The Airbus Axes A380, as Many as 3,500 Jobs Affected
Company says unless Emirates buys more of the jet then ‘there is no choice but to shut down the programme’
After almost a dozen years, Airbus is pulling the plug on its A380 superjumbo.
The last of the double-deck behemoths will roll out of Airbus’ hangar in 2021 and be handed over to Emirates, the stalwart airline which has essentially kept the A380 alive in recent years through repeated orders of the world’s largest commercial jet.
However, like many other airlines, Emirates has been shifting towards the new wave of fuel-efficient twin engine jets such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787.
This saw Emirates cancel an outstanding order for 39 A380s – valued at a staggering US$17.4 billion based on Airbus’ list price – which was necessary to keep the production line moving.
“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,” remarked Airbus CEO Tom Enders. “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,” Enders added. “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.”
Emirates will pick up the keys to the world’s last 14 superjumbos over the next two years, having switched its Airbus order to 30 of the more modern A350-900 jets along with 40 of the A330neo models.
Recent weeks saw Qantas officially confirm its long-held decision to cancel the final eight A380s in its initial order of 20, while Qatar Airways said it would begin retiring its own A380s once they reached the 10-year mark, beginning in 2024.