January 6, 2011 / 2:04 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Asiana Airlines orders 6 Airbus A380s

* 1st firm A380 order since Nov emergency landing

* Biggest A380 order from new customer since 2007 (Adds details, background)

SEOUL, Jan 6 (Reuters) - South Korea’s Asiana Airlines (020560.KS) has ordered six A380 superjumbos from European planemaker Airbus in a boost for the world’s largest airliner following an in-flight emergency in November.

Airbus, owned by EADS EAD.PA, slashed its delivery forecast for the A380 for the second time in late December due to engine checks following the engine blowout on a flight by Australian airline Qantas (QAN.AX). [ID:nLDE6BT0YK]

Asiana Airlines said in a filing to the stock exchange it would spend 2 trillion won ($1.78 billion) on buying the six aircraft to be delivered between 2014 and 2017.

In Paris, EADS shares rose 3.6 percent to 19.06 euros.

The deal is the first firm order for the A380 since the Qantas scare in November and the largest from a new customer since British Airways BAY.L ordered 12 in 2007.

This was followed by a relatively lean period dominated by repeat orders from existing buyers.

Airbus has so far sold 240 A380s, which have a list price close to $347 million each. The total deal value announced by the airline suggests a discount of 14 percent.

Japan’s Skymark Airlines 9204.T said in November it may order up to 15 superjumbos and announced an initial order for four, though these have yet to appear on the official Airbus order book. [ID:nTOE6AB084]

Airbus said Asiana would make an engine selection for its A380 fleet in the “near future”, in what could be seen as a test of industry support for engine maker Rolls-Royce (RR.L) or U.S. rivals.

The A380 is powered either by Trent 900 engines from Rolls-Royce, as in the case of Qantas, or powerplants from the Engine Alliance, jointly owned by General Electric (GE.N) and United Technologies (UTX.N) unit Pratt & Whitney.

Asiana plans to operate the aircraft on routes to Europe and the United States, the airline added.

The purchase puts Asiana in direct competition for deployment of the 525-seat double-decker plane with national carrier Korean Air (003490.KS), which has ordered a total of 10 A380s with the first due to enter service this year. ($1=1122.0 Won) (Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Yoo Choonsik and Will Waterman)

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