Airbus could abandon A380 superjumbo jet production amid lackluster sales

Gladys Abbott
January 16, 2018

European planemaker Airbus has said it will stop making its A380 "superjumbo" if it does not get any more orders.

He said talks with Emirates were ongoing and that he was hopeful a deal would be worked out.

'We are still talking to Emirates, but honestly they are probably the only one to have the ability right now on the market place to take a minimum of six per year on a period of 8 to 10 years, ' Leahy said.

Both Emirates and Airbus are keen to reach a deal to protect their investment.

Emirates is the largest operator of A380s globally with 100 A380s in operation and 42 more on order.

Some industry sources have questioned whether Airbus was forced to slash prices in order to bring in the record harvest of more than 800 orders in December, which included the sale of 430 jets via one US investor.

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Emirates is the only airline with enough capacity to take enough planes to keep the program alive, Airbus sales chief John Leahy said Monday in an online presentation. Emirates has urged Airbus to market the aircraft more widely across the world to ensure future production of the jet. "We can sell at that level until the market picks up", he says.

The A380 has a list price of $437 million (€535 million), and as of December it had booked 317 orders for the plane. Next to go will be commercial aircraft chief operating officer and president of Commercial Aircraft Fabrice Brégier, who leaves next month.

Airbus achieved 1,109 net orders from 44 customers during the year - representing a book-to-bill ratio of 1.5.

Airbus has held an order lead over Boeing since 2012, helped by Mr Leahy, who is set to retire in the coming weeks and be replaced by Eric Schulz, the former head of aerospace at engine maker Rolls-Royce Holdings.

Following another "miraculous" December, Airbus Commercial Aircraft posted record deliveries of 718 aircraft, along with 1,109 net orders for the full year.

Airbus instead ended the year with an industry record backlog of 7,265 planes to be built, with production stretching well into the next decade.

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