Airbus had previously hinted that they may have to stop making the A380 superjumbo if Emirates, the plane’s main customer, did not place any more orders. However Emirates wanted a guarantee from Airbus that they would keep making the plane, even if no other airlines placed orders.
Therefore, apparently in an effort to keep the A380 in production until the market picks up, Airbus have announced they could eventually reduce output of the type to as few as 6 a year (compared to 15 that were delivered in 2017). This slowing of production will start with 12 being delivered this year and 8 in 2019 and comes after Airbus admitted the market was “challenging” for both them and Boeing.
The superjumbo idea was first mooted by Airbus in the early 1990’s as a competitor to Boeing’s jumbo jet – the 747. It was eventually launched in October 2007, making it’s first commercial flight with Singapore Airlines, flying from Singapore to Sydney. Since then there have been 317 orders for the A380 placed from Air France, Lufthansa and Qantas but Emirates remains their biggest customer.
In stark contrast, Airbus are also celebrating Indigo's huge order for it’s smallest plane, the A320 NEO and at $49.5bn is its biggest ever single deal.
The A320 was launched in 1984 as a rival to the Boeing 737 and has grabbed a huge share of the short haul market. This has helped Airbus beat Boeing for the fifth year in a row when it comes to overall orders, with Airbus taking 1,109 aircraft orders and making 718 deliveries last year, compared to Boeing’s 912 orders and 763 deliveries.