Early this morning the big european manufacturer announced that they would end the production of the world’s biggest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380-800. This is following the decision of the UAE airline Emirates to reduce their orders, and compensate it with Airbus A350 and Airbus A330-900neo.  The last delivery is planned for 2021, the aircraft should still be in the skies for the next 15 years.

Lufthansa Airbus A380 upon landing in Los Angeles / Picture by Alex Crail, YourAviation

Airbus announced on Thursday morning in Toulouse the end of an era. The production of the Airbus A380 will be stopped as of 2021 when the last aircraft will be delivered to the UAE Airline Emirates. This rumor has been known in the aviation for the last few days, and was confirmed by the enterprise in the early morning. This follows the cancellation of another big Emirates A380 order. The Airline is reducing their order from 162 to 123 planes. Whilst the airline will take delivery of their last 14 Airbus A380 that are still outstanding production, they announced minutes after the press release of Airbus that they would order 40 Airbus A330-900neo  and 30 Airbus A350-900. The order is surprisingly new and worth a list price of 21.4 billion USD.

Official Emirates Twitter

The Airbus A380 is definitely a great aircraft but it has been deemed financially unprofitable to operate it as airlines prefer fuel efficient twin engined aircraft instead. The A380 makes perfect sense for airlines who wish to operate into slot constraint airports like London Heathrow, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Emirates is an exception for making a success out of its hub and spoke model of aviation.

But the global trend in the aviation industry is moving towards point to point model. This allows airlines to operate modest sized aircraft like the Dreamliner on long and thin routes connecting city pairs that wouldn’t have been efficient using four engined aircraft. With that, airlines can increase the frequency based on demand in order to have a better load factor.

China Southern Airbus A380 in Los Angeles, Picture by Alex Crail, YourAviation

It is evident that airlines are struggling to fill their A380s and sometimes the loads are below the break even point, which translates to lost revenue. With major airlines, like Qantas and Qatar Airways reworking their fleet with more and more twin engined fuel efficient aircraft.This clearly shows that airlines are willing to look beyond the A380 for their future plans. This is a bold move considering the aircraft type is in service for about 12 years now. With Emirates, the largest operator of the Airbus A380, ordering the Airbus A330 NEO and Airbus A350-900 it further validates this notion.

The news aren’t very surprising. Many people are sad on this day, as the A380 will disappear very soon after its creation. To compare the Boeing 747 just turned 50 years old, a number that the “Whale of the skies” will probably never reach. Already last year Airbus announced they would shut down the production line if Emirates wouldn’t place a new order. After an order for 60 planes was placed, the announced they would continue the production for some time. What happened today is a logical follow of the last months happenings. The end of the A380 will make place for the final production line of the Airbus A350 & A330neo as orders are increasing more every year.

The decision is sad but logical & very smart. We wish Airbus, Emirates & all involved partners all the best for the future. The A380 will never be forgotten. You can watch our A380 review of Emirates here:

https://youtu.be/BhkeoHYDYL4


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