The program was old enough not to be able to benefit in advances in composites and electrically powered subsystems that were central to the Boeing 787 and the A350, but it entered service late enough that the move from hub and spoke to point to point air travel made it difficult for the aircraft to fill its seats.
With the biggest customer for the aircraft, Emirates, cutting their order there was no path to the program ever reaching profitability, and so they pulled the plug.
It’s kind of a bummer. The A-380 is a magnificent aircraft:
Airbus announced Feb. 14 that it is terminating the A380 program.
Emirates announced it will only take 14 more A380s instead of the 53 it had on firm order so far. The order is revised and now includes 40 A330-900s and 30 A350-900s, according to a new heads of agreement.
“As a result of this decision we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years. This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021,” Airbus CEO Tom Enders said. “The consequences of this decision are largely embedded in our 2018 full year results.”
“The A380 is not only an outstanding engineering and industrial achievement. Passengers all over the world love to fly on this great aircraft,” Enders said. “Hence today’s announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide. But, keep in mind that A380s will still roam the skies for many years to come and Airbus will of course continue to fully support the A380 operators.”
I still want to take a flight in one someday.