Airbus to end production of A380 superjumbo jet


Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said: "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".

Airbus makes wings for the A380 in the United Kingdom - employing 6,000 staff at Broughton and 3,000 at Filton.

Emirates is also understood to be looking at adding to the 150 Boeing 777X aircraft it has on order.

While the iconic passenger airliner might be admired by aviation enthusiasts, it never gained much popularity with customers (Emirates aside).

Whilst the A380 program has struggled to attract orders over the years (with only 313 firm orders to 13 airlines) it has always struggled onwards thanks to an order book that was boosted by Emirates.

The decision could hurt up to 3,500 jobs, Airbus said.

The world's largest passenger plane has been mired by controversy since it took flight in 2007. The middle eastern airline actually put in an order for over 100 of the aircraft and essentially subsidized cheaper prices for many other airlines.

Due to the reduction and a lack of order backlog with other airlines, Airbus said it would end deliveries of the record-breaking plane in 2021 - just 14 years after it first entered commercial service.

Airbus had faced scepticism over the A380's future since the 1990s, when it began to envision a competitor to the hugely popular 747 from USA archrival Boeing. They too invested in the A380 but may also be relieved to see a potent weapon removed from Gulf rivals like Emirates, whom they accuse of flooding the market.

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The prospect of shutting output comes at an awkward moment for Airbus as rival Boeing celebrates the 50th anniversary of its 747 jumbo - the jet that revolutionized long-haul travel and which Europe's A380 was created to squeeze out of the market. The giant jumbo aircraft, by contrast, suddenly became too expensive, too heavy and too cumbersome to operate.

'This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021.

And last week Qantas officially cancelled an outstanding order for eight A380 aircraft.

The A380 will remain a pillar of the Emirates fleet well into the 2030s, stated the airline.

Part of the A380's problem is that there is no established second-hand market, typically the domain where prospective buyers can pick up jets at a discount.

Just days after this announcement, the company appeared to get a lifeline with the latest Emirates deal, but last month Airbus admitted the airline might now be reconsidering. The jets will "play an important role in our future fleet and network plans", he said. And many operators don't even use the model at full capacity.

The A380 has flown more than half-a-million flights and carried more than 190 million passengers, with more than 300 commercial flights a day.

At a time when flying had lost its jet-age mystique and budget carriers sought to cram as many people onto a plane as possible, the A380 offered a throwback to an era of stylish travel, with plush cabin layouts and free-flowing champagne.