Airbus Ends Production of A380, World’s Largest Passenger Plane

End of an era
Emirates A380 superjumbo passenger jet (Photo: Emirates)

A scant 11 years after entering service, the mammoth Airbus A380 superjumbo jet -- the world's largest passenger airliner-- will cease production after 2021. Only 234 A380s were produced from 2007 to January 2019.

As of January, Airbus had received 313 firm orders for the superjumbo. The future of the A380, however, hinged on Emirates pushing through with its intent to acquire 162 A380s. Emirates, the biggest A380 customer, saw fit to reduce its order to only 123 aircraft. This decision sealed the fate of the A380.

"As a result of this decision (of Emirates) 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," said Airbus CEO Tom Enders.

"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."

This is the sad end for an aircraft designed as an ultra-high-capacity airliner intended to break the stranglehold over the aircraft industry by the Boeing Company.

Emirates operates a fleet of 109 A380s. Airbus will deliver the last 14 A380s to Emirates over the next two years. On the other hand, Emirates has ordered 70 smaller aircraft from Airbus.

Airbus said Thursday it will produce 17 more A380s, including 14 for Emirates and three for Japanese airline ANA.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman, and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group said Emirates has been a staunch supporter of the A380 since its very inception.

"While we are disappointed to have to give up our order, and sad that the program could not be sustained, we accept that this is the reality of the situation."

Al Maktoum noted that for Emirates, the A380 is a wonderful aircraft loved by its customers and crews. He called the plane a differentiator for Emirates, said the BBC. Al Maktoum confirmed Emirates will continue to use the A380 well into the 2030s.

Guillaume Faury, president of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and future Airbus CEO, said the A380 is Emirates' flagship and has contributed to the airline's success for more than ten years.

"As much as we regret the airline's position, selecting the A330neo and A350 for its future growth is a great endorsement of our very competitive widebody aircraft family."

Airbus said it would start discussions with partners about firing or re-deploying 3,000 to 3,500 employees impacted by the decision over the next three years.

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