European plane maker Airbus has confirmed that unless it can find more buyers for its A380 aircraft, the programme may have to end.
Speaking following the publication of the company’s orders and deliveries for 2017, the soon-to-retire sales chief John Leahy said Airbus would have to halt the programme if Emirates, its largest customer, did not place another order.
Airbus plans to build 12 A380s in 2018 and a further eight in 2019. It said the minimum annual number it is prepared to build each year is six.
“We’re still talking to Emirates but they are probably the only one who has the ability right now in the marketplace to take a minimum of six a year for a period of eight to ten years,” said Leahy.
“Quite honestly if we can’t work out a deal with Emirates I think there is no choice but to shut down the programme. But I am hopeful we’ll work out a deal with Emirates.”
However, Leahy stressed that he believes the A380 will have a future, affirming that “its time will come” as airports continue to get congested.
“Every 15 years air traffic doubles,” he said. “You’re not going to double the number of flights going into Heathrow, or Frankfurt or Charles de Gaulle, or JFK, or LAX, or Hong Kong, or Beijing.
“If people want to fly, they need to fly in bigger aircraft. It just so happens we have the aircraft they want to fly in.”
Airbus said it delivered 718 aircraft in 2017, up 4 percent on its previous best achieved in 2016. It also secured 1,109 orders from 44 customers, however, none of them were for the A380.