Image Courtesy of Airbus

LONDON – Airbus has confirmed the plans for the production rates on the A380 program. By 2020, production will be down to six of the aircraft type per year, putting around 3,700 jobs at risk across France, Germany, the UK and Spain.

The manufacturer has said that they are in talks with unions and representatives to come to a solution that will be the least disruptive to employees currently working on the program.

In a press release, Airbus commented on this adjustment saying: “The adjustment of the A380 production rate follows a recent order which provides visibility to the programme for the years to come. As previously announced, at a baseline of 6 deliveries per year, Airbus can produce the A380 in an industrial efficient way over the coming years. This baseline allows Airbus to pursue further sales campaigns which may lead to higher production levels.”

READ MORE: Analysis: A Decade of A380, Success or Failure? – Part I
An Airbus A380 with the call sign F-WWOW at Bremen’s airport which was celebrating its hundredth birthday that day. PHOTO: Garitzko.

Commenting on the potential job losses, they also said: “The company is confident that it will be able to propose opportunities to most of the affected employees through programmes which are ramping up. Each year, Airbus manages 12 percent mobility and can adapt the flexibility level across divisions, functions, and subsidiaries to support redeployment of staff to other programmes’ activities.”

On top of these adjustments, they also gave such changes to their Airbus A400M military prop aircraft. As of 2020, eight units of the type will be produced and delivered to the respective nation states that are in the backlog.

Commenting on the A400M production, they also said: “On the A400M programme, production will be adjusted to eight units per year as of 2020, following the production of fifteen A400M in 2018 and eleven units in 2019. This adjustment is based on discussions with the A400M Launch Customer Nations. Airbus pursues export opportunities beyond this level.”

The A380 Production Slowly Coming to an End?

PHOTO: Emirates.
READ MORE: Emirates Confirms Order For Up to 36 Additional Airbus A380s

The current production rate for the A380 is around 12 per year, so one a month. With production being halved by 2020, this comes as no surprise due to no high frequencies of commitments from different customers for the type.

Although Emirates placed another order for 20 firm A380s, with the options for a further 16, it has not attracted any further attention to other customers. British Airways are amongst those that are in talks with the manufacturer over the aircraft type, but IAG CEO Willie Walsh said that prices are “ridiculous” and that: “We’re not negotiating – we’ve said very clearly to Airbus if they want to sell A380s they need to be aggressive on pricing.”

With the A380 program struggling to make a high profit already overall, it does not do Airbus any favors if customers want the price tag to come down. With the program costing over $20 billion since the development of the program, Airbus cannot compromise on prices any further.

READ MORE: Emirates Saves A380 Program With $16 Billion Commitment

The $445.6 million price tag for the aircraft comes with the hopes that airlines are willing to make the investments necessary to make the program thrive even further. Now that Emirates has purchased more A380s, Airbus will now have to find another investor, especially as Emirates is currently working hard with the GCAA to expand capacity through the use of a new airport in Dubai.

On top of this, with Emirates ordering 787-10 aircraft as well, the airline will be entirely spent now and will have plenty of new aircraft coming into their fleet looking into the next five-to-ten years.

READ MORE: Emirates Receives its 100th Airbus A380

With leasing companies such as Amadeo struggling to sell leasing agreements with the aircraft type and starting their own all A380-fleeted airline, it does now show any further prospects for the A380 going into the next 20 years and beyond.