Airbus will end production of the world’s largest
passenger jet in 2021.
The aircraft manufacturer will stop producing the
A380 after reaching a deal to allow Emirates to reduce its
outstanding A380 orders from 53 to just 14.
“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,” Airbus CEO Tom Enders said in a prepared remark.
Emirates has historically been by far the most prolific
buyer of the A380, which first took to the sky for commercial service in 2007.
Of the 234 A380s that Airbus has delivered, 109 are flown by Emirates.
Last yea, Emirates was believed to have saved the A380
program when it ordered 20 more of the jumbo jet — the only A380 orders Airbus
took in either 2017 or 2018. However, last month Airbus acknowledged that it was in
negotiations with Emirates over it’s A380 contract. The announcement came as
Reuters and Bloomberg reported that Emirates had been unable to come to
terms with engine maker Rolls-Royce for the aircraft.
As part of the agreement announced Thursday between Emirates
and Airbus, Emirates will replace the 39 A380s it is removing from its order
book with 40 A330neos and 30 A350s. Both aircraft are smaller fuel-efficient
widebodies that require two engines rather than the four that power the A380.
The commercial failure of the A380 has been largely due to
improvements in engine and aircraft technology that have allowed for smaller
widebodies like the A350 and Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner to fly increasing
distances with greater efficiency.
As a result, airlines can use those jets to profitably
service a wider variety of markets and with more frequency than the A380 and
its jumbo predecessor the Boeing 747.
Enders sounded a nostalgic note in his remarks Thursday.
“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,” he said. “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 said it would continue to fly A380s until the
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