On January 21st Airbus, Europe’s largest maker of civil airliners, announced its decision to build a new A321 aircraft production facility at its Toulouse plant, following a strategy of maintaining a technological leadership position and improving industrial production capacity and flexibility across the production system. By mid-2022, the current A380 production facility will be replaced by a digital A321 assembly line. The new facility will provide more flexibility in the production of the A321.
In February 2019, Airbus announced that it would deliver the last A380 in 2021 and would not be produced again. Emirates, the A380’s biggest customer, said on the same day that it had agreed with Airbus to cut orders for the A380 from 162 to 123, with the remaining 14 to be delivered by the end of 2021.
Of course, there were three orders on the A380 at the time, from Japan’s All Nippon Airways.
Tom Enders, Airbus’s chief executive, has said the decision to stop production is painful, but Airbus must face up to the reality. According to media reports, the civil aviation market is now most popular for light twin-planes, such as the Boeing 787/777, Airbus A330/350 and so on, rather than the A380 such as the clunky four-shot behemoth. The A380’s demands on routes and airports have also led some passengers to have to switch to hubs, making them extremely inflexible and convenient.
According to the data, the A380 is currently the largest commercial civil airliner, the first flight in 2005, when it was launched to suppress the Boeing 747. But since the 747, Boeing has not dabbled in the super-large wide-body aircraft.
The A380 also features a double cabin design that can accommodate 544 passengers. Airbus official figures show that 229 ad-A380s were delivered and put into service as of July 2018.