Emirates airline celebrated the delivery of its 100th Airbus A380 on Friday.
The Dubai-based carrier took delivery of the milestone superjumbo jet at Airbus’ aircraft delivery center in Hamburg.
“This is a tremendous moment for Emirates, for Airbus and for our many partners involved in the A380 program,” Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said in a statement.
The A380, of course, is the world’s largest passenger jet.
Emirates took delivery of its first A380 in 2008, outfitting the aircraft with an opulent first-class cabin that immediately drew attention across the industry. The jets were equipped with suites-style seating, an onboard bar and lounge, and shower facilities for first-class customers. Those options remain today on the majority of the A380s flown by the carrier.
TODAY IN THE SKY: Emirates shows off its Airbus A380 superjumbo at Washington Dulles (story continues below)
“Importantly, the A380 also brought the flying experience for our customers to the next level,” Al Maktoum added in his statement. “The aircraft itself is a showpiece of engineering. It is the world’s largest commercial passenger jet but it is quiet and efficient and at Emirates we’ve utilized the onboard real estate to redefine the thinking around in-flight products and experience.”
Emirates has configured its A380s in several seating layouts. The versions with its swanky first-class seating can hold either 489 or 517 passengers. Emirates also flies a “high-density” configuration of the jet that includes only business-class and coach seating; the layout has a capacity of 615 passengers.
Emirates is by far the world’s biggest customer of the A380. Of the 218 already delivered by Airbus, Emirates has now taken 100 of those. Overall, Airbus has received more than 315 orders for the jet, though the future of many of the remaining unfilled orders are uncertain as buyers rethink their plans or have run into financial difficulties.
TODAY IN THE SKY: WATCH: Video of harrowing Airbus A380 landing goes viral
ARCHIVES (2014): World’s largest passenger plane gets more U.S. routes (story continues below)
That’s led to questions about how much longer Airbus can keep offering the model without winning new orders. Of the spots left in Airbus’ A380 backlog, Emirates accounts for about 40 of those left to be delivered.
But there may have been a glimmer of hope for new Airbus A380 orders Friday.
“I hope that we will be able to do it” in time for the air show, Al Maktoum said to reporters, according to Bloomberg. “It’s really about the work between the two teams as we speak today. There are discussions, (but contract talks) take ages and are expensive.”
TODAY IN THE SKY: Airbus says North American airlines now flying 1,500 of its jets
IN PICTURES: Emirates airline shows off its Airbus A380 in Orlando
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