Airbus’s probable backlog for the A380 is less than that for the Boeing 747-8, leaving open the possibility that production of the iconic US aircraft could yet outlast its European rival.
Middle Eastern carrier Emirates’ decision to cut its A380 order to 123 aircraft leaves just 14 outstanding A380 deliveries for the carrier, while Japan’s All Nippon Airways is set to take three.
This realistic backlog of 17 A380s – which discounts 23 other aircraft ordered but unlikely to be built – is lower than the backlog of 24 747-8s cited by Boeing at the end of 2018.
Boeing lists orders for 154 747-8s and -8Fs of which it has delivered 130. The manufacturer is producing 747s at six per year, suggesting that it has four years’ production in reserve – while the A380 has just three.
Deliveries of the A380, which first flew in 2005, are set to cease in 2021. The 747, whose production could continue to 2022, has just marked 50 years since its maiden flight in 1969.