Yesterday the first commercially operated Singapore Airlines A380 flew to storage in Tarbes after ten years service on lease from Dr Peters.
And that just underscored the problem facing Airbus as Emirates in 2018-19 starts to see their first aircraft also reach ten to twelve year lease end.
Nobody seems to want a used A380. Worse still nobody except Emirates wants a new one.
Everyone expected and Airbus made sure we all knew it, that Emirates was about to order as many as 38 A380’s to keep their fleet young and fresh into the next decade.
So where is the order? Yesterday Tim Clarke told business journalists that they wanted to make the order, but at the last minute Airbus couldn’t guarantee 10-15 years of the A380 production line staying open.
If Airbus will not guarantee the production line stays open for future Emirates orders after the 38 planned, then they wouldn’t order the 38.
This is a ludicrous argument, Airbus can’t guarantee the line without orders – if they did and Emirates – whose fickle behaviour is evidenced in the cancelled A350 order – didn’t order any aircraft because of a change of mind or circumstances, they’d be left with an expensive and empty production facility. No business would make that commitment unless they had a cast iron contract for new aircraft.
Unless the airline and Airbus can agree stages of ordering and a process to make it happen, just hoping that Emirates might order more isn’t a viable way forward.
If no order is forthcoming, the last days of A380 production are a lot closer than anyone expected.