Airbus yesterday received its first order of the year for its flagship A-380 when leasing firm Amedeo signed an US$8.3 billion deal for 20 of the planes.
The purchase agreement, signed at the Singapore Airshow, put the European manufacturer on track to meet its target of 30 orders for the world’s largest passenger plane this year.
Airbus suffered some setbacks last year with the discovery of cracks on some of the giant jetliners’ wings.
However, chief operating officer for customers John Leahy said: “This firm order from Amedeo is a clear recognition of the A-380’s long-term market appeal. “The A-380 is the best tool for airlines to capture growth and increase profits.”
Amedeo, formerly Doric Lease Corp, is the world’s biggest manager of leased A-380s.
“As world air traffic continues to double every 15 years, and airport infrastructure and slots do not, the A-380 is the best solution for airlines to capture that growth,” Amedeo chief executive Mark Lapidus said.
The orders are to be delivered from 2016 to 2020. Amedeo will announce its engine selection later.
“Put it in the right routes at peak traffic times and it is an unbeatable profit-generating machine for airlines,” Lapidus said.
Airbus said more than 120 A-380s are now in operation worldwide following its launch in 2007.
Leahy said the company wants about 30 orders for the A-380 this year.
Despite the lift for Airbus from the Amedeo deal, one analyst said it should look beyond the A-380.
“It’s more an exception than the rule, because we don’t see a huge demand for this aircraft,” Standard and Poor’s Equity Research analyst Shukor Yusof said.
“This is a niche aircraft meant for a small market. Airbus would do much better to focus on the A-350,” he said, referring to a new generation of long-range aircraft.
Airbus says it has received 814 orders so far from 30 countries for the A-350XWB, a wide-body plane due to begin service with Qatar Airways in the fourth quarter of this year.
The Amedeo order was the second major deal announced by Airbus at the Singapore trade show.
On Tuesday, fledgling carrier VietJetAir ordered 63 Airbus A-320 jets with a list price of US$6.4 billion in an expansion program that underscores Asia’s central role in the future of world aviation.
The deal also covers rights to acquire or lease 38 more A-320s, which could potentially boost the budget carrier’s existing fleet of 11 A-320s tenfold.