There Are Only 79 Orders Left for A380s. Will They Ever Be Delivered?

Feb 7, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Airbus’s A380 program was dealt yet another blow this week as Qantas canceled a long-standing order for eight of the super jumbos. Recent months have seen the backlog of orders dwindling down as more airlines cancel orders. Airbus had netted only four orders for the A380 in the whole of 2018, a number that included Emirates’ lifeline order for the behemoth aircraft. Airbus delivered only 12 of the massive jets to operators in 2018.

The plane manufacturer’s official order backlog for the A380 officially stands at 79, broken down by airline as follows:

A380 Official Backlog: 79

  • Emirates: 53
  • Amedeo: 20
  • Air Accord: 3
  • ANA: 3

While the official order backlog currently stands at 79, we can safely say that at least 23 of planes will never get built. The orders for Amedeo and Air Accord will never actually take to the air. Amedeo, a leasing company, is already struggling to find a use for its current A380 fleet, with no takers to be found. They have delayed their A380 order indefinitely. Air Accord, which appears to be a shell company used to take delivery of aircraft for defunct Russian airline Transaero, will most certainly never actually take delivery. So why are these orders still on the books? It would seem Airbus is happy to keep the orders around simply to make the backlog numbers look better than they actually are.

An Air France A380 takes off from New York JFK in July 2014 (Photo by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy)
An Air France A380 takes off from New York JFK in July 2014 (Photo by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy)

The Emirates A380 order is also in question at this point. Just last week Airbus confirmed that it was in talks with Emirates about its current A380 order. The doubt stems from the fact that Emirates hasn’t completed contracts with engine maker Rolls Royce to outfit the planes with its required four powerplants. Emirates hasn’t been happy with the performance of the current Rolls Royce engines. This calls into question if the lifeline order will even be completed.

The issue for Airbus is twofold. Not only are new orders not being placed, but the secondary market is uninterested in the plane as well. As lessors have planes returned, no one is stepping up to take over operation of the jets. Recently we have even seen leasing companies sending A380s off to the scrap heap.

If you are looking to catch a ride on an A380 before it goes the way of the dodo bird, you have some options from a number of operators:

If all of the current issues with the A380 program leads to Airbus stopping production, the A380 would be one of the shortest-run production commercial aircraft in history. Certainly not what Airbus had in mind when it made its estimated initial investment of $25-30 billion in the A380 program.

Richard Aboulafia, VP of analysis for the Teal Group, who has closely followed the A380 program for years, is not optimistic. His outlook for the program over the past few years has been bleak to say the least but his current opinion leaves little room for hope:

“It’s dead. It was born to die. Simply the dumbest program of modern times,” he told TPG in an email.

For now it seems it’s just a matter of time before Airbus will announce it’s ending the program. The bigger question at this point is just how many of the aircraft in the order backlog will realistically take to the skies.

H/T: Reuters

Featured image by Shutterstock.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.