[AVIATION] SAD, AIRBUS HAS ENDED PRODUCTION OF THE AIRBUS A380 JUMBO JETS.

[AVIATION] SAD, AIRBUS HAS ENDED PRODUCTION OF THE AIRBUS A380 JUMBO JETS.

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Thursday, 14 February 2019
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The damaged right-hand wing-tip of the Airbus A380, the world’s largest jetliner with a wingspan of almost 80 metres, is seen on the tarmac during the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget airport, near Paris, June 20, 2011.

Airbus is ending the A380 program, pulling the plug on its iconic superjumbo jet that once promised to revolutionize commercial air travel but failed to deliver on outsized expectations.

The European plane maker said Thursday that it will stop delivering A380s in 2021 after its key customer, Dubai-based airline Emirates, slashed its orders for the huge jetliner.
“We have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years,” Airbus CEO Tom Enders said in a company statement. The decision could hit as many as 3,500 jobs at the manufacturer over the next three years.

The decision to halt production of the A380 superjumbo is the final act in one of Europe’s greatest industrial adventures and reflects a dearth of orders by airline bosses unwilling to back Airbus’s vision of huge jets to combat airport congestion.

Air traffic is growing at a near-record pace but this has mainly generated demand for twin-engined jets nimble enough to fly directly to where people want to travel, rather than bulky four-engined jets forcing passengers to change at hub airports.
And while loyal supporters like top customer Emirates say the popular 544-seat jet makes money when full, each unsold seat potentially burns a hole in airline finances because of the fuel needed to keep the huge double-decker structure aloft.
“It’s an aircraft that frightens airline CFOs; the risk of failing to sell so many seats is just too high,” said a senior aerospace industry source familiar with the program.

Once hailed as the industrial counterpart to Europe’s single currency, the demise of a globally recognized European symbol coincides with growing political strains between Britain, France, Germany and Spain where the plane is built.
That’s in stark contrast to the display of European unity and optimism when the engineering behemoth was unveiled in front of European leaders under a spectacular light show in 2005.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair called the A380 a “symbol of economic strength” while Spanish premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero called the rollout “the realization of a dream”.
Passengers marveled at the European giant with room for 70 cars on its wings, looking rather like the hump-backed Boeing 747 but with the top section stretching all the way to the back.
Airlines had initially rushed to place orders, expecting it to lower operating costs and boost profits as the industry crawled out of a slowdown in tourism since September 2001.
Airbus boasted it would sell 700-750 A380s, which nowadays cost $446 million at list prices, and render the 747 obsolete.
In fact, A380 orders barely crossed the 300 threshold and the 747 has outlived its rival, after reaching the age of 50 this week.

Many invested in the A380 as their flagship while airports also spent heavily on new facilities.
Some customers like Air France and Lufthansa may not shed too many tears, analysts say.
They too invested in the A380 but may also be relieved to see a potent weapon removed from Gulf rivals like Emirates, whom they accuse of flooding the market.
Emirates insists it plays fairly and has called the A380 a “passenger magnet,” misunderstood and badly marketed by rivals.
Its chairman said on Thursday he was disappointed in the A380’s demise, but added “we accept that this is the reality of the situation”.

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,” Enders said. “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.

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