Airbus announced in February 2019 that the production of the Airbus A380 would cease in 2021. After eleven years, during which time the take up of the Super Jumbo has been less than expected, Airbus has made the hard decision.
When the A380 was launched, it was anticipated that 1,200 of the type would be produced, which would have covered development, construction and profit. The truth is that less than a quarter of that number were ordered. In the last months, we have seen airlines cancel their orders. Notably, QANTAS who received 12 of the 20 they ordered, has now cancelled the remaining 8. Virgin Atlantic cancelled their order of 6. Even Emirates, the largest customer of the type with an order of 162, are talking about reducing this order in favour of the Airbus A350-1000.
So why has the A380 not sold? There are several factors. Firstly, the expense of an aircraft that requires 4 engines to run. The overhead is far higher than the large twin-engine jets which are becoming more popular. Airlines are also challenged to fill each flight with over 500 seats to ensure profitability. In addition, airfields that can accommodate the Super Jumbo had to be heavily modified to accommodate the large jet. The theory behind the use of the A380 was dependant on a hub and spoke system. The A380 would fly between main hub cities. Travellers would then connect on to smaller regional centres. The emerging reality, however, is that many of the larger long-range twin jets can fly virtually anywhere using existing airfield facilities.
So it seems, just like the Boeing 747 8i, the A380 has been overtaken by changes in technology and market demand. The time of the oversized airliner is over.
Below are the first 8 customers to take first delivery of these flag-ships of their fleets.
Airbus A380 Launch Customers.
Airbus A380 Order Book
As of August 2020, the A380 order book looks like this:
|Total OrdersAircraft in Operation||240|
|Total OrdersNumber of Operators||15|
|Total OrdersNumber of Customers||14|
February 2019. In February we are seeing the beginning of the decline of the A380 orders. The orders dropped by 23 from 313 to 290 between January and February with cancellations by airlines like QANTAS.
Correct as at end of August 2020.
|ASIANA AIRLINES||KOREA, REPUBLIC OF||Asia||6||6||6|
|BRITISH AIRWAYS||UNITED KINGDOM||Europe||12||12||12|
|CHINA SOUTHERN AIRLINES
|EMIRATES||UNITED ARAB EMIRATES||Mid. East||123||115||115|
|ETIHAD AIRWAYS||UNITED ARAB EMIRATES||Mid. East||10||10||10|
|HI FLY MALTA||MALTA
|KOREAN AIR||KOREA, REPUBLIC OF||Asia||10||10||10|
|QATAR AIRWAYS||QATAR||Mid. East||10||10||10|
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