Airbus look to end A380 programme – “a big blow for the area”
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.
It’s not known exactly how many jobs will be affected at the Broughton site but media reports suggest ‘several hundred.’
Airbus has said it is ramping up its A320 production and the new widebody order from Emirates Airline will offer a “significant number of internal mobility opportunities.”
Today Ken Skates, Minister for Economy and Transport said: “Airbus is one of the crown jewels of the Welsh economy. The many thousands of high quality jobs it supports both directly at its sites in Broughton and in Newport, as well as in the wider supply chain, are hugely important to Wales. I am in regular dialogue with senior management at Airbus and spoke again with Broughton Plant Manager Paul McKinlay this morning.
“While news that production of the Airbus A380 will come to an end in 2021 is disappointing, I know that the superb management and workforce, the high productivity levels of the plants in Wales and their excellent industrial relations put them in a strong position to develop for the future.
“I have today reiterated to the company the Welsh Government’s determination to do all it can to support that work. The Welsh Government is investing significantly in supporting the long-term resilience of the North Wales economy, including £20m in a new Advanced Manufacturing Research Facility (AMRI). We will do all we can to support the company to attract the vital ‘Wing of Tomorrow’ project and continue to keep these high quality manufacturing jobs in Wales.”
MP Mark Tami said: “The news is obviously disappointing. The A380 is an iconic aircraft that has been a big part of this area’s most recent history. I remember the excitement surrounding it when it did a fly-over and when the first wings were sent to Mostyn Docks.”
“It is therefore a big blow for the area, but a blow that is somewhat softened with the increased orders of the A330 and the A350. I know Airbus have been moving employees from the A380 programme for some time and they have stated that they will do their utmost to redeploy employees where they can so I hope job losses will be kept to a minimum.
“A big problem for this area is that we have a great big specifically designed factory that I’d hate to see become empty. The current orders still need to be finished and I hope Airbus will find other means for the factory before 2021”
Unite national officer for aerospace Rhys McCarthy said: “This is a sad day for Airbus’s dedicated UK workforce, who have made the iconic A380’s wings since it entered service in 2007. It is a much-loved aircraft manufactured by a highly skilled workforce.
“Unite will be seeking urgent assurances from Airbus that there will be no job losses because of the decision to end production of the A380.
“We are of the firm belief that with a full order book in single-aisle planes, such as the A320, that our members affected can be redeployed on to other work in Airbus.
“Our members in the supply chain making many of the parts for the A380 are also our key concern. Over the coming days we will be engaging closely with companies such as GKN to ensure any impact is minimal as we offer our full support to some of the best aerospace workers in the world.”
Airbus announced this morning that 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.”
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.