Once seen as Airbus’s signature product, the massive A380 – Europe’s delayed and exagerated response to the 747 Jumbo Jet – is in danger of being discontinued by the European aerospace giant if it fails to win a lucrative contract from the Dubai’s Emirates air line, according to Reuters. The company is already drawing up contingency plans to phase out production of the A380, the world’s largest commercial aircraft, Reuters reported.
The moment of truth for the slow-selling airliner looms after just 10 years in service and leaves one of Europe’s most visible international symbols hanging by a thread, despite a major airline investment in new cabins unveiled this month.
“If there is no Emirates deal, Airbus will start the process of ending A380 production,” a person briefed on the plans said. A supplier added such a move was logical due to weak demand.
Once considered flagship brands for their respective airlines, demand for jumbo jetliners like the A380 – which was introduced 10 years ago to help Airbus compete with the Boeing 747 – has sagged as air lines have favored smaller twin-engine aircraft that are cheaper to fuel and maintain.
Emirate has been a notable exception to this trend. The airline has long championed the A380, and has ordered a total of more than 142 total aircraft. But according to Reuters, talks between Airbus and Emirates over a new order for 36 superjumbos worth $16 billion broke down at the Dubai Airshow last month. Negotiations are said to have resumed – but a deal for the new jets is far from assured.