Airbus will cease production of the A380 in 2021 – after only around 12 years in service – a move hastened by an Emirates Airline decision to cut its order from 53 to just 14 over the next two years.
The decision to reduce its orders was based on the Dubai carrier’s review of its operations, and in light of developments in aircraft and engine technologies, according to Airbus.
“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,” says Airbus chief executive officer Tom Enders. “This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021. 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,” Enders adds.
Airbus was quick to point to its continuing relationship with Emirates noting the carrier had placed revised orders for 40 A330-900 and 30 A350-900 aircraft. “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,” says 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.”
The end the A380 programme – one of the shortest in modern commercial aviation history at only around 12 years in service – also puts paid to Airbus’ theory that airport congestion and increased international air travel would lead to a demand for bigger aircraft flying between mega-hubs.
Airbus says it will start discussions with its social partners in the next few weeks regarding the 3,000 to 3,500 positions potentially impacted over the next three years. However, the ongoing A320 ramp-up and the new widebody order from Emirates Airline will offer a significant number of internal mobility opportunities, it adds.