In what might mark the end of new quad-engined jumbos, Airbus has announced that it will end production of its A380 superjumbo in 2021. It’s the largest passenger plane ever that was built to best Boeing’s iconic 747. Merely 12 years after it first took to the skies in 2007, Airbus is now ending the program.
Airbus had expected that airlines would embrace the larger plane that could travel longer distances. However, around the same time that the A380 first flew, new twin-engine jets that were more fuel efficient arrived.
The Boeing 787 uses composite materials, is extremely fuel efficient, and more comfortable for passengers as well since it’s considerably quieter. It even has the same 14,800 km range as the A380 with the equivalent consumption of 102 mpg per seat as opposed to 72 mpg per seat for the Airbus superjumbo.
Airbus has been struggling to win new orders for the plane even as airlines have opted for some of its other offerings like the A350-900 and the A350-1000. Emirates is the largest operator of the A380 and even it has decided to reduce its A380 order book by 39 aircraft to 123 from 162 aircraft previously.
Airbus will thus manufacture 14 new A380s for Emirates over the next two years. “As a consequence and given the lack of order backlog with other airlines, Airbus will cease deliveries of the A380 in 2021,” it said.