Airbus courts buoyant Emirates ahead of Dubai Airshow

The machinery of negotiations is working overtime behind the scenes with Emirates more confident from improved first half results to be announced soon
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The pressure, it seems, is on Airbus to deliver. Airbus chief Tom Enders repeatedly expressed his wish that Emirates continue with deals for further A380s, at one point during the press event even joking that he might not let head salesman John Leahy retire “unless he brings in one more A380 deal.”
The pressure, it seems, is on Airbus to deliver. Airbus chief Tom Enders repeatedly expressed his wish that Emirates continue with deals for further A380s, at one point during the press event even joking that he might not let head salesman John Leahy retire “unless he brings in one more A380 deal.”

For those reading between the lines, the delivery event of the 100thA380 from in Hamburg is just the latest face in a series of conversations Airbus and Emirates are having as they work on a deal to negotiate the sale of more aircraft before the Dubai Airshow in a week’s time.

The pressure, it seems, is on Airbus to deliver. Airbus chief Tom Enders repeatedly expressed his wish that Emirates continue with deals for further A380s, at one point during the press event even joking that he might not let head salesman John Leahy retire “unless he brings in one more A380 deal.”

Emirates, on the other hand, is content to flush out the details. “These deals aren’t easy to execute,” Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum told Aviation Business on the sidelines of the delivery event. “I wish they were, but there is a lot of legal work to look over with pages and pages of stipulations to go through. We hope we can do it in time.”

The airline is buoyed by upcoming first half results which Sheikh Ahmed said would be announced in the next few weeks to show "much improved figures from the same first half in 2016."

The first half of 2016 is when Emirates' first signalled how difficult the year was proving to be for airlines in the Middle East. In 2015, Emirates commanded earnings per seat of close to $8 per $100, but results for the first six months of 2016 showed profits had dropped by 65% from the previous year.

The Airshow around the corner is also not any reason to rush into an a deal, he added. “We’re under no pressure to have to come up with a deal for the event. The Airshow isn’t just for Emirates and FlyDubai, there are other companies that come to take advantage of the gathering as well,” said Sheikh Ahmed.

“We believe in this aircraft and the product, it’s a flagship for Emirates. But we still have 42 aircraft left to be delivered as well,” he said. “It’s an issue for Airbus, how many of these aircraft they can sell to other airlines. It’s worked and helped us to our advantage over the years, especially at a slot constrained airport, but they need to push to sell this to other airlines as well.”

However, negotiations are certainly taking place. "I won't comment on the number of aircraft we are talking about just yet," he said. "

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