Slumping Sales of the A380 Puts Thousands of Jobs at Risk

Mar 7, 2018

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The slumping sales of A380 aircraft could mean the loss of thousands of Airbus jobs across Europe.

Airbus announced Wednesday that due to lagging orders of its superjumbo A380 jet, it would have to move or cut 3,700 jobs as it deals with reduced production rates. Workers’ positions in France, Germany, Spain and the UK are at risk.

Airbus is cutting its superjumbo output to only six A380s per year starting in 2020, according to Bloomberg. This would make production more “industrially efficient” and help sustain the program for years to come, Airbus said. The manufacturer delivered a total of 15 superjumbos in 2017, but it’s dwindling production down to 12 A380s this year, and just eight in 2019.

The A380’s struggling sales were somewhat bolstered when Emirates ordered 36 aircraft in January for $16 billion (20 firm orders and 16 options) — essentially saving the aircraft. Other airlines view the A380 as too expensive to operate, choosing not to add it to their fleets. Bloomberg reports the CEO of Qatar Airways, for instance, said Wednesday he would “keep the door open” for future A380 orders, but “if you asked me if we’d have the A380 in our fleet in 12 years, I would say no.”

Airbus said it’s “confident that it will be able to propose opportunities to most of the affected employees.”

Reduced production of Airbus’ military transporter A400M also had an impact on the jobs at risk.

Update 3/7/18 at 3:30pm: Virgin Atlantic has canceled its long-standing order for six A380s. The cancellation comes after Virgin Atlantic delayed delivery of the aircraft for more than a decade. The order for the six superjumbo jets was deleted from the Airbus orders and delivery sheet for February 2018, and the airline confirmed that the six A380s have officially been nixed from its future fleet, Bloomberg says. TPG reached out to Virgin Atlantic for comment but did not receive an immediate response.

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