Tuesday 26 March 2019

'Painful' - Airbus to end production of A380 superjumbo jet after just 14 years

The company described the decision as “painful”

A Qantas A380 flies over Sydney, Australia
A Qantas A380 flies over Sydney, Australia
Emirates A380
A British Airways Airbus A380 aircraft on the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport (Hannah McKay/PA)

By Ryan Wilkinson, Press Association

Airbus has announced it will end production of its flagship A380 superjumbo, potentially putting UK jobs at risk.

The firm said it had made the “painful” decision after struggling to sell the world’s largest passenger jet and after Emirates chose to slash its A380 orderbook by around a quarter.

Due to the reduction and a lack of order backlog with other airlines, Airbus said it would end deliveries of the record-breaking plane in 2021 – just 14 years after it first entered commercial service.

Emirates is yet to take delivery of 14 of the aircraft – the wings, engines and landing gear for which are made in the UK.

Airbus said it would “start discussions with its social partners in the next few weeks regarding the 3,000 to 3,500 positions potentially impacted over the next three years”.

The BBC reported around 200 of those jobs are in Britain.

The firm said an increase in production of its A320 model would offer “a significant number of internal mobility opportunities”.

Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said: “The A380 is not only an outstanding engineering and industrial achievement. 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.

A British Airways Airbus A380 aircraft on the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport (Hannah McKay/PA)
A British Airways Airbus A380 aircraft on the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport (Hannah McKay/PA)

“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.”

Airbus said Emirates had chosen to reduce its order of A380s from 162 to 123 aircraft following a “review of its operations, and in light of developments in aircraft and engine technologies”.

Meanwhile, the UAE carrier is buying more of the smaller A330-900 and A350-900 aircraft, purchasing 40 and 30 respectively.

“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,” Mr Enders said.

“This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021. The consequences of this decision are largely embedded in our 2018 full year results.”

The Emirates order for the A330-900 and A350-900 is worth 21.4 billion US dollars (€18.9bn).

Press Association

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