Airbus says A380 superjumbo production will end

Airbus says A380 superjumbo production will end

Airbus says A380 superjumbo production will end

The French aircraft company will stop delivering the double-deck, four-engine plane in 2021, it said in a statement Thursday.

Emirates has placed orders for Airbus A330-900neo and A350-900, while cancelling 39 of its remaining A380 orders.

"Emirates has been a staunch supporter of the A380 since its inception", said Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum.

The prospect of shutting output comes at an awkward moment for Airbus as rival Boeing celebrates the 50th anniversary of its 747 jumbo - the jet that revolutionized long-haul travel and which Europe's A380 was created to squeeze out of the market.

He said: "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".

So why did the world's largest passenger aircraft, described as a "hotel in the sky", fail after just 12 years of production?

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Enders, the Airbus CEO said: "Today's announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide".

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.

The A380 was first launched 14 years ago as a challenger to fierce rival Boeing's 747 jumbo jet but its popularity has struggled to take off.

What does it mean for jobs?

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Airbus will "start discussions with its social partners in the next few weeks regarding the 3,000 to 3,5000 positions potentially impacted over the next three years".

The company did not specify which jobs or locations would be affected. Emirates, which has invested billions of dollars to establish a transportation hub in Dubai, had demanded Airbus commit to a production timeline of at least a decade due to a lack of traction from other carriers for the aircraft and the absence of a secondary market for the jet.

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The conglomerate, long held up as a shining example of pan-European industrial cooperation, suffered a series of costly delays before the A380's first commercial flight by Singapore Airlines in 2007.

Its 777 model and the smaller 787 Dreamliner, as well as Airbus's A350 models, twin-engine planes that pioneered the use of lightweight carbon fibre and efficient engines, helped airlines drastically cut fuel expenses and allowed them to use the planes with quicker turnaround times on smaller point-to-point routes.

The Emirati carrier reduced its order for A380s from 162 to 123 units and will take the delivery of the remaining fourteen aircraft over the next two years.

Where did Airbus go wrong?

With two decks of spacious cabins and room for 544 people in the standard layout, the superjumbo was created to challenge Boeing's legendary 747, but it failed to take hold as airlines backed a new generation of smaller, nimbler jets.

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

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Passengers have often raved about the A380 flying experience as it offers more legroom, space and upgrade options.

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