Airbus is examining reducing production of the A380 to just 6 per year. This comes after the failure to secure an order from Emirates at the Dubai Air show for 36 units.
If Airbus does this and gets a 36 aircraft order from Emirates because it’s extended the life of the programme to 10 years, an Emirates pre-requisite for the order, it will be operating at a loss, but will almost certainly get the Emirates order.
However Airbus claims that any loss will be very minimal.
Airbus suppliers don’t seem quite so thrilled at a reduction to these levels. Reducing engine output while still maintaining all the required industrial capacity and staff for example, costs stay the same while income falls from reduced output. That applies to every aspect of production.
Airbus delivered 14 A380’s in 2017, down from highs of 24.
The point however of being in business is not to make a loss, but a profit. Selling aircraft at a loss for no purpose except to satisfy one awkward customer doesn’t seem like a positive way forward. Production would remain open until 2028 if Emirates make the order.
Airbus can hope orders pick up, but as the technology dates and relative efficiency declines against increased airline requirements, it progressively becomes less attractive as a viable aircraft.