Airbus to end A380 production in 2021, Emirates cuts order

Airbus to end production of A380 superjumbo jet

Airbus to scrap production of A380 superjumbo

Emirates' decision means Airbus has "no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years", Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders was quoted in the statement as saying.

He adds that the A380 will remain an important part of Emirates' fleet "well into the 2030s" and says that the carrier will continue to invest in the onboard product and services of the aircraft type.

Airbus said Emirates had chosen to reduce its order of A380s from 162 to 123 aircraft following a "review of its operations, and in light of developments in aircraft and engine technologies".

Loved by passengers, feared by accountants, the world's largest airliner has run out of runway after Airbus chose to close A380 production after 12 years in service due to weak sales.

The Airbus A380 unlocked new potential in long-haul air travel.

The A380 is capable of carrying more than 800 passengers, but most airlines choose to transport no more than about 500 people, instead decking out the cabin with fancy features from in-flight bars to showers and multi-room suites that come with flourishes like butlers and sofas. Guillaume Faury, president of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and future Airbus CEO, said, "The A380 is Emirates' flagship and has contributed to the airline's success for more than 10 years".

Airbus said it will shortly start talks with 3,000-3,500 staff members whose positions are related to the A380 programme.

The company did not specify which jobs or locations would be affected. But it said increased production of the A320 and the new wide body order from Emirates Airline would offer "a significant number of internal mobility opportunities".

Although a ten year old A380 is by no means at the end of its useful life, Qatar are proud to have one of the youngest fleets in the sky.

Demand for the A380 from airlines ultimately dried up as the industry shifted away from larger planes in favour of smaller, wide-body jets. "There are ex-Singapore Airlines A380 jets that nobody wants, and this year, there will be aircraft available to the second-hand market from Emirates" - implying the Emirati carrier will have to give up some A380s due to over-ordering.

How did Airbus get it so wrong?

Airbus confidently predicted it would make about 1,500 of the giant planes. After today's decision to end production, the end tally will be just over 250.

The world's largest airliner, with two decks of spacious cabins and room for 544 people in standard layout, was created to challenge Boeing's legendary 747 but failed to take hold as airlines backed a new generation of smaller, more nimble jets.

In hindsight, airlines were already turning their back on very large aircraft when the A380 made its debut.

Now, Airbus confirms that the Gulf carrier is indeed reducing its orderbook, but is scrapping not just the latest order of 20 aircraft. There was a bigger game afoot - Airbus needed to negate Boeing's 747, believing that the profits the American company made on 747 sales were helping it cross-subsidise other, smaller planes.

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