Feb. 14 (UPI) — Airbus said Thursday it will end production in two years of its A380 superjumbo — the world’s largest airliner — after the model’s chief carrier cut back its most recent order.
The airplane maker said in a statement production will stop in 2021 after it delivers the last orders.
Emirates Airlines, Airbus’ chief client for the A380, will receive its last 14 models over the next two years, but also opted to order dozens of smaller A330-900 and A350-900 aircraft. Japanese airline ANA will receive three A380s before production is shut down.
“The A380 is not only an outstanding engineering and industrial achievement, passengers all over the world also love to fly on this great aircraft,” Airbus CEO Tom 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.”
The first A380 flew for Singapore Airlines in 2007, but expected sales didn’t materialize due to concerns about the plane’s fuel cost and environmental impact, It became the flagship commercial aircraft of Dubai-based Emirates, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates.
“Emirates has been a staunch supporter of the A380 since its very inception,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group, said in a statement on Thursday. “While we are disappointed to have to give up our order, and sad that the program could not be sustained, we accept that this is the reality of the situation.”