What does the end of the Airbus A380 portend?
Europe's biggest aerospace company Airbus announced on Thursday that it will end deliveries of the A380 in 2021. It explained the move saying that in recent years orders for the world's largest passenger aircraft had continually dropped and its production was no longer profitable. Many commentators are saddened, seeing the end of this prestige project as the end of the era of giant aircraft.
No need for superjumbos anymore
Airbus misjudged the global trend in commercial air travel and is right to pull the plug on the A380, the Financial Times comments:
“The decision by Airbus to stop production in 2021 of the A380, though it has been in service less than a dozen years, marks an end to the superjumbo era and highlights aviation's shift towards smaller, more fuel-efficient aircraft. It does not call into question the model of European aerospace co-operation. But it is an admission that the Airbus consortium's big gamble - that increased global air travel and airport congestion would sustain demand for bigger planes - never quite paid off.”
Sad moment for aviation enthusiasts
The era of large passenger airlines is coming to an end, Polityka laments:
“More than 3,000 people could lose their jobs in the production of the giant, but most of them will no doubt switch to another job within the company. The story of the A380 will certainly serve as a warning to the entire aircraft industry against megalomania and overambitious and excessively risky projects. ... This is a sad moment for all aviation enthusiasts because it shows that things that kindle the imagination and make dreams come true don't necessarily make money.”
Not good news for the environment
The taz sees the end of the Airbus A380 regrettable for environmental reasons:
“Transporting as many people as possible in one go from continent to continent saves fuel and reduces CO2 and other harmful emissions. But since its first flight for Singapore Airlines in October 2007 the huge bird has never truly fulfilled these expectations. To achieve such ambitious eco goals the A380 would have had to be fully occupied, but that was seldom the case, because as with other environmental projects, consumers didn't really play along. Instead of flying with the A380 to one hub and from there in smaller aircraft to their destinations they increasingly demanded direct connections from A to B. ... Boeing has also called time on its jumbos. For the environment this is not good news.”
Europe too short-sighted
The end of the A380 once again shows that the Europeans' lack far-sightedness, laments David Barroux, editor-in-chief of Les Echos:
“Couldn't the aircraft manufacturer have accepted a few more losses in the millions if it meant giving itself one last chance? Did it do everything it could to woo the Emirates, the A380's biggest buyer? ... One can't help lamenting the fact that Europe is turning the page on another major project. Amazon, Tesla, SpaceX, Netflix, Alibaba, Huawei and many other new global giants emerged from audacious projects that lost money for years but then finally started turning a profit - and will no doubt wind up revolutionising their sectors. Despite the dictatorship of the financial markets, the Americans and the Chinese are again thinking long term. Can Europe do the same?”