Goodbye, gentle giant: Airbus to end production of A380

Postado Fevereiro 14, 2019

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".

Emirates, which had built its global brand around the A380 and Boeing 777 and which also has 100 of the Airbus superjumbos in its fleet, said it was disappointed by the closure. A pall of mourning hung in the atmosphere on Thursday at its headquarters in the southern French city of Toulouse.

Still, Airbus announced a 29-per cent jump in overall profits previous year, and analysts said global demand is high enough for Airbus to weather the loss of its iconic superjumbo. Net profit increased from €2.4 billion to €3.1 billion.

The airline will receive just 14 more A380s from 2019 until the end of 2021, taking its total A380 order book to 123 units.

"Emirates has been a staunch supporter of the superjumbo since its very inception", Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum told Reuters.

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

They showed losses of £788m from the A380 programme, with the hugely delayed A400M military transporter plane also putting a dent in profits.

"However, the ongoing A320 ramp-up and the new widebody order from Emirates Airline will offer a significant number of internal mobility opportunities", Airbus said.

The timing of any final announcement may be driven by the outcome of those talks, but Airbus will be under pressure to provide some clarity on its plans in time for Thursday's update, following mounting speculation over the plane's future.

The A380 has been a favourite of Emirates' passengers, especially those in business and first class, which encompassed the entire upper deck of the airplane and was complete with a bar in the back. "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". However, airlines were reluctant to commit to the costly plane and airports had to build new runways and modify terminals to accommodate it.

The A380 is capable of carrying more than 800 passengers, but most airlines choose to transport no more than about 500 people, instead decking out the cabin with fancy features from in-flight bars to showers and multi-room suites that come with flourishes like butlers and sofas.

Emirates Airbus A380 Economy interior. The project suffered production delays and cost overruns right from the outset.

The company did not specify which jobs or locations would be affected.

Industry experts initially expected A380s to long outlast the 747, which is celebrating its 50th birthday this year.

Currently, the carrier does not operate any other Airbus type other than the A380 and has no outstanding orders with the manufacturer for A330s or A350s.