Airbus and Emirates reach agreement on A380 fleet

19 Février, 2019, 05:00 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Airbus to axe its A380s the world's largest aircraft in 2021

Emirates switched its orders from the A380 to 40 A330neo and 30 A350 jets instead, Airbus said, adding that it will deliver the last 14 A380s on Emirates' orderbook over the next two years.

Analysts had warned that Airbus wouldn't start to recover the roughly 25 billion euros in investment and production costs unless at least 400 planes were sold, and possibly up to 600.

Europe's one the greatest industrial adventures had come to an end with the decision of Airbus of halting their production of the A380 Superjumbo.

With the reduced orders from Emirates, the A380's biggest client, Airbus said its order book now stood at just 274 planes. "The addition of Airbus A330-900 and Airbus A350-900 aircraft to the Emirates fleet will make the airline one of the largest users of Trent engines in the world and we look forward to continuing to support them and their customers".

The programme's future had been in doubt for years as Airbus slowed production, and the company acknowledged last year that the A380 would be scrapped if no new orders came in.

The end of the Airbus A380 is hardly a surprise for the industry as airlines increasingly turned towards smaller and more fuel-efficient jets and the program became heavily reliant on its biggest customer Emirates.

Chris Cholerton, president - civil aerospace at Rolls-Royce, said: "We welcome the news that Emirates is further extending its relationship with Airbus and Rolls-Royce". Hence today's announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide.

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Rhys McCarthy of Britain's Unite union said it was "a sad day for Airbus's dedicated United Kingdom workforce".

The decision could hit as many as 3,500 jobs at the manufacturer, whose operations span four major European countries, over the next three years.

U.S. rival Boeing said in January that it would build as many as 905 planes this year. Advancements in technology meant that twin-engine planes such as the Boeing Dreamliner 787 and the Airbus A350 were more economically feasible on long-haul routes compared to the fuel-guzzling plane with at least 500 seats that few carriers could operate at full capacity.

Passengers marveled at the European giant with room for 70 cars on its wings, looking rather like the hump-backed Boeing 747 but with the top section stretching all the way to the back. Yet the airline has chose to move past the plane. The A380 programme faced early problems in its development stage that delayed the project and when it began its first commercial flight in 2007, the global economic crisis was looming ahead, making airlines hesitant to adopt the jet in their fleets during hard times.

Production problems, including extensive wiring issues, and cost overruns in the billions of euros continued to plague the project, forcing Airbus to report its first-ever annual loss for the 2006 financial year.

Emirates insists it plays fairly and has called the A380 a "passenger magnet", misunderstood and badly marketed by rivals.

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