European plane manufacturer Airbus has taken the “painful” decision to cease deliveries of the A380 in 2021.
The news comes after key partner Emirates cut its orderbook from 162 to 123 of the superjumbo.
The aircraft has struggled to compete with more efficient, smaller models in recent years.
As newer planes have become more efficient, carriers have tended to offer more ‘point to point’ services and the expense of ‘hub and spoke’ models.
Emirates said its decision came in light of developments in aircraft and engine technologies.
The Dubai-based carrier will take delivery of a further 14 A380s before 2021.
“As a result of this decision we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years.
“This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021,” said Airbus chief executive Tom Enders.
“The consequences of this decision are largely embedded in our 2018 full year results.”
Airbus has delivered 234 of the superjumbos to date, from an orderbook of 313.
This is less than a quarter of the 1,200 planes Airbus predicted it would sell when it first introduced the double-decker aircraft in the early 2000s.
Emirates has decided to continue growing with Airbus’ newest generation, flexible widebody aircraft, ordering 40 A330-900 and 30 A350-900 aircraft.
“The A380 is not only an outstanding engineering and industrial achievement.
“Passengers all over the world love to fly on this great aircraft.
“Hence today’s announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide.
“But, keep in mind that A380s will still roam the skies for many years to come and Airbus will of course continue to fully support the A380 operators,” Enders added.
Airbus said it would start discussions with its partners in the next few weeks regarding the 3,000 to 3,500 positions potentially impacted over the next three years.
The ongoing A320 ramp-up and the new widebody order from Emirates would, however, offer a significant number of internal mobility opportunities, the manufacturer said.
“The A380 is Emirates’ flagship and has contributed to the airline’s success for more than ten years.
“As much as we regret the airline’s position, selecting the A330neo and A350 for its future growth is a great endorsement of our very competitive widebody aircraft family,” said Guillaume Faury, president of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and future Airbus chief executive.
“Going forward, we are fully committed to deliver on the longstanding confidence Emirates is placing in Airbus.”
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