Airbus announces end of A380 production

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Emirates A380 Fleet at Dubai International
Emirates A380 Fleet at Dubai International

Airbus announces end of A380 production

Airbus announces end of A380 production

European plane maker Airbus confirmed the hints and rumours of recent days and announced Thursday (14 February) that it would end production of the super jumbo A380 by 2021. The announcement comes after various carriers cut back or outright cancelled orders for the A380.

The most recent deal to be finalised, albeit in a much reduced fashion, was announced at the same time as the decision on the A380. That deal will see Gulf carrier Emirates take an additional 14 A380s up to 2021 after cutting its original order by 39 planes. Emirates will instead buy 40 A330neo and 30 A350s. The deal will still leave Emirates as the world’s largest A380 operator with 123 aircraft.

“As a result of this decision we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years. This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021,” said Airbus CEO Tom Enders. “The consequences of this decision are largely embedded in our 2018 full-year results.

“The A380 is not only an outstanding engineering and industrial achievement. Passengers all over the world love to fly on this great aircraft. Hence today’s announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide. But, keep in mind that A380s will still roam the skies for many years to come and Airbus will of course continue to fully support the A380 operators,” Enders added.

“The A380 is Emirates’ flagship and has contributed to the airline’s success for more than 10 years. As much as we regret the airline’s position, selecting the A330neo and A350 for its future growth is a great endorsement of our very competitive widebody aircraft family,” said Guillaume Faury, president of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and future Airbus CEO. “Going forward, we are fully committed to deliver on the longstanding confidence Emirates is placing in Airbus.”

Airbus will start discussions with its social partners in the next few weeks regarding the 3,000 to 3,500 positions potentially impacted over the next three years. However, the on-going A320 ramp-up and the new widebody order from Emirates Airline will offer a significant number of internal mobility opportunities.

The move to kill the A380 and effectively end the era of jumbo passenger planes comes after Airbus in recent weeks saw customers moving away from the plane. In addition to the cut by Emirates, Qantas cancelled an order for eight A380s, and Qatar Airways said it would phase out its A380s once they had reached 10 years in service.

The only other jumbo plane still flying is the Boeing 747, which is celebrating its 50th year of flying. The 747 revolutionized long-haul travel and the A380 was meant to be a competitor, but the timing for Airbus was off. Boeing’s 747 is largely a cargo plane now in addition to a few VIP models (Air Force One for example). Airbus cancelled a plan for a cargo version of the A380 due to a lack of interest.

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