Airbus announces end of superjumbo after poor sales

Unions have expressed “bitter disappointment” at news that Airbus is to cease production of its superjumbo A380 aircraft.

The firm said it had made the painful decision after struggling to sell the worlds largest passenger jet

Unite, which represents workers at Airbus sites in Broughton, North Wales, and Filton, near Bristol, and those in supply chain companies such as GKN, said it would be seeking assurances on jobs and future work.

A few hundred staff in the UK work on the aircraft, mainly at Broughton, but it is hoped they can be redeployed.

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The firm said it had made the “painful” decision after struggling to sell the world’s largest passenger jet and after Emirates chose to slash its A380 order book by around a quarter.

Due to the reduction and a lack of orders from other airlines, Airbus said it would end deliveries of the record-breaking plane in 2021, 14 years after it first entered commercial service.

Emirates is yet to take delivery of 14 of the double-decker aircraft, which has wings, engines and landing gear made in the UK.

Airbus said it would “start discussions with its social partners in the next few weeks regarding the 3,000 to 3,500 positions potentially impacted over the next three years”.

It makes wings for the A380 in the UK, employing 6,000 staff at Broughton and 3,000 at Filton. The firm said an increase in production of its A320 model would offer “a significant number of internal mobility opportunities”.

Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said: “The A380 is not only an outstanding engineering and industrial achievement. Passengers all over the world love to fly on this great aircraft. Hence today’s announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide.

“But, keep in mind that A380s will still roam the skies for many years to come and Airbus will of course continue to fully support the A380 operators.”

Nearly 240ft long and with space for more than 500 passengers, the A380 took the title of world’s largest passenger jet from the Boeing 747 when it took its maiden commercial flight from Singapore to Sydney on October 27 2007.

The giant aircraft’s first commercial flight to Europe - a Singapore Airlines service - arrived at Heathrow on March 3 2008.