Airbus ends A380 production, while Boeing shakes up business

Air France says it will take delivery of the last of the fleet next year, after saying it would buy 34 Boeing 787s instead

A major milestone was passed on Friday for Airbus’s A380 superjumbo as the huge and massive jet made its final take-off. The French aircraft manufacturer said it would take delivery of the last of the historic jet’s fleet next year, after saying that it would buy 34 Boeing 787s instead.

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“Airbus is the only one of the three manufacturers that remains committed to the A380 family,” said Fabrice Bregier, chief executive of Airbus.

“The 747-8 has been retired from Boeing, we are winding down the programme on the A380.”

Airbus has delivered a total of 280 of the 787 Dreamliner, which can carry about 400 passengers.

The sales battle for A380 jets is fought directly between Airbus and Boeing, and is set to take on greater importance as Boeing looks to rival Airbus’s A220 long-range jet in mid-market aircraft, which will help it move into new markets and compete with Airbus’s narrow-body A320neo and A321neo designs.

Airbus sold 83 of the supersize wide-body jets, with 39 on order. Boeing sold 101 and had ordered about 450 on order.

Airbus said it would take delivery of 14 new A380s from 2019, starting with deliveries of the last two in December. It also has 15 jets on order.

Airbus delayed the delivery of its newest and priciest superjumbo this year following problems with the wings, for which it blamed strikes by unions. The delays caused the A380 to go out of production line service this year.

Airbus is looking to reconfigure the A380 to boost cabin economy levels while also renovating interior features, such as soft-touch aircraft carpets.

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