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Goodbye, gentle giant: Airbus to end production of A380

NEW DELHI: Airbus will stop delivery of the world’s largest commercial airliner — the double decker A380 — in 2021. The European aircraft major reached this decision after Dubai-based mega carrier Emirates, which is the largest operator of the A380, reduced its order book for this plane by 39 from 162 to 123 aircraft. Emirates will take delivery of 14 further A380s over the next two years. “As a consequence and given the lack of order backlog with other airlines, Airbus will cease deliveries of the A380 in 2021,” the aircraft manufacturer said on Thursday.

According to Airbus website, the aircraft major had in all 313 A380s on order till January 2019 with 234 of the delivered to 16 customers. The Emirates decision to cut order by 39 may mean that in all 274 A380s were assembled during the life of this program. Singapore Airlines had received the first A380 in October 2007 and the last one is now slated to be delivered in 2021 to Emirates.

Airbus CEO Tom Enders said: “As a result of this (Emirates’) decision we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years. This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021.”

He added: “The A380 is not only an outstanding engineering and industrial achievement. Passengers all over the world love to fly on this great aircraft. Hence today’s announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide. But, keep in mind that A380s will still roam the skies for many years to come and Airbus will of course continue to fully support the A380 operators.”

Guillaume Faury, president of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and future Airbus CEO, said, “The A380 is Emirates’ flagship and has contributed to the airline’s success for more than 10 years.” While reducing its A380 order, Emirates has ordered 40 A330-900 and 30 A350-900 aircraft.

Lufthansa, Emirates and Singapore Airlines are the three airlines that fly the A380 to India. Among Indian carriers, Kingfisher was the only one that had ordered this aircraft. However, the airline shut down before it could take any of the five A380s ordered by it.

Other airlines which operate the A380 include Qatar Airways, Air France, ANA, Asiana, Korean Air, Qantas, British Airways, Etihad and Thai.

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