Airbus could abandon A380 superjumbo amid lackluster sales

Chelsea West
January 16, 2018

Airbus said Monday it will stop making the costly A380 superjumbo jet if the European multinational corporation doesn't land a long-term deal with the Emirates airline for a steady supply of the planes. The business said not only was that a new industry record, but it was the sixth consecutive year which Boeing has delivered the most planes over a calendar year.

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, CEO Fabrice Bregier said.

The A380, with a theoretical maximum capacity of 853 passengers, is the world's largest passenger jet.

Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, reported Monday that it delivered 718 planes in 2017, fewer than Boeing's 763 but still a record for Airbus.

Discussions on a possible order are ongoing with Emirates, which runs 101 of the 222 A380s in operation worldwide, Airbus' chief operating officer for customers, John Leahy, said. "If people want to fly, they need to fly in bigger aircraft", he insists.

The company said the program's future depends on Emirates, describing it as the only airline that has the ability to order enough planes to keep it running.

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"It's a strong market and it's recovering".

Both Emirates and Airbus are keen to reach a deal to protect their investment. Aircraft sales are commonly made at confidential negotiated prices.

Airbus did not book any orders for the A380 previous year, the company said Monday. Airbus has said Chief Executive Tom Enders will depart next year.

Airbus throughout 2017 struggled with supplier problems that slowed deliveries and raised questions over whether the company could meet targets.

Deliveries were dominated by the single-aisle A320, with a total of 558 in 2017 as Airbus moves toward production of 60 planes a month across its assembly lines. "At the end of 2017 Airbus' overall backlog stood at 7,265 aircraft valued at US$1.059 trillion at list prices".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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