Airbus scraps production of A380 superjumbo

Airbus scraps production of A380 superjumbo

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". Emirates also has orders for 35 Boeing 777-8 and 115 777-9, with options for 50 more.

The A320 is a narrow-body jet which in December had been ordered by more than 70 airlines, and is now used by the likes of American Airlines, Lufthansa, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines.

As part of the restructuring, Emirates placed a new order for 40 A330-900neo jets and 30 A350-900 aircraft, partially restoring a purchase of A350 aircraft which it cancelled in 2014.

The European company said it would enter into talks with unions in coming weeks over the 3,000-3,500 jobs potentially affected.

The move by Emirates means it will take delivery of 14 further A380s over the next two years but with a lack of order backlog from other airlines, Airbus will stop deliveries of the A380 in two 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. As demand see-sawed, so did the plane's marketing: "starting with luxuries including showers, then vaunting its green credentials with the messianic slogan 'Saving The Planet One A380 at a Time" before joining the race to squeeze in more people and cut costs.

Airbus on February 14 posted stronger than expected fourth-quarter results overshadowed by a decision to close its flagship A380 programme, while forecasting higher aircraft deliveries and profits in 2019.

Airbus stood by the A380 even after it was slammed by the global financial crisis of 2007, when airlines started having second thoughts about owning huge planes that were profitable only when filled to the brim.

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Markets where Airbus had hoped to sell its prestige plane hardly caught on or didn't materialise at all. Some insiders worry that Airbus will lose a valuable symbol of pride and commercial audacity when production ends in 2021.

What was the problem with the A380?

At 7AM UTC today, Airbus officially ended the A380 program during their annual shareholder's press conference. The jets will "play an important role in our future fleet and network plans", he said.

The A380, measuring almost 240ft (73m) in length and with capacity for more than 500 passengers, made its maiden commercial flight from Singapore to Sydney on October 27, 2007, wrestling the title of the world's largest passenger jet from the Boeing 747.

Such fripperies were a hit with passengers, who often went out of their way to book a flight on the A380, which promised a more spacious, quieter, more luxurious flight experience than older long-distance models. It was built for a time when crowded airports would demand that planes carry more people to reduce congestion.

Like Concord, the supersonic jetliner that inspired a generation of plane-spotting fans, the A380 was brought back down to earth by the hard truths of commercial board-room economics that gained the upper hand over popular aviation enthusiasm.

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