Emirates has announced a $16 billion deal for 36 new Airbus A380s aircraft.

It includes 20 firm orders which will be delivered from 2020, and options on 16 more.

The airline’s current order backlog is now 41 aircraft, taking its commitment to the A380 programme to 178 aircraft worth more than $60 billion.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, said: “Emirates truly represents Dubai’s spirit of growth, innovation and resilience. It also epitomises the city’s increasing role in connecting the world in terms of people, capital and information flows. This deal reflects Emirates’ confidence in shaping the future, and its commitment to advancing Dubai’s vision to grow further as a world-class destination and aviation hub.”

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline and Group signed the memorandum of understanding with John Leahy, chief operating officer customers, Airbus Commercial Aircraft at the airline’s headquarters in Dubai.

Sheikh Ahmed said: “We’ve made no secret of the fact that the A380 has been a success for Emirates. Our customers love it, and we’ve been able to deploy it on different missions across our network, giving us flexibility in terms of range and passenger mix.

“Some of the new A380s we’ve just ordered will be used as fleet replacements. This order will provide stability to the A380 production line. We will continue to work closely with Airbus to further enhance the aircraft and onboard product, so as to offer our passengers the best possible experience. The beauty of this aircraft is that the technology and real estate on board gives us plenty of room to do something different with the interiors.”

Leahy added: “This aircraft has contributed enormously to Emirates’ growth and success since 2008 and we are delighted that it will continue to do so. This new order underscores Airbus’ commitment to produce the A380 at least for another ten years. I’m personally convinced more orders will follow Emirates’ example and that this great aircraft will be built well into the 2030s.”

Emirates’ 101-strong A380 fleet is the largest in the world. It operates both GE and Rolls-Royce engines and the airline is evaluating its engine options for its latest A380 order.