Airbus Delivered Just 8 A380 Superjumbos In 2019

Airbus only built and delivered a total of eight A380 aircraft in 2019, down from 12 in 2018 and 15 in 2017. This move highlights the declining production of the type, as Airbus prepares to build and deliver the final few aircraft.

Airbus only built and delivered eight A380s this year. Photo: Getty

What are the details

Today, Airbus released its financial reports for the year of 2019 (not the financial year, but the total for the chronological year). In the report, Airbus outlined the final production numbers for each aircraft type that they produce:

“A record 863 commercial aircraft were delivered (2018: 800 aircraft), comprising 48 A220s, 642 A320 Family, 53 A330s, 112 A350s, and 8 A380s” – Airbus 2019 financial results press release. 

Of note are the eight Airbus A380 aircraft that Airbus delivered in 2019. These eight aircraft were mostly delivered to Airbus’ biggest A380 customer – Emirates. However, ANA also took ownership of its A380 fleet in 2019, beginning in March.

All Nippon Airways, ANA, Airbus A380
The first ANA Airbus A380 was painted in an ANA blue paint scheme to represent the Hawaiian Sky. Photo: Airbus

Additionally of note is the news that Airbus is slowing down its A330 production to support its A350 production, as its backlog of the latter increases.

Why was the A380 production so low?

The way that Airbus is handling the closure of the A380 program is to slowly tap the brakes. Instead of continuing at full force, Airbus has seen that they can effectively ‘milk’ the production until 2022 to ensure that their teams are fully employed and that they are prepared to shift resources completely when the time comes.

Ideally, Airbus has been moving teams and resources to other aircraft production bit by bit as they reduced the total A380 aircraft they produce. Once the A380 program is complete, they will use the production line to get through the impressive backlog of A320 aircraft.

“Airbus is discussing further ramp-up potential for the A320 programme beyond rate 63 per month with the supply chain, and already sees a clear path to further increase the monthly production rate by 1 or 2 for each of the 2 years after 2021.”

Currently, the Airbus A320 backlog sits at around 5,958, including 19 A319ceos, 56 A319neos, 118 A320ceos, 3,745 A320neos, 113 A321ceos and 1,907 A321neos.

Airbus A320neo
The A320neo has been the most popular aircraft for Airbus, far more than the A380. Photo: Airbus

Is slow production profitable for Airbus?

According to the Airbus financial report, the manufacturer actually lost money on the A380 program last year. Its EBIT (Earnings before interest and taxes) was “€ -202 million related to A380 programme cost,” which is thought to be related to the cost of canceling the program.

The A380 has never reached break even point for Airbus. Now, with production due to cease in 2021, it never will.

What do you think about this news? Do you think that Airbus is making the right move? Let us know in the comments.