The end of the much-loved superjumbo, the Airbus A380, might be in sight as the manufacturer has not received any orders for the plane in two years. The company has said that if it doesn’t get any orders from Emirates, its largest A380 customer, production of the aircraft will have to end.
Airbus says that it needs to build a minimum of six A380s per year for the programme to remain financially viable. John Leahy, sales director at Airbus, said that Emirates is “probably the only one to have the ability right now on the marketplace to take a minimum of six per year on a period of eight to ten years.” He acknowledged that they would have to shut down the programme if a deal couldn’t be reached but added that he was hopeful that the negotiations will be successful. The president of Emirates Airlines, Sir Tim Clark, reportedly told the BBC that he is also optimistic that a deal can be reached.
Airbus had hoped that Emirates would place another order for the superjumbo at the Dubai Airshow last year but were left disappointed as the airliner purchased 40 of Boeing’s Dreamliners instead.
Chief operating officer Fabrice Bregier said that Airbus will still deliver the 12 A380s planned this year. “The challenge will be to maintain at least this level in the years to come,” he added.
While Airbus has its current hopes on Emirates, it will soon look to China to save the superjumbo. China is predicted to become the biggest air travel market in the world by 2022. As the demand for long-haul travel continues to rise, Airbus argues that the A380 is the ideal plane in this market due to its ability to carry more than 500 passengers.
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