Airbus has secured a crucial preliminary agreement from Middle Eastern carrier Emirates to supply up to 36 more A380s.
It covers 20 potentially firm aircraft and options on another 16. Deliveries would commence in 2020.
The agreement is still the subject of a memorandum of understanding.
No engine selection has been disclosed. Emirates has been taking its most recent A380s with Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines after accumulating a fleet fitted with the Engine Alliance GP7200.
Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum says the agreement, valued at $16 billion at catalogue prices, will provide "stability" to the A380 production line.
Airbus had recently indicated that it might have to take the production rate for the type down to just six per year and had signalled that Emirates was central to the viability of the A380 programme.