Sunday, 25 August, 2019

Goodbye my love: Airbus to cancel A380 production

Airbus A380 Airbus to stop making struggling A380 superjumbo in 2021
Ginger Lawrence | 14 February, 2019, 13:11

"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", Enders said.

The company said it planned talks with unions over the potential for harm to up to 3,500 jobs connected to the superjumbo, which is assembled in France.

Airbus will end production of the A380 super jumbo after key customer Emirates chose to cancel 39 outstanding orders and just take 14 more.

It's also sad news for Emirates, which had the A380 as the backbone of its fleet, based out of Dubai, the world's busiest airport for worldwide travel.

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

Until that point Airbus, had not sold the aircraft dubbed the flying palace in more than two years.

Europe's largest aerospace group posted quarterly adjusted operating profit of 3.096 billion euros ($3.5 billion), up 56 percent from the same period in the previous year, after accelerating jetliner deliveries in the last three months to make up for earlier delays.

It took a charge of 463 million euros (406 million pounds) for shutdown costs, but is expected to be forgiven some 1 billion euros of outstanding European government loans under a funding system that stands at the centre of a trade dispute with Boeing.

Airbus said it forecasts similar profits in 2019, in line with growth in the world economy and air traffic.

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"Going forward, we are fully committed to deliver on the longstanding confidence Emirates is placing in Airbus". It is a differentiator for Emirates. With passenger numbers rising every year and major new hubs opening in markets like Dubai, the A380 seemed the obvious choice to address the need for a large people carrier, while picking market share off Boeing.

Emirates said it was "disappointed" to give up its order - citing new plane and engine technology - leaving just 14 superjumbos in the production pipeline for the Middle East carrier as it opted to pick up a total of 70 of the smaller A350 and A330neo models instead.

Emirates long has been the largest operator of the A380.

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. The European plane maker had hoped the A380 would squeeze out Boeing's 747 and revolutionise air travel as more people take to the skies.

However, airlines were reluctant to commit to the costly plane and airports had to build new runways and modify terminals to accommodate it. Despite the ability to carry up to 500-800 paying passengers onboard, the plane was simply too expensive, too fuel hungry and too big to be practical in today's world.

Airbus and Emirates declined to comment.

Commenting on the agreement on A380 deliveries, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group, said: "After many months of discussions, we have come to an agreement with Airbus and Rolls-Royce".

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