Goodbye, gentle giant: Airbus to end production of A380

Airbus A380

Goodbye, gentle giant: Airbus to end production of A380

Advances in engine technology meant planes no longer needed four engines to fly long distances - and carriers were able to use a new generation of light, fuel-efficient, twin-engined aircraft to link secondary cities, bypassing the crowded hubs altogether.

Making its maiden flight in 2005, the A380 was a major step in Airbus's efforts to compete on equal terms with Boeing and challenge what had been a cash cow for its arch-rival. Hence today's announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide.

Emirates salvaged Airbus' A380 production in January of past year with a firm order for 20 more jets after the future of the superjumbo was in question.

Airbus itself acknowledged that timing may not have been on its side with the A380.

Despite the Emirates reducing its orders for the iconic superjumbo, it struck a deal worth $21.4bn placing a new order for 70 of the smaller A350 and A330 neo models partially restoring a purchase of A350 aircraft which it cancelled in 2014. "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", said Guillaume Faury, President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and future Airbus CEO.

Sensing a change in direction, both Airbus and Boeing started to develop large aircraft that had a focus on fuel efficiency and range. In 2017, Emirates signed an order for 40 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner. Rolls-Royce also produces engines for the aircraft.

But Airbus still had a super jumbo sized problem, having a large factory devoted to a building an aircraft that the market didn't want.

And like dominos, the reports started coming in.

Where did Airbus go wrong?

They are well aware that if they give up talent, Boeing will be waiting in the wings (bad pun sorry!) to snap them up.

This decision, as well as a lack of order backlog with fellow airlines, will see Airbus end deliveries of the record-breaking double-decker aircraft in 2021 - just 14 years after it first entered commercial service.

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

Intermediary cities are growing nearly twice as fast as megacities, according to a 2018 paper posted by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and That's a boon for twinjets like the Boeing 787 and 777 or Airbus's own A350, which has outsold the A380 three to one. For us, the A380 is a wonderful aircraft loved by our customers and our crew. It is a differentiator for Emirates.

Airbus had faced scepticism over the A380's future since the 1990s, when it began to envision a competitor to the hugely popular 747 from United States archrival Boeing. We fear that their time may never come again. The European plane maker had hoped the A380 would squeeze out Boeing's 747 and revolutionize air travel as more people take to the skies.

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