European aerospace giant Airbus said Thursday it would end production of the A380 superjumbo, the double-decker jet which earned plaudits from passengers but failed to win over enough airlines to justify its massive costs.
The firm said it would stop deliveries of the A380 in 2021 after Dubai-based airline Emirates reduced its order of the model by 39 planes.
It was an ignominious end to a bold bet on how millions of people would travel in the future, as airlines struggled to fill a plane capable of carrying anywhere from 500 to 850 people.
“Following a review of its operations, and in light of developments in aircraft and engine technologies, Emirates is reducing its A380 orderbook from 162 to 123 aircraft,” Airbus said in a statement.
“As a consequence and given the lack of order backlog with other airlines, Airbus will cease deliveries of the A380 in 2021.”
Airbus had been forced to slow production in recent years, before warning in January 2018 that the programme could be scrapped if no new orders came in.
The company appeared to get a lifeline with the latest Emirates order, but last month Airbus admitted the airline might now be reconsidering.
In its statement Airbus said it would deliver the last 14 A380s to Emirates over the next two years, adding that the airline had ordered 70 smaller planes from the manufacturer.
Emirates’ decision to reduce its A380 orders means Airbus has “no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years,” Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders was quoted in the statement as saying.