airbus indicated that it would have to consider shuttering the A380 program without an additional order from Emirates.

With this order in hand, the iconic double-decker has earned a reprieve from the scrap heap for at least another decade.

"This new order underscores Airbus' commitment to produce the A380 at least for another ten years," Airbus sales chief John Leahy said in a statement. "I’m personally convinced more orders will follow Emirates’ example and that this great aircraft will be built well into the 2030s."

Emirates is, by far, the Airbus A380's largest customer. The airline currently operates 101 of the aircraft. No other airline has more than 18.

"We’ve made no secret of the fact that the A380 has been a success for Emirates," the airline's chairman and CEO His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in a statement. "Our customers love it, and we’ve been able to deploy it on different missions across our network, giving us flexibility in terms of range and passenger mix."

Thursday's deal brings Emirates' total commitment to the A380 program up to 178 aircraft and a total value of $60 billion.

The newly ordered planes will be used both to expand the A380 fleet and to replace early aircraft which were delivered in 2008.

Aircraft from this latest tranche of planes is expected to be delivered after 2020.

In recent years, Airbus a struggled to find new buyers for the world's largest airliner. Prior to Thursday, the A380 program had been without a major airline order for the aircraft since Emirates' previous order in 2013. 

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