Middle Eastern carrier Emirates is to defer delivery of 12 Airbus A380s which had been due to arrive over the next two years, under a tripartite agreement to cut production of the type a year earlier than previously planned.
Emirates is to defer delivery of six A380s by a year, from 2017 to 2018, and push back another six from 2018 to 2019.
Airbus says the postponement follows an agreement between Emirates and Rolls-Royce, which manufactures the Trent 900 engine for the type, and a subsequent agreement between the airline and the airframer.
The manufacturer disclosed earlier this year that it would halve production of the A380 from 2018, to just 12 aircraft a year, following a review which took into account demand for the type.
Airbus says it will “adapt the A380 delivery stream” for Emirates but stresses that it will still deliver “around 12” of the aircraft per year from 2018.
It adds that further initiatives to reduce fixed costs “will be accelerated” in order to minimise the impact on A380 break-even in 2017.
Airbus had achieved production break-even on the type in 2015 but the planned rate cut has threatened to push the programme back into losses. The airframer had been looking to put in place efficiency measures to reduce the break-even threshold to 20 aircraft next year.
Emirates still had 55 A380s due for delivery at the end of November this year. The airline says it is preparing to take its first Trent 900-powered A380, and that the delivery is "scheduled for this week".