"In 2000, when we took the decision to launch the A380, we didn't know what the market would look like 20 years later", Airbus's outgoing CEO Tom Enders told French daily Le Figaro in an interview Thursday.
Airbus said it will end deliveries of the A380 in 2021, once it has fulfilled the backlog of orders. "But, keep in mind that A380s will still roam the skies for many years to come", said Enders in a written statement. The A380 made its first test flight in 2005 and began carrying passengers two years later.
Still, the same day Airbus reported higher than expected profits for past year. That agreement will take Emirates' total A380 order book to 123 units down from an original 162 jets.
Now, Airbus confirms that the Gulf carrier is indeed reducing its orderbook, but is scrapping not just the latest order of 20 aircraft.
Mr. Enders is also faced with damaging prospects for Airbus after warning the United Kingdom that his company could shift operations overseas due to ongoing Brexit negotiations, where he said that "potentially harmful decisions" could jeopardise Airbus's operations across Britain.
Emirates will mostly use the Airbus A330neos on regional and lower-demand routes, while the A350 will be deployed on the airline's long-haul operations.
At a conference call with Airbus management Thursday, few analysts dwelled on the A380's failure, instead congratulating the company on the robust 29 percent jump in 2018 profits.
Daily Star Online only past year revealed how the future of big jets looked bleak amid fierce competition for smaller, more efficient aircraft.
It promised airlines that it would still maintain the more than 230 A380s now in flight, with Faury calling it a "benchmark" for the company even as its death is being programmed.
When it started taking on passengers in 2008, the A380 was hailed for its roominess, large windows, high ceilings and quieter engines.
"Emirates has been a staunch supporter of the A380 since its very inception", said Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum.
There had been renewed speculation surrounding the future of the A380 in recent weeks, with Airbus releasing a statement confirming it was in discussions with Emirates "in relation to its A380 contract". The A380 will remain a pillar of our fleet well into the 2030s. It is a differentiator for Emirates.
"For us, the A380 is a wonderful aircraft loved by our customers and our crew". Teams from across the region joined colleagues at other sites during crunch times, the quirky-looking Beluga freight planes would crisscross countries with parts, and the A380 was a popular backdrop at air shows for politicians celebrating Europe's achievements.