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A380 – Goodbye – production ceases

A380 – Goodbye – production ceases

After only 12 years in production, Airbus announced today that production of the A380 is to cease after Emirates takes delivery of 14 further A380s over the next two years.

a white airplane in the sky

It was widely rumoured that Emirates has been negotiating to change some of its Airbus orders into other models, and it appears it will convert the remaining order into 70 of Airbus’s A330 and A350 models.

Emirates will take delivery of 14 further A380s over the next two years. As a consequence and given the lack of order backlog with other airlines, Airbus will cease deliveries of the A380  in 2021.

Emirates Press Release 14 February 2019
a colorful airplane in the sky
The break up of country contributions

It was popular with passengers, so why stop?

It looks like there are a number of factors that have led to the A380 demise:

  • Complicated and expensive to build – partly due to the spread of production over various countries, and more than one place in each country. For instance there were three sites in Britain, six in Holland, seven in France and four in Spain, although some of these were logistics sites rather than construction.
  • Two engines good, four engines bad – Airbus A380 with its 4 engines could not compete with the more efficient planes such as Boeings 777 and 787, and its own A330 and A350 twin engine planes
  • The hub and spoke was overated – A380’s depend on a hub-and-spoke model: moving large numbers of people to airports with limited landing slots, before moving them on to other airports in smaller planes. Turned out, smaller more efficient two engined planes, could avoid the hubs, and fly directly to where those spokes were going to take them.
  • A plane before its time – this is arguable. Airbus was in fact working on a more efficient version of the A380 but needed sufficient launch customers to pursue it. They didn’t materialise. Maybe if it had been launched later, with the engine efficiencies available today, into an even larger travel market – like the one promised just around the corner – it might have had larger future.
a close-up of a staircase
Promo shot for those spacious interiors

As my favourite aircraft to travel in – this is a sad day for me. How about you?

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