Emirates has signed a general terms agreement with component maintenance provider Spairliners for Airbus A380 support.

Jointly owned by Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance and Lufthansa Technik, Spairliners is focused on servicing A380s and Embraer E-Jets.

The deal is significant as Emirates is by far the largest A380 operator and has established extensive in-house maintenance operations since it began operating the type in 2008.

Cirium fleets data shows the airline has 115 A380s – 90 powered by the Engine Alliance GP7200 and 25 by Rolls-Royce Trent 900s – and has another eight on order. Two of the GP7200-aircraft are listed as being in storage.

“We are looking forward to building a strong relationship with Emirates,” states Spairliners chief executive Thies Moller.

Emirates vice-president procurement aircraft Ammar Al-Zabe notes: “Component support for any aircraft is critical. But the complexity is multiplied many times over when it’s for the largest passenger aircraft – the A380, and specifically for us, as we are its largest operator.”

He expects the MRO deal to “strengthen the support, service and reliability for our A380s” and result in “optimised” operations of the type.

Spairliners head of sales, account management and marketing Cornelius Dalm meanwhile foresees that the company can “further grow in the A380 market”.

Based in the German city of Hamurg, Spairliners was established by AFI KLM E&M and LHT in 2005 to pool resources for the support of A380 components at their parent carriers and third-party customers, against a backdrop of costly spare parts and the relatively small global fleet for the type.

Support of E-Jet components was added to Spairliners’ remit in 2012.

Earlier this month, Air France retired the first of its 10 A380s as part of a plan, disclosed last year, to phase out the type by 2022. Air France had received its first A380 in 2009.

Lufthansa, meanwhile, has reached a deal with Airbus to sell six of its 14 A380s back to the manufacturer by 2023. The agreement is part of an order for more A350s disclosed in 2019. Lufthansa received its first A380 in 2010.