Airbus: The A380 production restart is not ruled out

According to the Hamburger Abendblatt, and as reported by the specialized portal Simple Flying, the head of Airbus’ civil aircraft department, Christian Scherer, did not rule out the resumption of production of the Airbus A380, although he emphasized that it was unlikely.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, production of the world’s largest passenger plane has been halted. The final aircraft produced was delivered to Emirates, marking their 123rd of this type. By 2021, Airbus had produced 254 A380 aircraft, including 251 passenger versions and 3 prototypes and test aircraft. Scherer told the Hamburger Abendblatt, “The door is closed, but not locked. In our industry, nothing is ruled out.” He further emphasized that the chances of resuming production are small, given the current market preference for smaller, twin-engine aircraft.

However, feedback from the market gives hope for optimistic thinking. According to ch-aviation, 145 Airbus A380s are currently active in a total of 10 airlines. Large carriers with the most aircraft have gradually or completely returned their A380s to traffic, giving hope that an aircraft with such a large capacity still has its place in regular air traffic.

Many discussions have been conducted on whether the A380 was profitable for Airbus, taking into account the relatively short production life (2006-2021). In addition, the planned development of the freighter version, the A380F, never got off the ground after 25 orders were canceled (10 of which were for FedEx and 10 for UPS). Furthermore, the expected development of the A380plus or neo versions did not see the light of day, most likely due to the low interest of carriers in such aircraft.

You can’t consider restarting production without securing orders. Currently, few carriers are capable of ordering a sufficient number of aircraft to justify restarting production. In 2019, there was speculation that Turkish Airlines might order the A380. However, it’s important to consider that existing operators might begin renewing their A380 fleets in a few years. For instance, Malaysia Airlines, which had six A380 aircraft in its fleet, has not returned any to service. This situation should also be taken into consideration.

The A380 proved to be an excellent aircraft for the hub-and-spoke system, where large carriers transport passengers to their own hubs and then on to specific destinations using large-capacity aircraft. However, it has been less successful for carriers without well-developed hubs capable of covering the A380’s capacity or those with a point-to-point system. Despite the industry’s and carriers’ mixed feelings about the aircraft, passengers have embraced it positively and will likely want to see it in the sky for a long time to come.

Leave a Reply