Airbus To End Production Of World's Largest Passenger Jet A380 Superjumbo

| February 14 , 2019 , 16:02 IST

Airbus will stop delivery of the world’s largest commercial airliner the double-decker A380  in 2021, the company announced on Thursday.

The firm said it would stop deliveries in 2021 of the A380, which has been in operation for more than a decade after Dubai-based carrier Emirates reduced its total order of the model by 39 planes.

The Gulf carrier will pare down its current A380 order to 14 from 53, Airbus said in a statement. Emirates said separately it would purchase 70 smaller A330neo and A350 widebodies listed at $21.4 billion before customary discounts.

“Today’s announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide,” Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders said in a statement. Airbus said as many as 3,500 jobs are affected by the decision.

"Following a review of its operations, and in light of developments in aircraft and engine technologies, Emirates is reducing its A380 order book from 162 to 123 aircraft."

He further said, Emirates' decision means Airbus has "no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years".

“Emirates has been a staunch supporter of the A380 since its very inception,” said Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum. “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,” he added.

Making its maiden flight in 2005, the A380 was a major step in Airbus’s efforts to compete on equal terms with Boeing and challenge what had been a cash cow for its arch-rival.

But sales of the industry’s largest four-engined jets have fallen due to improvements in lighter twin-engined alternatives, such as the Boeing 787 and 777 or Airbus’s own A350.

The A330neos will be deployed on Emirates’ regional destinations, and also enable the airline to serve smaller airports, while the A350s will supplement Emirates’ long-haul operations, providing the carrier with added flexibility in terms of capacity deployment on 8 to 12-hour flights from its Dubai hub.