Airbus has shared that it is considering producing a new corporate jet. The design of this aircraft would be based on its A380, according to the company. With the manufacturer ceasing production of this aircraft by 2021, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some second-hand models converted into private jets.
Emirates News Agency reports on statements made by Airbus Marketing Director David Velupillai and Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders at the Dubai Airshow. The businessmen spoke about the prospect of creating a new jet for corporate use. Meanwhile, they also talked about the winding down of the A380’s production.
Giant in the sky
The A380 was first introduced in October 2007, with Singapore Airlines being the first operator. However, it’s UAE’s Emirates that is the biggest customer, with 113 of the aircraft in its fleet and a further six on order.
The largest Airbus aircraft is appreciated for its comfortable double-decked seating, with a typical capacity of 525 passengers. Therefore, it makes sense that Airbus is considering using this model as a basis for a new corporate venture.
“It’s a question of having an aircraft that is efficient and having to fill it in,” Velupillai told Emirates News Agency.
“Today, the A380 is doing a great job. There is a possibility of having a corporate jet based on A380 one day.
“A380 is a very successful aircraft. It is very successful in the UAE with Emirates and with other carriers in the region. We will definitely continue pleasing passengers because it is the most popular aircraft from a passenger point of view. It is very quiet, very comfortable. It will go into service for many years.”
Time to wind down
In addition to his colleague’s claims, Enders spoke on why his firm will cease production on the A380 family.
“As a result of this decision we have no substantial A380 backlog, hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years,” he said.
The company went on to show their appreciation of the ACJ319. Airbus says that it has the widest and tallest cabin of any business jet, which gives more comfort, space and freedom. Velupillai added that he sees in investments in this kind of aircraft as it is valuable over a long period of time.
Adding to Airbus’ success on the corporate jets, Velupillai shared why the A380 would be a great model to base a future one on.
“So, it’s a question of having an aircraft that’s efficient, and also being able to fill the aircraft,” he further told Emirates News Agency, in an interview.
“Today, the A380 is doing a great job and there is the possibility of having an aircraft based on the A380 one day,”
Velupillai furthered his point by saying that there is an emerging market for these business aircraft. He categorizes this as ‘air cruising’. This is like those that pay to cruise on a ship and hop destinations. However, there is an increase in people wanting to do the same, but on corporate jets.
With the A380 halting production in a few years, Airbus could be incentivized to use existing units as a base. This would eliminate the need for an expensive production of a whole new aircraft. The size, comfort, and high-quality feel of the plane makes it a perfect fit.
Since Airbus already wants to base a corporate jet on the A380, it would make business-sense to revamp existing ones. However, the company may have to wait until demand slows down further and when enough of the planes are replaced in existing fleets.
Nonetheless, Airbus is working to develop a second-hand market for the plane. It has already helped lease companies to find homes for the aircraft that have been returned by operators. Therefore, this is the perfect solution for the manufacturer.
Altogether, Airbus is getting ready to stop production of the plane yet it wants to create a business jet based on it. Therefore, it is natural to combine the movements and extend the life of the beloved aircraft.
Simple Flying reached out to Airbus but didn’t hear back before publication. We will update you with any further comments.
What do you think of Airbus’ decision to stop production of the A380 but create a corporate jet based on it? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.