Airbus Could Have Continued To Make The A380 On A Bespoke Basis

Emirates CEO Tim Clark recently revealed that Airbus could have continued to make the A380 for the carrier on a bespoke basis. The quotes were made to Airline Ratings in an interview earlier this week.

Emirates, Bespoke, Airbus A380
Emirates is the world’s largest Airbus A380 operator. Photo: Emirates

The Airbus A380 is known around the world as the giant of the skies. With two complete passenger decks, it is the largest aircraft in passenger service. The aircraft took its first flight in 2005, entering service with Singapore Airlines in 2007. However, earlier this year Airbus pulled the plug on the gentle giant. Now, only a handful of the aircraft remains to be built at the Airbus factory in Toulouse.

Farewell A380

Airbus decided to end sales of the Airbus A380 in February, putting a huge dampener on Valentine’s day. The aircraft manufacturer took the tough decision following dwindling sales. In fact, the first airlines, such as Singapore, had already begun to retire the aircraft.


Somebody had to call time on the program, and in the end, Emirates cut their order for the craft. Emirates traded a number of A380 orders for the Airbus A330neo and A350. As a result of the closure of the program, ANA became the last airline to receive its first A380 earlier this year.

Emirates, Bespoke, Airbus A380
Airbus is set to stop building the A380. Photo: Airbus

Airbus could have built more A380s

Emirates’ CEO, Tim Clark, has revealed to Airline Ratings that Airbus could have continued to construct the Airbus A380 for the Middle Eastern carrier. However, due to the closure of the program, the aircraft would have been constructed on a bespoke basis.

Clark told the publication: “In November 2018 we had a grown-up discussion with Toulouse. It was clear to us that Toulouse was struggling with the aeroplane. They would have continued to build it but on a bespoke basis which would have cost a fortune.”


Not the end of the A380 yet!

However, while Airbus has axed the sale of new Airbus A380s, it is not the end of the road for the type yet. For starters, Airbus is actively working on the second-hand market for the A380. So far this has seen Hi Fly take delivery of one of the aircraft.

Emirates, Bespoke, Airbus A380
Hi Fly became the first second-hand operator of the Airbus A380. Photo: Airbus

With a large fleet of over 100 A380s, it will take Emirates a while to retire the A380. In fact, the airline will continue to operate a sizeable fleet of the aircraft through the next decade at least. British Airways’ owner IAG is also happy with the A380’s performance. It is currently last to receive the new Club Suite in 2025, meaning that the airline will likely operate the aircraft until the late 2020s. To do otherwise would be a waste of money to refurbish the aircraft’s interiors.

Should Emirates had continued to accept the A380 on a bespoke basis? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!


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High Mile Club

I’m gonna say no because if there was only 1 airline that would’ve continued to buy the plane, that places a financial burden on the manufacturer. It’s like continuing to build a series of cars only one person wants but no one else will buy. Is that one customer going to help foot the bill for keeping the product running?


There are actually plenty of examples in the transport industry of bespoke projects. For example:
– Many trains, metros and trams are made to specification for a particular user;
– Most ships and ferries are custom-made.
When you think about it, it has also happened in the airline industry, to a certain extent: just look at the small numbers of “niche aircraft” such as the Beluga, Antonov 225, 747 SP, etc.


If they made the A380 more fuel efficient I reckon it would have been a perfect Ultra Long Haul plane! Especially for Qantas’s project sunrise.


I wonder did Airbus ever try to just strap 4 Trent XWB or Trent 7000 engines onto an A380 to test its performance?
With just a modest improvement in fuel burn, it could comfortably fly any 20 hour route (it can currently fly 17h 10m).

Richard Allison

Also the wing can take mtow of over 600t so extra fuel would be easy relatively speaking.


Probably no. Because the Trent XWB is a really heavy engine and it would require strengthening of the wings. Airbus was actually waiting for the RR Ultrafan but Emirates couldn’t come to a deal with RR for the 40 they ordered.
Pity, Had airbus broker a deal with both Emirates and RR, we might have seen the day the RR Ultrafan get strapped on an A380.


OK, then: same question with a Trent 10…which is lighter than the current Trent 900s on the A380, and produces comparable thrust…

Nate Dogg

To suggest the wing couldn’t take the extra 2.5 tonnes per wing in increased engine weight is just stupid especially when those wings take about 100 tonnes of fuel in each of them. A software adjustment to offset the increased weight against fuel load is not difficult. That wing was built for an A380-900 that would’ve required more power in the 1st place. Regarding Emirates and RR….Tim Clark tried to railroad RR into supplying the Trent 900’s at a loss. It was a stupid thing to do. Why would they divert resources to a loss maker when they could use… Read more »


Hmm🤔I dont know if the future to fly like the Emirates A380-800🤔 its so big, and you can talk with each other with no problem beacause its so quiet in the air. If they put on another engines and update aircraft like A350, I think the A380-800 will have a long future in the air

Sunn Childe

Last I heard British Airways wanted a few more of them for their long-haul flights, but they didn’t want to pay the price tag. Perhaps they will step up in the secondary market.


How many airlines flew the 380 in max capacity passanger configuration