Airbus may end production of A380 superjumbo

Airbus may end production of A380 superjumbo

Leahy confirmed a Reuters report that the future of the A380 lies with Emirates, even though other airlines are interested in smaller numbers of the 544-seat jets.

Paris: Frenetic selling in the closing weeks of 2017 saw Airbus overhaul Boeing's recent lead in the global jet market to win their annual order contest for the fifth year running, but doubts remain over the future of its flagship A380.

If Emirates does not order the aircraft, he believes there will be "no choice but to shut down the programme".

The European planemaker said on Monday net orders after cancellations rose 52 percent to 1,109 aircraft in 2017, placing it ahead of Boeing's 912 net orders.

Emirates, based in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Airbus shares were trading lower, Monday, despite the news that the plane maker had delivered the most planes on record and also pulled in more new orders than its rival Boeing.

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The superjumbo's poor performance overshadowed an otherwise decent year for Airbus, which said on Monday that it delivered 718 aircraft in 2017, a 4 per cent increase from a year earlier. December's sales breakthrough focused mainly on the bread and butter of Airbus's portfolio, the medium-haul A320 family, which competes with Boeing's best-selling 737 series.

"If people want to fly, they need to fly in bigger aircraft", Leahy said.

"Every 15 years, air traffic doubles", he said. "This is an aeroplane whose time will come".

Reuters reported in December that Airbus had drawn up plans to phase out A380 production if those talks collapsed, without waiting for other potential buyers.

'We are still talking to Emirates, but honestly they are probably the only one to have the ability right now on the market place to take a minimum of six per year on a period of 8 to 10 years, ' Leahy said.

Airbus delivered just 15 of the planes last year, and aims to deliver 12 more this year and could scale down production to six per year after that, CEO Fabrice Bregier said.

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