Date
21 August 2017
Airbus says the outlook for the A380 is darkening. It is cutting production plans to just 12 A380s planes a year starting in 2018. Photo:  WSJ
Airbus says the outlook for the A380 is darkening. It is cutting production plans to just 12 A380s planes a year starting in 2018. Photo: WSJ

Airbus slashes A380 production plans

Airbus Group is cutting production plans for its flagship A380 superjumbo SE for the second time this year and now faces the prospect of losing money on the plane again next year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The move comes at a time both the European plane maker and its larger rival Boeing Co. face the prospect the era of the big, four-engine long-haul plane is ending, Reuters reports.

Airbus has struggled to win orders for the A380 and Boeing has had to cut production plans for its 747-8 jumbo jet owing to slack demand.

Airbus in July had to concede the outlook for the A380 was darkening when it cut production plans to just 12 A380s planes a year starting in 2018, down from the 27 it built last year. It had planned to build about 20 of them next year, reaching break-even on those deliveries.

But Airbus on Tuesday said it had to cut further. After a three-way agreement involving also Emirates Airline, the biggest buyer of A380s, and engine maker Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC, the plane maker will delay six A380 deliveries planned for next year to 2018 and another six from 2018 to 2019.

Airbus wouldn’t detail the reason for the schedule change.

Deliveries of the first Rolls-Royce-powered A380s to Emirates Airline have been slightly delayed amid concerns by the carrier about technical issues with the engine, although the airline’s president, Tim Clark, this month said those had been resolved.

On Tuesday, state-owned Emirates Airline said it expected to receive its first A380 powered by Rolls-Royce engines this week and a further two by the end of the month. The Dubai-based airline, the world’s biggest by international traffic, currently operates all its A380s with engines made by a joint venture of General Electric Co. and United Technologies Corp.

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