Airbus to end A380 production in 2021, Emirates cuts order

Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders waits to visit final assembly line at Airbus headquarters in Blagnac near Toulouse France

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has announced plans to stop the production of the world's largest commercial passenger plane, the A380 superjumbo, by 2021.

The costly aircraft has struggled to compete with more efficient, smaller models. "For us, the A380 is a wonderful aircraft loved by our customers and our crew". The lessor struggled to find new customers for the aircraft so much, that it made a decision to scrap the two A380s and sell them for parts.

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 10 years".

Europe's Airbus is scrapping production of the A380 superjumbo, with lacklustre sales forcing it to abandon a dream of dominating the skies with a 21st century cruiseliner.

"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", the company's chief executive, Tom Enders, said in a statement. The company was forced to restructure, costing thousands of jobs.

The aerospace giant said the impact of the decision was "largely embedded" in the firm's 2018 results, which showed a net profit for 2018 of €3bn (£2.6bn) up almost 30% from the previous year.

Airbus said it would start discussions with partners regarding the "3,000 to 3,500 positions potentially impacted over the next three years".

Just days after this announcement, the company appeared to get a lifeline with the latest Emirates deal, but last month Airbus admitted the airline might now be reconsidering.

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Airbus UK makes the wings for the A380, employing 6,000 staff at its main wings factory at Broughton in Flintshire, as well as 3,000 at Filton, near Bristol, where wings are designed and supported.

The A380, whose wings are made at Airbus UK, was a bold challenger to United States rival Boeing's dominance of the large aircraft market.

There isn't a single United States carrier that uses the A380, Chinese airlines have only bought the model in low numbers, and Japan - traditionally a big buyer of the Boeing 747 - has only recently taken delivery of its first A380.

Where did Airbus go wrong?

Airbus confidently predicted it would make about 1,500 of the giant planes.

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.

In hindsight, airlines were already turning their back on very large aircraft when the A380 made its debut.

The A380 is capable of carrying more than 800 passengers, but most airlines choose to transport no more than about 500 people, instead decking out the cabin with fancy features from in-flight bars to showers and multi-room suites that come with flourishes like butlers and sofas.

Boeing's 777X can carry 414 passengers in a two-class layout and will burn about 40 per cent less fuel per passenger than an the A380.

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