Airbus scraps production of A380 superjumbo


European aircraft manufacturer Airbus on Thursday announced it will end production of the A380 double-decker passenger jet in 2021.

Airbus had hoped the A380 would revolutionise air travel in the 21st century and challenge Boeing’s 747 jumbo.

What’s behind the move?

  • The decision came after Emirates reduced its order of the model from 162 to 123 aircraft.
  • The company said it had “no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production.”

Main customer ‘disappointed’

Dubai-based airline Emirates is the biggest A380 customer and had built its global brand around the model.

“Emirates has been a staunch supporter of the A380 since its inception,” said Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum. “While we are disappointed to have to give up our order, and sad that the programme could not be sustained, we accept that this is the reality of the situation.”

What was the problem with the A380? The world’s biggest passenger jet started flying in 2008. The double-decker aircraft can seat over 500 passengers. However, airlines were reluctant to commit to the costly plane and airports had to build new runways and modify terminals to accomodate it.

What effect will this have? Airbus is set to release its 2018 earnings report later on Thursday. The decision to pull the plug on the A380 is expected to impact results. The company will start talks with unions over the 3,500 jobs that could be at risk.

more to come…