Robert Harneis –TDO- (FRANCE) Emirates airlines has ordered 20 A380 aircraft from Airbus with an option for a further 16. The contract will enable Airbus to continue building the A380 and develop a new model. Only three days before Airbus had talked of ceasing production.
Emirates already has 101 A380s in its fleet and had already ordered another 41. It therefore has plans to acquire 178 of the planes, but will not ever operate that many as some of the newly-ordered machines will replace older models.
The order is clearly not just a contract to buy aircraft but part of the close geopolitical relationship between France and the United Arab Emirates.
Airbus is a European company, partly owned by France (11.11%) Germany (11.09%) and Spain (4.18%). Thierry de Bailleul, Director General France of Emirates, pointed out that this with contract alone ‘Emirates safeguards 14,500 jobs in France’, notably in Toulouse. He stressed in addition that the company also bought €430 million of French goods and services per year.
This key sale to the United Arab Emirates is a justification of France’s investment in a new military base at Abu Dhabi in 2009, the first since the Second World War, when Nicholas Sarkozy was President. The UAE have also invested in the Sorbonne University and the Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi. The military base gives the UAE additional security against a possibly hostile Iran.
The planes will be delivered over the next 10 years.