Emirates has taken delivery of the first of the 58 Airbus A380 superjumbos it has ordered. The plane was handed over at a ceremony in Hamburg, Germany.
Emirates became only the second carrier to operate the world’s biggest passenger plane following significant delivery delays due to production problems with the aircraft’s wiring. The first plane was supposed to be handed over 21 months ago.
The chief of the Dubai-based airline, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, also signed a letter of intent for 60 additional Airbus aircraft. Half of the planes are A330s and the other half are Airbus’ wide bodied jet in development, the A350, which is designed to take on Boeing’s delayed 787 Dreamliner.
Airbus chief executive Thomas Enders said there is still much work to do after the A380’s assembly problems: “We’ve had to learn a lot of lessons – bitter lessons – in the last few years, and now we are stepping up production. It’s not working as quickly as we had hoped, nor as quickly as the customers had hoped, but it is a very complex aircraft.”
Last week Enders said Airbus is conducting a “major review” of its delivery schedule for the A380 and acknowledged that it will not be easy to deliver four of the double decker planes each month by 2010 .
Emirates first A380 is due to make its maiden commercial flight from Dubai to New York on 1st August.