End Of The Line For The A380?

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The world's biggest airliner may have one of industry's shortest production runs. Airbus has announced it could end production of the A380 in 2018 after going through the whole past year without a new airline order. The aircraft went into service in 2007. It did get a 20-plane order from a leasing company but there have been no takers for those aircraft. Airbus CFO Harald Wilhelm broke the news to investors at a meeting in London last week. There have recently been cancellations as airlines convert them to the equivalent dollar value of smaller, two-engine aircraft. "It's an excellent plane but it only works for the right destinations," Air France-KLM CEO Alexandre de Juniac told Bloomberg. Airbus is now working through its backlog at the rate of 30 aircraft a year but will have to make some decisions on its fate in 2015, the report says.

Some airlines, including Emirates, which has ordered 140 aircraft, like the A380 but would like more fuel-efficient engines. It's estimated refitting the plane with new engines would cost $2.5 billion and take four years and Airbus isn't sure it wants to gamble that money on a design that hasn't come close to meeting sales expectations. It so far has 318 orders and Airbus based the $25 billion development program on a worldwide demand of 1200 airframes. It's breaking even with the A380 so far.