The European plane maker Airbus will cease production of the giant double-decker Airbus A380 in 2021, despite being one of the most loved commercial jets to fly in according to passengers.
The news was revealed early on Thursday, February 14th and follows months of speculation over the future of the super-jumbo. The manufacturer confirmed the news of the demise of the A380 following a number of cancellations and its main customer, Dubai based Emirates Airlines reviewing its A380 future operations.
In light of developments in aircraft and engine technologies, Emirates has decided to reduce its A380 order book from 162 to 123 aircraft. The carrier will take delivery of just another 14 of the super-jumbo aircraft over the next two years. As a consequence and given the lack of order backlog with other airlines, Airbus will cease deliveries of the A380 in 2021.
“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 Chief Executive Officer 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,” Tom Enders added.
Emirates has switched some of its A380 orders to other aircraft in the Airbus range and has decided to order 40 A330-900 and 30 A350-900 aircraft.
“The A380 is Emirates’ flagship and has contributed to the airline’s success for more than ten 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 various unions and employee groups in the next few weeks regarding the up to 3,500 jobs that will be impacted over the ending of A380 production in 2021. However, the ongoing A320 ramp-up and the new widebody order from Emirates could mean that many people will be able to move to new positions.