Airbus announced on February 14 that it will stop the production of the A380, the world’s biggest passenger plane, by 2021.
The announcement came after Dubai-based Emirates Airlines slashed its planned fleet size of A380s by 39 aircraft, from 162 to 123. Emirates will now only take 14 additional A380s over the next two years. The company will instead purchase 70 smaller A330neo and A350 wide-bodied jets. Three will be delivered to Japan’s ANA airlines.
The A380 was the European answer to the US’ Boeing 747, but the former entered the market at a time when most airlines were changing over to smaller and faster aircraft. Airlines were reluctant to use a place that was difficult to fill, given 500 passenger capacity. With four rather than two engines, it was also costly to fly.
The first commercial flight of the €400 million A380 was carried out by Singapore Airlines in 2007. The project barely survived the 2008 financial crisis thanks mainly to its two major customers – Emirates and Singapore airlines.