Airbus SE decided to stop making the A380 double-decker after a dozen years in service
Production of the jumbo jet will end by 2021, after the A380’s biggest customer, Emirates, and a handful of remaining buyers receive their last orders.
The Gulf carrier will pare down its current A380 order to 14 from 53. Emirates said separately it would purchase 70 smaller A330neo and A350 widebodies listed at $21.4 billion before customary discounts.
“Today’s announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide” Airbus Chief Executive Office Tom Enders said in a statement. Airbus said as many as 3,500 jobs are affected by the decision.
The A380’s future had been in doubt for several years as orders dwindled. But in a statement on Thursday, Airbus said the “painful” decision to end production was made after Emirates reduced its latest order. The Dubai-based airline is cutting its overall A380 fleet size from 162 to 123.
Emirates said it would take delivery of 14 further A380s over the next two years, but has also ordered 70 of Airbus’ smaller A330 and A350 models.
“Emirates has been a staunch supporter of the A380 since its very inception,” said the airlines’ chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum. “While we are disappointed to have to give up our order, and sad that the programme could not be sustained, we accept that this is the reality of the situation,” he added.
Airbus said it would start discussions with partners regarding the “3,000 to 3,500 positions potentially impacted over the next three years”. Around 200 jobs in the UK could be under threat from the decision. Airbus confirmed it hopes to redeploy a “significant” number of affected staff to other projects.