An Emirates’ A380 has become the 6000th Airbus aircraft to roll off the production line in Hamburg, as the airline continues to weather the financial storm and thrusts ahead with its ambitious expansion plans.

More than 200 VIP guests including football stars, politicians and representatives from the aviation industry attended a ceremony last week at Airbus’ delivery centre in Hamburg to celebrate the manufacturing milestone and the handing over of Emirates’ 8th double-decker.

Adel Al Redha, Executive Vice President, Emirates’ Engineering and Operations, said: “The A380 represents the future of air travel and our strength and determination to drive forward, alongside Airbus, to meet our ambitious expansion plans and traffic demand. If a powerful demonstration of the resilience of the aviation industry was required, today has provided that.”

Mr Al Redha added: “We fully appreciate that our reputation for innovation and service excellence comes with a heavy responsibility to deliver. But all who have flown the A380 will realise that this is a very special aircraft, embracing the latest in passenger comfort, technology and environmental credentials. We now have 55 Airbus aircraft in our current fleet and a further 121 on order, worth more than AED 132 billion (USD 35 billion). So as far as we’re concerned, it’s all systems go as we enter a new decade of the 21st century.”

Tom Enders, Airbus CEO, said: “Today’s delivery is our 25th A380 so far, and more importantly, the 6,000th Airbus produced in our 40 year history. It is particularly significant that it is both an A380 and for Emirates, as they were involved in its development from early on. We are proud to have the words ‘Airbus 6,000th Aircraft’ inscribed alongside the Emirates livery.”

During the event, guests had the opportunity to enjoy a full tour of the new A380, with its Onboard Shower Spas, First Class Private Suites, fully stocked Onboard Lounge and the highly popular ice entertainment system. Members of the Emirates-sponsored HSV football team joined the event including Jerome Boateng and Piotr Trochowski, both of whom play for the German national team, which is gearing up for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.

Emirates was the first carrier to order the A380 and has ordered more than any other airline – representing 30% of the total superjumbo orders. Eight have now been handed over with a further 50 to come.

The Emirates’ double-decker serves Toronto, London Heathrow, Paris, Seoul, Bangkok, Sydney, Auckland , and Jeddah from 1st February.

The international airline of the UAE, which announced half year profits of AED 752 million (USD 205 million), has so far announced four new routes for 2010. They are Tokyo (28th March), Amsterdam (1st May) Prague (1st July) and Madrid (1st August).