Airbus Calls it Quits on A380
By: Peter Goelz
Airbus, the EU aircraft manufacturing giant, today announced that production of its iconic double-decked A380 would cease in 2021. After just over a dozen years in service, and about 235 aircraft in the air, Airbus is pulling the plug to focus its energies on smaller, more efficient, faster selling aircraft.
Boeing, with its distinctive 747 has dominated the jumbo aircraft market for 50 years and Airbus had hoped that with the early enthusiasm of the Middle East carriers that their A380 would dethrone the king. It was not to be, as Boeing eventually produced a half dozen variants of the 747 and produced over 1,500 aircraft. The early models of the 747 are now a mainstay of the worldwide air cargo fleet.
I flew the A380 twice and it was an extraordinary experience. On one flight I was in the window seat of the upper deck and you could really feel that you were almost five stories above the ground. The take-off flight and landing were rock solid. On my last flight, I was in business class on the second deck and there was no feeling you were on an airplane. Again, rock solid and a good night’s sleep. For the passengers, the A380 had everything.
While the economics of the A380 were never tremendous and the world’s markets have shifted since its introduction you will still be able to fly this giant on certain long haul routes. But it is the end of an era for Airbus.