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Airbus to scrap production of A380 superjumbo

Reuters  |  TOULOUSE, France 

By Tim Hepher

TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) - Europe's announced plans to scrap production of the superjumbo on Thursday, abandoning its dream of dominating the skies with a cruiseliner for the 21st century after years of lacklustre sales.

The world's largest airliner, with two decks of spacious cabins and room for 544 people in standard layout, was designed to challenge Boeing's legendary 747 but failed to take hold as airlines backed a new generation of smaller, more nimble jets.

said in a statement that the last would be delivered in 2021.

Confirming a shake-up first reported by Reuters, it said - the largest customer - had decided to reduce its orders for the iconic superjumbo and order a total of 70 of the smaller and A330neo models.

The company said it would enter talks with unions in coming weeks over the 3,000-3,500 jobs potentially affected.

will produce 17 more of the planes including 14 for and 3 for Japanese

As part of the restructuring, placed a new order for 40 A330-900neo jets and 30 aircraft, partially restoring a purchase of aircraft which it cancelled in 2014.

LEADING BUYER 'DISAPPOINTED'

Emirates, which had built its global brand around the A380 and and which also has 100 of superjumbos in its fleet, said it was disappointed by the closure.

"Emirates has been a staunch supporter of the A380 since its very inception," said Emirates Sheikh

"While we are disappointed to have to give up our order, and sad that the programme could not be sustained, we accept that this is the reality of the situation," he added.

The A380 will remain a pillar of the Emirates fleet well into the 2030s, stated the

Emirates' local rival of also disclosed it was cutting some Airbus and Boeing jet orders, highlighting growing questions over the growth of Gulf airlines.

Making its maiden flight in 2005, the A380 was a major step in Airbus's efforts to compete on equal terms with Boeing and challenge what had been a cash cow for its arch-rival.

But sales of the industry's largest four-engined jets have fallen due to improvements in lighter twin-engined alternatives, such as the and 777 or Airbus's own

The prospect of a premature halt to A380 production emerged last month as part of a restructuring of orders first reported by

On Wednesday, reported that Airbus was poised to axe the superjumbo and would likely give an update coinciding with results due on Thursday morning.

The decision to scrap production is the last major step by outgoing Airbus

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 14 2019. 11:54 IST
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