Published: Thu, February 14, 2019
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Airbus to scrap production of the A380 superjumbo jet by 2021

Airbus to scrap production of the A380 superjumbo jet by 2021

Emirates has not yet taken delivery of 14 the planes - the wings, engines and landing gear for which are made in the UK.

Citing reduced orders from Emirates Airline, a major customer, and an inability to find other buyers, the company said it would halt deliveries of the jumbo jetliner in 2021.

Production problems and cost overruns in the billions of euros continued to plague the project, forcing Airbus to report its first-ever annual loss for the 2006 financial year.

Airbus has said it is pulling the plug on the A380 programme with the last deliveries of the aircraft being made by 2021.

Barely a decade after the 500-plus-seat plane started carrying passengers, Airbus said in a statement that key client Emirates is cutting back its orders for the plane, and as a result, "we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production". "As a effect of this decision and given the lack of order backlog with other airlines, deliveries of the A380 will cease in 2021", the manufacturer announces in a statement.

"Passengers all over the world love to fly on this great aircraft".

Airbus CEO Tom Enders called the superjumbo an "outstanding technical and industrial achievement", adding that the announcement was "painful for us and A380 communities around the world".

The European aerospace company said this morning that lacklustre sales of the aircraft had led to the "painful" decision.

Emirates announced on Thursday that it had struck a deal valued at US$21.4b with Airbus to replace some A380s with A350 wide-bodies and smaller A330 planes.


What does it mean for jobs?

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Executives vowed to open talks with trade unions regarding the 3,000 to 3,500 staff that could be affected across the continent. The company was forced to restructure, costing thousands of jobs.

Emirates is the largest customer for the 544-seat aircraft, and analysts say production is unsustainable beyond 2020 without the new Emirates order.

But in the end, it wasn't passenger support, but the lack thereof from airlines that hastened the A380's demise.

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

Airbus will deliver the last 14 A380s to Emirates over the next two years, and the Dubai-based carrier has ordered 70 smaller aircraft from the planemaker.

Airbus will complete the remaining orders, then the factories and their workers will either be reassigned to other programs or let go. Finally, a restless Airbus board started demanding a return and stronger prices just when the plane desperately needed an aggressive relaunch and fresh investment, insiders said.

Any decision to pull the plug on the iconic European double-decker after just 12 years in service must be approved by the Airbus board, which meets on Wednesday. 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.

According to Airbus, the plane has flown more than 500,000 revenue flights and carried over 190 million passengers to date, with more than 300 commercial flights a day.

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