A380 production ended with the departure of former Airbus CEO Tom Enders. He left the company due to lack of demand. As a result, the concern has 17 unfulfilled orders.
After Emirates reduced the order by another 39 pieces of A380, leaving only 14 in reserve, the final decision was made to stop production of the giant. All Nippon Airways received the last three of the remaining aircraft.
Although the airline's passengers continue to be enthusiastic about the A380 due to its two-story cabin and massive exterior, Airbus has not been able to secure enough bookings to continue the program. The French manufacturer considered powering the 519-seat aircraft with new engines and even considered releasing a larger model, but ultimately abandoned both options.
The successes and innovations pioneered by the A380 can now be found in the next generation of aircraft , such as the A350 and A320neo.
When Airbus ceased production of the A380, it was replaced by the A350 as the company's largest passenger aircraft; however, the differences are noticeable.
Typical layout A380-800 — 519 passengers: 16 First Class, 92 Business and 411 Economy. Maximum flight range — 15,700 km.
The A350-1000 seats between 350 and 410 passengers depending on configuration and has a maximum range of 16,100 km. That is, the A380 carries 110 more passengers than the A350, but it has four engines and a shorter range.
In February 2019, Emirates reduced the order for the A380; however, it has since signed new contracts for the A330-900 and A350-900. Recall that a few years earlier, in 2015, the Middle East airline canceled a contract for the supply of 70 aircraft worth $16 billion, citing performance problems.
By the way, Airbus is currently in a legal battle with Qatar Airways due to “serious and legitimate security concerns.” of the A350 aircraft.
Qatar Airways, the country's state-owned airline, is suing for compensation, alleging that the defective aircraft led to the retirement of 21 of 53 Airbus A350 1000 and 900 series aircraft.
The controversy began after Qatar Airways raised concerns about the condition of its A350s in November 2020, when an attempt to repaint a five-year-old aircraft in World Cup colors revealed about 980 surface defects.
The problem still persists: Airbus has canceled all future aircraft orders from Qatar Airways while the A380 is back in the air despite promises from carriers not to revive it due to high operating costs.
So, can A350 to replace A380 as Airbus' flagship aircraft? The experts say yes, and here's why.
The A350 is cheaper to buy and run.
The A350 has a longer range, which means more route options for airlines around the world. In addition, its smaller passenger capacity becomes an advantage, allowing airlines to consider flights to secondary airports instead of sticking to flights between major hubs like the A380. The latter is inaccessible to most airports in the world due to its size. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) classifies the Superjumbo as an F aircraft due to its sheer size and wide wingspan.
One of the main reasons for this is the lower fuel efficiency of the A380. The twin-engine A350, firstly, is suitable for longer flights, and secondly, it is much more economical than its four-engine predecessor.
A definite plus of the A380 — unparalleled passenger comfort. It is incredibly silent and performs very stable maneuvers in the air. These aircraft are often equipped with premium passenger amenities such as bars and showers, and built-in turbulence control technology ensures a comfortable flight, so the A380 will always hold a special place in the hearts of travel enthusiasts.
From this point on, The A350's vision may lack glitz, bars or showers, but it's an aircraft with exceptional fuel efficiency and enough passenger amenities to please anyone. The A350 is certainly a better fit for the future in an age where flexibility, agility and efficiency are valued far more than flying hotels with en-suite bathrooms.