On February 11, 2018, Emirates announced affirming an order for 36 Airbus A380s. The $16 billion worth deal, already labeled a lifeline for the stagnant-in-sales superjumbo, was previously announced in January 2018, as Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The contract is for 20 additional A380 aircraft and 16 options, with the deliveries starting in 2020, Emirates noted in a statement. The total value of the order is estimated to be $16 billion at list prices. The agreement, signed on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai, draws upon the MoU announced back in January 2018.

“This agreement underscores our commitment to the A380 program, providing stability to the A380 production line and supporting tens of thousands of high-value jobs across the aviation supply chain,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group. “For Emirates, the A380 has been a successful aircraft for our customers, our operations, and our brand. We look forward to continue working with Airbus to further enhance the aircraft and onboard product.”

Emirates sure is committed to A380. The airline currently has 101 superjumbos in service and 41 aircraft in its order backlog. Emirates operates its superjumbo fleet with both GE and Rolls-Royce engines and is currently evaluating engine options for its latest A380 order.

The new order is set to upsurge Emirates’ fleet to 178 A380 aircraft, worth over $ 60 billion. With these numbers in mind, the Gulf carrier is by far the largest Airbus A380 operator in the world. As of November 20, 2017 the Gulf carrier’s orders made up around half of all A380 orders – 142 of 317.

Emirates is not only the largest, but presumably the most vital customer for A380. Following the surprise at Dubai Air Show on November 2017, when the gulf carrier opted for Boeing Dreamliners instead of an anticipated $16-billion-worth A380s deal, the continuity of Airbus superjumbo line was left in a precarious position. On January 15, 2018 Airbus’ John Leahy even put it more bluntly by saying that the program would be shut down unless Emirates puts more orders for it.

The A380 is the world’s largest commercial aircraft, with two full wide-body decks. It flies 8,200 nautical miles (15,200 kilometers) non-stop and can accommodate 575 passengers in 4 classes. Although praised for its size and comfort, the superjumbo is far from glory when it comes to its order book. As of January 2018, 222 planes have been delivered to 13 airlines, with approximately 100 planes remaining on Airbus’ backlog (excluding the latest Emirates order).