Airbus SAS, the world's largest plane maker, delivered its first A380 superjumbo to Emirates, the biggest customer for the aircraft, at a ceremony today in Hamburg.
The plane is scheduled to make its inaugural flight for the airline from Dubai to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport Aug. 1. Emirates plans to fly the route three times a week, and will be the first airline to use the A380 commercially in the U.S.
Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, topped rival Boeing Co.'s sales tally at the Farnborough International Air Show this month, winning more than 60 percent of the total $64 billion in orders. Plane orders at the show from Middle Eastern and Asian airlines bolstered an industry besieged by high oil prices.
Airbus has struggled with delays of more than two years on the A380, stemming from difficulties in installing cabin wiring. The company's parent, European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co., last year posted an operating loss for the first time in its eight-year history following the postponements and cost overruns. EADS, based in Paris and Munich, reports its second- quarter earnings July 30, Bloomberg reports.
Emirates has signed a letter of intent to buy 60 more Airbus planes, comprising 30 A330-300s and 30 A350s, its chief executive Sheikh Ahmed ibn Said al-Maktoum said in Hamburg Monday.
Emirates is the biggest and fastest-growing airline in the Middle East, and has withstood the rising price of fuel which has caused major concern for carriers around the world.
The airline has had a long wait for delivery of the A380 after repeated Airbus delays. The first plane had initially been scheduled for delivery in October 2007.
The A380 completed its maiden commercial journey last October on a Singapore Airlines flight to Sydney, Australia.
The aircraft was carrying nearly 500 passengers and crew, with some passengers bidding up to $100,000 for a seat on the trip, CNN reports.