The superjumbo A380 will soon be known as one of the shortest lived model in the history of aviation owing to bad business planning and the faulty predictions for the future of aviation, after Airbus announced the closure of the program by 2021.
The aircraft which has been in production for 12 years was originally produced to set higher standards for the definition of luxury up in the horizons but little did it know that not many airlines would be on board with such a lavish amount of expenditure.
The unit cost of A380 as of 2018 is said to be US$445.6 million which is reason enough for many carriers to back out from acquiring it - only 15 carriers have ordered it in total.
Out of the 15, Emirates is by far the biggest user, operating almost half of all its flights with the A380 and has been an anchor for the economic stability of the said Airbus by giving its' gigantic wings the opportunity to soar among the clouds.
But jumbo sizes and clouds do not mix well and turbulence in the service of the aircraft was inevitable due to which the anchors' rope was cut short and the orders halved for its production making the aircraft set course for landing prior to its planned destination.
2021 is said to be the last year for the production of the Airbus A380. This decision was announced by Airbus in February 2019 after Emirates, the largest known operator of the Airbus A380 cancelled orders for 40 aircraft and showed more interest in ordering Airbus A330NEOs and Airbus A350s instead.
Why would 2021 be the last year to witness the production of A380? The answer is simple.
While Emirates decided to favor other aircraft instead of A380, most of the other operators of A380 followed suit as well taking with them the backbone for the A380s economic reliance.
Until March 2019 there were 15 operates for this superjumbo aircraft with 232 aircraft in service.
1- Air France (10 aircraft in service.)
2- All Nippon Airways (1 delivered.)
3- Asiana Airlines (6 in service.)
4-British Airways (12 in service.)
5- China Southern Airlines (5 in service.)
6- Emirates (107 in service.)
7-Etihad (10 in service.)
8-Hi Fly Malta (2 in service.)
9-Korean Air (10 in service.)
10-Lufthansa (14 in service.)
11-Malaysian Airlines (6 in service.)
12-Qantas (12 in service.)
13-Qatar Airways (10 in service.)
14-Singapore Airlines (19 in service.)
15- Thai Airways (6 in service.)
Most of the above operators of the Airbus A380 have favored to operate other aircraft rather than ordering more Airbus A380's.
British Airways favored the Boeing 777X over the Airbus A380 and have already ordered 42 B777X comprising 18 firm orders and 24 options.
Lufthansa have announced they would sell 6 of their Airbus A380's back to Airbus and replace them with the Boeing 777X citing economic reasons. Lufthansa have also ordered 20 Boeing 787s and 20 additional A350s increasing the order of Airbus A350s to 45 aircraft giving the company more flexibility and increasing its efficiency and competitiveness.
Qantas had 20 Airbus A380s on order. The carrier has 12 aircraft in service and has already announced the cancellation of the 8 aircraft they have had on order since 2006.
Qantas operates their Airbus A380's on routes to destinations such as Los Angeles and Hong Kong from Sydney and Melbourne. The carrier may order the Boeing 777-8 or Airbus A350-900ULR for their long haul operations but for the moment there is no fixed order. The aircraft are to be used on direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London, building on the success of the Perth to London route launched last year (2018).
Qatar Airways have announced the retirement of their Airbus A380's from 2024. Akbar Al Baker have stated that the B777X will exchange the A380 routes. Qatar Airways operate the A380 on routes to London, Paris, Sydney, Melbourne, Guangzhou, Perth and Bangkok.
Air France have announced a reduction to its A380 fleet to just 5 aircrafts by 2021. The carrier placed an order for 12 aircraft but after taking delivery of the tenth Airbus A380 the airline announced it would be transferring the remaining orders to the Airbus A350.
Emirates is by far the largest operator of the Airbus A380 with 107 aircraft in service. The carrier had an order for 163 Airbus A380s securing the aircraft's production for years to come. However, Emirates abruptly reduced its order significantly, forcing the program to a halt.
Airbus hasn't received any order for the A380 since 2016 except for orders from Emirates, which has already cancelled them.
Airlines wanted an aircraft that had the ability to fly to destinations further away, with a cheap operating cost and two to three classes.
One of the main problem most airlines had with Airbus A380s is the seating capacity. On average, 30 seats on board the Airbus A380 are empty. Boeing offered a solution - The Boeing 777X series which has capacity for between 370 to 420 passengers. As a result, many A380 operators are also going to operate the Boeing 777X.
If the Airbus A380 production stops in 2021, 3000 to 5000 jobs will be lost. It’s a sad end for one beauty of an aircraft which became not only an aviation icon, but a dream to fly on.