PARIS, Jan 18 (Reuters) - European planemaker Airbus on Thursday announced it has sealed an order with Emirates worth $16 billion for Airbus' flagship A380 superjumbo, in a deal which looks set to protect the future of the A380 programme.
It said Emirates has made a commitment for 20 A380s along with an option for 16 more with deliveries to start in 2020, valued at $16 billion at latest list prices.
Airbus' sales chief John Leahy had said that the future of the A380 lay with Emirates, even though other airlines are interested in smaller numbers of the 544-seat jets. If the deal had fallen through, Airbus would have had "no choice" but to close production, he had said. (Reporting by Tim Hepher; Writing by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Richard Lough)