Two Unwanted Airbus A380s to Be Scrapped
Matthew Greenwood posted on June 21, 2018 |

A mere decade after rolling off the production line, two Airbus A380s will be dismantled and the parts sold after no firm bids were secured for the aircraft—despite the fact that the planes could be expected to fly for at least another 10 years. 

Singapore Airlines, the launch customer of the A380, declined to renew its lease on the aircraft. According to a news release by Dr. Peters Group, the investment fund that owns the jets, the alternatives “did not meet investors' requirements to achieve a suitable result.”

The fund had been looking for new operators since the middle of 2017. Negotiations with British Airways, Iran Air and Hi Fly failed to go anywhere; as a result, the planes will be relegated to the scrap heap. A 10-year-old, well-maintained jet should have a natural secondhand market, but there is no such market for the A380. The famous double-decker aircraft had an original list price of around $250 million when they were brand new, and the current list price for a new unit is over $445 million.

Since the A380’s debut in 2007, Airbus has struggled to secure sales of the massive passenger plane. In 2017, the company failed to win any new orders for the jet. In January 2018, Airbus threatened to cease production of the plane unless it received a new order from Emirates, which operates the largest fleet of A380s. Emirates ended up signing a deal for up to 36 new planes.

While the Emirates deal provides a lifeline to the slow-selling plane, the future of the A380 remains in question. Sales of superjumbo jets have weakened in recent years as carriers have shown a preference for twin-engine wide-body aircraft such as the Airbus A350 XWB, which burn less fuel. And no U.S. airline has ever expressed an interest in the A380. As a counterpoint to the Emirates agreement, British Airways recently suspended negotiations with Airbus over a deal for additional A380s.

Trends also indicate that the aviation industry is more inclined toward carrying a smaller number of passengers from lower-tier cities instead ferrying a large number of passengers from big cities. 

But all may not be lost for the superjumbo. Airbus believes there is huge potential in China for the A380. “We need to convince the airlines that they can increase their market share, that they can increase tremendously their image buying the A380 and operating them from big Chinese hubs,” said Chief Executive Fabrice Bregier. “The biggest market deserves the biggest aircraft.”

Read more about future trends in commercial aviation at FAA Approves Folding Wings for the New Boeing 777X.

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