In news that should come in no shock, Airbus will cease the manufacturing of the A380 during 2021.
Simply put – orders are drying up for it, and no one wants to order a plane that large.
Qantas recently dropped their last order for eight aircraft, whilst Emirates want to swap some of their A380 order (which was made with great fanfare last year).
That left the A380 production queue rather empty.
Trying to enable sales
Airbus has tried to drum up extra orders with various different options in the cabin:
The infamous 11 across seating – https://economyclassandbeyond.boardingarea.com/2015/04/17/the-11-across-airbus-a380-seating-is-it-that-bad/
Its cabin 2017 cabin enablers project – https://economyclassandbeyond.boardingarea.com/2017/04/04/airbus-propoes-fit-80-extra-seats-a380/
It seems these solutions have all left buyers cold on what is a good plane.
However, it’s four engines heavy plane that has special requirements for airports, which works in the specific hub-to-hub scenario – whereas the airline operators has gone to point-to-point traffic with smaller aircraft
In the end, it’s estimated that 251 Airbus A380 will fly. A much smaller number than the Boeing 747 (which itself is now a cargo aircraft production line).
Airbus will continue to support the aircraft and operators – so we’ll see the whale roam the sky for some time to come
Most of those aircraft will be with Emirates- who have a total of 123 frames.
Airbus Chief Executive Officer 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. This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021,”
“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,”
Guillaume Faury, President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and future Airbus CEO said:
“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,”
“Going forward, we are fully committed to deliver on the longstanding confidence Emirates is placing in Airbus.”
10 years too late? Maybe.
Tom Enders was noted as saying in the press conference
Enders thanks Emirates for “unwavering support” for the A380 for many years, with 123 orders, even after latest cancellation. We are seeing “the end of the large four-engine aircraft”. Rather than A380 being ahead of its time “we were perhaps 10 years too late”.
— Murdo Morrison (@Flighteditor) February 14, 2019
As passengers – I know a lot of people (myself included) prefer the A380 to some other options in the sky due to the different and enjoyable passenger experiences it can offer. But it never caught fire in the way that Airbus wanted – nor airlines who shifted away from the Hub to Hub/Hub-to-Spoke operations with direct point to point traffic.
Lets not also forget the cost of keeping four engines in the air versus the costs of the efficient twin-engined aircraft (including the Boeing 777 family, the Boeing 787 family and Airbus’s own A350), which for most airlines is a tempting option.
For those who love the Whale in the Sky – there’s time to fly her for some years to come. The just won’t be factory-fresh planes coming off the assembly line from 2021…
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