Airbus has said it is pulling the plug on the A380 programme with the last deliveries of the aircraft being made by 2021.
The move comes after Dubai-based Emirates Airline cut its A380 order by 39 planes, the state-owned carrier will instead buy 40 A330neo and 30 A350 long-haul planes.
Airbus said it will start discussions with its social partners in the next few weeks regarding the 3,000 to 3,500 positions potentially impacted over the next three years which will include workers at Airbus Broughton where the wings are made.
Emirates is reducing its A380 orderbook from 162 to 123 aircraft following a review of its operations, and in light of developments in aircraft and engine technologies,
The move by Emirates means it will take delivery of 14 further A380s over the next two years but with a lack of order backlog from other airlines, Airbus will stop deliveries of the A380 in two years.
Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders said:
“As a result of this 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,”
“The consequences of this decision are largely embedded in our 2018 full year results”.
“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.”
On Valentines Day, of all days, @Airbus announces the end of #A380 production. A very sad day for an amazing aircraft which pilots & passengers love. However, large efficient 2-engined aircraft are favoured by airlines and are an easier fit at airports. 😢https://t.co/pyKiiHIlAZ pic.twitter.com/1CHlh4kooG
— Captain Dave (@DaveWallsworth) February 14, 2019
GuillaumeFaury, 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 ten years. As much as we regret the airline’s position, selecting the A330neo and A350 for its future growth is a great endorsement of our very competitive widebody aircraft family.”
“Going forward, we are fully committed to deliver on the longstanding confidence Emirates is placing in Airbus.”
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman and CEO of Emirates, said:
“While we are disappointed to have to give up our order, and sad that the program could not be sustained, we accept that this is the reality of the situation.
For us, the A380 is a wonderful aircraft loved by our customers and our crew. It is a differentiator for Emirates. We have shown how people can truly fly better on the A380.”
Airbus opened its £350 million A380 wing assembly plant at Broughton in 2003
The 900,000 square feet “west factory” at the time created 1,200 new jobs.
Airbus says the ongoing A320 ramp-up and the new widebody order from Emirates Airline will offer a significant number of “internal mobility opportunities.”
The move to end A380 production will also mean the barge operations along the River Dee will also end.
Once complete the A380 wings are transported from the factory on to the Afon Dyfrdwy barge where it travels along the River Dee and up to the port of Mostyn.
Once at Mostyn wings are loaded onto Ciudad de Cadiz, a roll on roll off ship which then sails to Pauillac, a small port near Toulouse.