Demise of a Giant – what killed the A380?

Lack of customers precipitated the termination of the A380 super jumbo programme after only two decades. In a special publication on the A380 in 2020, Mark Ayton looked at the reasons why

While the decision to axe the super jumbo wasn’t so surprising given the struggle for orders, why was there such limited interest in the A380? After all, large network airlines need big aircraft for high-capacity hauling. The A380 is ideal for using on services with large passenger flows such as the trunk routes between the largest hubs such as Heathrow, Dubai, New York/JFK, Los Angeles, Frankfurt and Singapore.

The A380 also gives carriers a handy tool in network planning by giving an airline an option to put in capacity where and when it is required. For example, in 2018 British Airways added A380s on the routes from Heathrow to Boston, Chicago and Washington, DC. April 2019 saw Emirates begin flying A380s to Glasgow for the first time since it started serving the Scottish airport in 2004, and in the same month Etihad used an A380 to add capacity to its Abu Dhabi-Manchester route normally served by A330s and A340s.

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