Airbus to halt A380 production

Aviation Updates Philippines – In an announcement made by Airbus on Valentine's Day, the aircraft manufacturing giant confirmed its intention to scrap the considerably short-lived production of the world's largest commercial aircraft, the Airbus A380-800, in 2021. 
THE PREDICTED END. The A380 production will finally close by 2021 as announced by Airbus' Tom Enders on Valentine's Day. Photo shows a one-off Airbus A380 commercial flight by Emirates taken by MalacaƱang Photo Bureau.
The cancellation came shortly after Emirates announced the reduction of its A380 orders from the planned 53 down to only 14 as it placed 70 new orders of Airbus A350-900 and Airbus A330-900neo aircraft on the said date.

Emirates' A380 order book significantly dropped from 162 to 123 aircraft. The Dubai-based airline is the largest and one of the main operators of the double-decker capable of seating up to 550 passengers in a dual-class configuration.

“While we are disappointed to have to give up our order and sad that the programme could not be sustained, we accept that this is the reality of the situation," Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Chairman and Chief Executive said.

On the other hand, Emirates signed orders for 40 Airbus A330-900neo and 30 Airbus A350-900 jets in a deal valued at $21.5 billion (that's roughly around Php1.125 trillion). It is important to note that Emirates refused to place further A380 orders during the 2017 Dubai Airshow while rooting for 40 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft.

Consequently, Qantas added heated pressure to the A380 programme since it cancelled eight of its remaining orders last week. Amedeo, an aircraft leasing company, followed subsequently as it cancelled 20 orders of the quad-jet on Thursday.

The A380, over the years, has been struggling to attract potential buyers especially airlines in the market. Singapore Airlines is already shelving its Airbus A380 fleet gradually because it is not economically viable for the airline. Airlines around the globe have been doing the same and have opted for twin-engine aircraft carrying less passengers in longer distances.

British Airways, however, is still open in placing more A380 orders only if Airbus gives a great deal and slashes its price tag. The airline may retain the superjumbo on its fleet as it planned to retrofit its aircraft to lengthen its service life.

For a few years in a row, the Airbus A380 failed to gain new orders, except for the ones placed by All Nippon Airways back in 2016. In 2019 alone, the programme suffered order cancellations of up to 67 units. The reduction in the backlog meant that it is no longer viable to sustain the production of this iconic aircraft.

Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders 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. This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021.”

The decision also came after the thorough analysis of the 2018 financial results of the planemaker. Last year, Airbus' net profit jumped by 30 percent to £2.6 billion (Php175.43 billion).

Closing the production of the superjumbo will cost Airbus around €463 million (Php27.36 billion). More than 3,000 jobs will also be affected by the shutdown over the next three years, but Airbus assured it is still discussing the resolution on this matter.

"Hopefully we can redeploy a significant number of our employees there and re-use also the infrastructure," Enders said.

Airbus must now focus on its new-generation aircraft to further stimulate growth in the aviation industry. As the A380 witnesses the sunset, a new chapter in aviation unfolds. The A380 will be the second most iconic aircraft to be retired after Concorde's last flight in 2003, according to The National.