Airbus has announced a drastic cut in production of its flagship A380 superjumbo, acknowledging that demand has fallen far short of original projections and raising the prospect of the world’s biggest passenger plane being prematurely axed.
The build rate for the double-decker will be slashed by more than half to one plane a month by 2018, Airbus revealed on Tuesday.
Contrasting the success of the rest of the Airbus line, the company delivered the surprise damper just hours after pulling in several massive orders for its popular A320-type single-aisle jet at the Farnborough Airshow in the UK.
Having once predicted airlines would buy 1,200 supersize-planes over two decades, Airbus has settled into a far more modest reality and delivered only 193 A380s with 126 orders left to fill, some of them unlikely ever to materialise.
Interest has faded with the introduction of more efficient twin-engine wide-bodies, leaving Emirates of Dubai as the only carrier to fully embrace the giant aircraft’s potential.