Global A380 suppliers should see revenue for 20 more years

Component makers and suppliers to the Airbus A380 should see revenue and sales for another 20 years, despite the firm’s decision to cease production after Emirates chose to slash its superjumbo order book by a quarter.

That’s according to Mark Martin, founder and CEO of aviation research firm Martin Consulting. The aviation expert said that global airlines would continue to fly the A380 so the market for spares and components will still be active, except for larger aero structure components, which are made by Airbus or its global partners.

Martin said: “Emirates, Korean, Malaysia, Thai, Lufthansa and several others will continue to fly the aircraft during the course of their operations; they will need components.”

The expert added: “Unless there is a major global economic shake out that wipes out the very need for the A380, the worldwide A380 fleet should end up in the aircraft bone yard latest by 2040.”

European supplier concerns

British unions and European aero suppliers have expressed disappointment after Airbus announced it was ceasing production of the A380 aircraft on February 14.

Unite, which represents workers at Airbus sites in Broughton, North Wales, and Filton, near Bristol, and those in supply chain companies such as GKN, said it would be seeking assurances on jobs and future work.

A few hundred staff in the UK work on the aircraft, but it is hoped they can be redeployed.

Unite national officer for aerospace Rhys McCarthy said: “Unite will be seeking urgent assurances from Airbus that there will be no job losses because of the decision to end production of the A380.

“We are of the firm belief that with a full order book in single-aisle planes, such as the A320, that our members affected can be redeployed on to other work in Airbus.”

Suppliers were ‘prepared’ for the decision

A spokesperson for GKN Aerospace, a major global Airbus supplier, with offices in the UK and Holland, said: “Sadly, the announcement that Airbus will cease deliveries in 2021 is a scenario that we have prepared for. Rates have been declining on the A380 for some time now.

“We will work closely with Airbus to align our production schedule. It is encouraging that Emirates has decided to order 30 A350 and 40 A330 neo, GKN Aerospace is well positioned on both programmes.”

GKN Aerospace’s global involvement on the A380 includes the wing trailing edge and assembly to the wing spar, the mid-box structure for the A380 wing, structural wing components and fuselage panels. The firm is involved in almost all Airbus aircraft types: A320, A330, A400M, A350 and A380.

Landmark programme

Jeegar Kakkad, chief economist at British aerospace trade union, ADS, said in a statement: “The A380 is an iconic aircraft and it is sad news for those who have worked on this landmark programme.

“Designing, developing and building the world’s largest passenger aircraft is a great achievement and more than 230 A380s have been delivered to customers around the world.”

Kakkad said: “Modern, technologically advanced and fuel efficient aircraft are in strong demand from customers around the world and the UK can benefit from the rising prosperity created by this high value industry if we continue to focus on further boosting our competitiveness.”

On the day of the A380 cessation announcement, Airbus said it would 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.

The firm said an increase in production of its A320 model would offer ‘a significant number of internal mobility opportunities’.

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