What started as a major engineering feat has come to an end. The Airbus A380 is has been canceled, with production ending in 2021 after fulfilling its current back orders. With the A380 model only being active since 2008, why would Airbus be ending production so soon?
Troubles With Airbus A380 Model
The Airbus A380 Model began to have its issues long before the first planes were delivered. The A380 is a super jumbo passenger jet developed by Airbus to compete with the Boeing 747. The success of the A380, however, hasn’t been close to what the company has predicted.
Many of the issues with the Airbus A380 aircraft which lead to the decision to end production have been centered on financial matters. Airbus has invested billions of Euros in the A380 project, only to project that it won’t break-even. The demand for the model hasn’t been close to what was expected. In the case of the Airbus A380, the airlines have been a significant barrier more than trends in the airline industry. The high price tag, high operational costs, and overall efficiency of the aircraft have halted many carriers from investing in the model.
What Does This Mean For Airbus?
The production of the Airbus A380 was expected to carve out a new niche for air travel; a niche that should have attracted aircraft buyers to line up to buy the jumbo jet. With plans to cease production within the next couple years, Airbus is now turning their attention to consumer behavior.
Although the A380 was debuted in 2008, rumors of its cancellation began to arise as early as 2014. Airline companies initially expecting to invest in the model lost faith in the delivery and servicing of the A380, leading to order changes. The largest customer of the A380, Emirates, decreased their order from over 50 aircrafts to just 14.
Consumer behavior is altering the types of aircraft investments that airlines are making. The A380 superjumbo jet would have been the perfect aircraft for operating between major hubs around the world such as New York, London, Dubai, and Shanghai. Travelers, however, are changing their preference from stopping through airport hubs to flying more direct to their end destinations. While the major hubs can host a large aircraft such as the A380, other airports can’t support it.
Advancing technology is allowing smaller airplanes to fly farther and at a cheaper cost. Airbus is shifting their focus to tailor to this market by continuing to develop their models, and potentially new models in the small- to mid-range aircraft size to match consumer behavior.
The announcement of the cancellation of the Airbus A380 model will affect over 3,000 jobs. The company still plans to keep many of these jobs available, just transitioning their focus to the production of their other more popular models such as the A320 which has a large back order.
The Airbus A380 model was an overall unsuccessful project for the company. The timing of the aircraft came at a period when air travel is becoming less a luxury and just another means of transportation. Shifting behaviors in the industry are affecting how carriers as making their investments in newer aircrafts. The question remains open to how Airbus will respond to the latest industry trends and what products they will reveal as a result.