We all expected it to happen, but now it is a reality. Airbus has officially ended its A380 program. The aircraft manufacturer released the following statement:
“Following a review of its operations, Emirates is reducing its A380 orderbook by 39 aircraft with 14 A380s remaining in the backlog yet to be delivered to Emirates. As a consequence of this decision and given the lack of order backlog with other airlines, deliveries of the A380 will cease in 2021.”
Just a year ago, Airbus announced that the A380 program would live for at least another 10 years, or even become sustainable, after Emirates had placed a firm order for 20 aircraft with an option to purchase 16 additional A380s.
But now things have changed. Airlines canceled orders for the aircraft, and the demand was simply not enough for the program to survive.
Nonetheless, as Simple Flying reported the other day, the termination of the Airbus A380 program could actually be a good thing for Airbus. The aircraft manufacturer will have more resources to devote to successful and profitable product lines.
How many A380s did Airbus sell?
Airbus received a total of 313 firm orders for the aircraft. Most of these were placed by Emirates (162 orders) followed by Singapore Airlines (24 orders). To date, 234 aircraft have been delivered. Some of the open orders will be converted to orders for other aircraft. The remaining orders will be filled with A380s in the next couple of years.
By the way, in 2018 the list price of the A380 was $445.6 million.
Did the Airbus A380 program actually ever turn a profit?
Airbus spent about 25 billion Euro on the A380 program. This is more than twice as much as Airbus had planned to spend on the project originally.
Bloomberg reported in 2015 that “[o]ne modest success that Airbus aims to celebrate this year is that it no longer produces each A380 at a loss, though the company admits the overall program itself will never recoup its $25 billion investment.”
Accordingly, Airbus was barely able to break even on production costs four years ago. The amortization of the original investment was not considered in this equation.
Based on this information, we can assume that the Airbus A380 program never turned a profit when we consider the huge investment the aircraft manufacturer made to start the program.
The A380 has been a popular aircraft among aviation enthusiasts and passengers alike. Even though Airbus will end the program in 2021, we will most likely see the aircraft for years to come.
Airbus admitted that it was probably ten years too late when it introduced the A380. Some people say that the project was doomed to fail from the beginning. Additionally, it looks like Airbus never even came close to making a profit with the airplane.
Nonetheless, we are glad we got to experience what a mega-aircraft looks and feels like.
Have you ever traveled on the A380? Share your experience with us!