Airbus may end production of A380 superjumbo

Posted January 16, 2018

The days may be numbered for the world's largest passenger aircraft.

While Airbus may have won the new orders race a year ago, Boeing manufactured and delivered more aircraft than the French plane maker.

In a statement, Airbus commercial aircraft chief operating officer John Leahy said the new pricing shows continuous investment to maximise customers' satisfaction.

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"If we can't work out a deal with Emirates, there is no choice but to shut down the programme", Leahy told reporters in Paris as the company reported 2017 orders.

Emirates, the government-owned, Dubai-based long-haul carrier, declined to immediately comment.

Airbus has admitted that unless it can find more buyers for its A380 superjumbo, the program may have to end.

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Airbus throughout 2017 struggled with supplier problems that slowed deliveries and raised questions over whether the company could meet targets. The company has now enjoyed 15 consecutive years of increasing production of its airliners. The Dreamliner has two engines, making it much less expensive to maintain than the four-engine A380.

Monday's announcement came as Airbus said it sold 1,109 planes year, outstripping the 912 commercial planes sold by rival Boeing thanks to a raft of end-of-year deals, a growing global economy and travel demand.

Talks between the Dubai-based airliner and Airbus for a new order for 36 superjumbos, worth $16bn, broke down last month. While it is used in the world's biggest airports including London's Heathrow and New York's JFK, the industry as a whole has moved towards smaller planes going point-to-point, reducing airlines' dependence on bigger hubs. "If people want to fly, they need to fly in bigger aircraft", he insists. Airbus said the minimum annual number it is prepared to build each year is six. Indian airlines are likely to induct over 900 aircraft in the coming years, with IndiGo, which is the largest customer for the plane-maker in the country, alone expected to add 448 planes.

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