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An Emirates A380 in Dubai (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Hisham Qadri)

Final A380 Completes Production

The final Airbus A380 aircraft rolled off the production line Wednesday, marking the end of close to two decades of development and production of the aircraft type. Airbus announced the program would be brought to a close in 2019 as orders for the aircraft dwindled.

The aircraft isn’t completely done with production; a number of parts still need to be added to the aircraft. But Airbus has completed construction on the plane’s major parts and has completely assembled the main structure of the aircraft. The aircraft carries manufacturer serial number 272.

It can also be difficult to fill a huge A380 enough to make a profit on a flight. Only certain ultra-high-demand routes regularly have enough demand to afford an A380 service. Airlines’ trends toward flying smaller, more fuel-efficient twin-engine aircraft on many routes to fill planes completely and reduce costs have only been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused major travel decline, especially on the high-demand transoceanic flights that tend to have high enough demand to allow for the operation of the superjumbo jet.

A number of Emirates A380s have resumed flying on select routes, and some A380s in China are flying as well. But many other carriers, most recently German carrier Lufthansa, have announced they will completely retire some or all of the A380 aircraft sooner than previously planned.

Still, there will undoubtedly be a place for the A380 after the coronavirus pandemic subsides. Airlines won’t rush to retire brand-new aircraft, especially long-haul aircraft whose lives typically span decades, and airlines will continue to operate the A380 for years to come.

John McDermott
John McDermott
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