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A game of chicken is still being played between Airbus and Emirates over the production of the A380 superjumbo jet. With a slump in orders, Airbus is looking to discontinue production of the aircraft. But at the same time, Dubai-based Emirates wants a guarantee from Airbus that production of the superjumbo will continue for the next decade.
One of the things the A380 is known for is some ultra-luxurious first class cabins – from Singapore Suites to the onboard shower in first class on Emirates A380 First Class
Will we see production cease for the A380?
Airbus is ready to kill the program; that much is known. This comes on the heels of Emirates and Airbus celebrating the delivery of the gulf carrier’s 100th superjumbo, and Emirates has at least 40 more aircraft on the order books. This doesn’t seem to be enough to keep Airbus from pulling the plug, however.
Airbus said that with the lack of demand, killing the A380 program is a logical move. The French company needs more orders on the books to justify continued production of the superjumbo. They would obviously phase out production gradually, but the official termination of the program would result in Emirates developing a new strategy for how to build their fleet.
The future of the superjumbo
No matter how you slice it, the future of the superjumbo jet is bleak. Even if Airbus manages to secure a new order for the plane and works out a deal with Emirates to continue production for several years, this is just a temporary fix. If Emirates’ orders are this tepid and they are the leading customer of the aircraft, we will undoubtedly see the end of the A380.
The giant jet just can’t compete. With other, newer, more fuel efficient two-engine options, the death of four-engine planes is an inevitability.
While I loved my one flight on an A380 (SEE: Asiana business class Seoul to Sydney review), and I hope the plane will continue to be produced, I don’t see this being the case. We’ll see smaller jets on longer routes, as carriers seek to fit more and more passengers into them. Fuel efficient aircraft like the A350, 787, and 737MAX are the future.
Sure, the existing ones will be around for a while, giving people plenty of time to fly them. But they’ll be gone someday. More and more carriers are retiring their aging 747s. The A380 is next.