Airbus is in talks with British Airways over the sale of A380 Superjumbo aircraft. British Airways currently has 12 A380s in its fleet; in the past, it has said that it is looking to buy 6-7 second-hand aircraft of the type. It is now considering purchasing a greater number of the planes new according to people close to the matter who asked to remain nameless.
At the time of writing, a deal has yet to be finalized.
British Airways is interested in the plane because it can increase the number of passengers flown per flight. This is important because British Airways’ hub, London Heathrow, is running close to its takeoff/landing capacity. The A380 is most important for British Airways on routes between Europe and North America, which feature flights among the world’s busiest long-haul routes.
British Airways currently flies a mix of A380s and Boeing 747s across the Atlantic. Replacing some of their three-dozen 747s flying across the Atlantic could allow British Airways to cut per-seat costs and save money.
John Leahy, the outgoing head of sales at Airbus, said that he is confident that Airbus will secure at least one more A380 order after Emirates saved the program with an order of 36 aircraft.
If British Airways finalizes an order, Airbus would be in a better position to save the A380 program. Despite the recent Emirates order, Airbus has been forced to reduce production on the A380 from 12 to 6 planes per year; a solid British Airways order would help Airbus to bring that number slightly up, allowing the planemaker to break even on each individual plane.
Both Airbus and IAG (British Airways’s parent company) have declined to comment.
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