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No more planes to be built

Airbus abandons A380 superjumbo after orders slide

Airbus A380

No more superjumbos will be built (pic: Airbus) 


 

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus will stop making its A380 “superjumbo”, the world’s largest passenger aircraft after Emirates, its biggest customer, reduced its order.

Airbus said Dubai-based Emirates had cut its order for the double-decker planes from 162 to 123 and said it would be building no more after 2021, putting the jobs of thousands of workers at risk. A number of suppliers in Scotland are likely to be impacted.

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.

“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.”

Airbus said it would start discussions regarding the “3,000 to 3,500 positions potentially impacted over the next three years.”

Described as a “hotel in the sky”, the A380 launched 14 years ago as Europe’s answer to Boeing’s superjumbo but Airbus’s bet that airlines would demand extra-big planes to fly passengers between major airport hubs failed to pay off.

Carrying about 550 passengers and with bars, beauty salons and duty free shops, the plane could fly over a range of up to 8,000 nautical miles. It was pitched at the Asia and Middle East markets, where airlines were keen to fly more people per flight.

But after an initial surge of orders, especially from Dubai-based Emirates, demand dried up and the programme has never turned a profit. The company has delivered 234 of the superjumbos to date, less than a quarter of the 1,200 it predicted.

Experts say the industry is shifting away from bigger models like the four-engine A380 in favour of smaller, wide-body jets.The trend in the market is to operate long-haul aircraft with two engines such as Boeing’s 787 and 777, and Airbus’s A330 and A350.

 



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