Airbus will stop making the costly A380 superjumbo if it can’t strike a long-term deal with the airline Emirates for a steady supply of the planes. Abandoning the A380 would be a disappointing defeat for Airbus, which spent many years and many billions developing the double-decker behemoth, even as skeptics questioned whether it could generate enough demand to justify its cost and the bigger runways it requires.
The Dubai-based airline is the only one who has the ability to commit to a minimum of six planes a year for a minimum of eight to 10 years, which Airbus needs to make the program viable. The A380 drew worldwide attention when launched a decade ago but has always struggled to win enough customers. Airbus delivered just 15 of the planes last year, and aims to deliver 12 more this year and could scale down production to six per year after that, said Fabrice Bregier, President and COO - commercial aircraft, Airbus. Emirates now rely solely on the Airbus 380 and the Boeing 777 for its flights, making it the largest operator of both. It has over 160 Boeing 777s in its fleet today and took possession of its 100th A380 in November.
John Leahy, CEO - Commercial aircraft
“If we can’t work out a deal with Emirates, there is no choice but to shut down the program.”