Outgoing Airbus chief executive Tom Enders describes as “painful” the decision to close the A380 programme, maintaining that the double-deck type remains an “outstanding” achievement.
The airframer puts the cost of axing the A380 at €463 million, the company has disclosed in its full-year financial results.
Airbus has already slowed A380 production to a trickle, with just eight due for delivery this year, and the future of A380 production had hinged on continued interest from Dubai-based Emirates, by far the largest customer for the aircraft.
Emirates had provided Airbus with a degree of optimism that, even at a reduced output as low as six aircraft per year, the airframer would be able to keep the A380 line open long enough to secure further customers.
But Enders says a revision of Emirates’ order backlog – cutting the number of A380s for the carrier by 39 – has sealed the programme’s fate, and it will “wind down” production of the jet.
“We have no sustainable A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years,” says Enders, who is due to step down from his post in April.
He says the A380 is an “outstanding engineering and industrial achievement”, adding: “[This] announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide.”
But over 230 of the jets have already been delivered and Enders points out that this means they will “roam the skies for many years to come”.
He says the consequences of the A380 programme closure – with final deliveries in 2021 – are “largely embedded” in the company’s full-year financial results.