When it comes to delivery rates for aircraft, we are accustomed to reporting on monthly figures. In late May, Airbus confirmed plans for an average A320 Family production rate of 45 aircraft per month in Q4 2021. Earlier this year, Boeing said it had reduced 787 production to just five per month. So when we see that Airbus has delivered just two A380s in the past seven months, it certainly raises some eyebrows. Let’s see what’s going on with the program.

Airbus A380, Final Plane, First Flight
All three outstanding Airbus A380s are bound for Emirates. Photo: Getty Images

No more deliveries for 2021

It was in late June that we reported on the most recent A380 delivery. We’ve known for a long time now that the A380 program is coming to an end. Now that the planemaker isn’t burdened with trying to sell the aircraft and convince airlines to buy it- the only job now is to complete remaining orders before it shuts down production forever.

However, the delivery rate for the remaining A380s has certainly slowed to a trickle compared to any other commercial aircraft being built today. Rather than a rate of x aircraft per month, we have to look at deliveries per year for the superjumbo.

Indeed, delivering just two over the past seven months is a far cry from the annual peak of 30 aircraft (2.5 per month) it once held. By early 2018 the planemaker had announced plans to lower the production rate to just six A380s per year starting from 2020.

The A380 program was canceled in 2019. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

With the global health crisis emerging in 2020, we could presume that cutting the A380 production rate further has been one of the outcomes of the pandemic. Indeed, Emirates has little need for brand new superjumbos at a time of reduced travel- especially when it already has a massive fleet of A380s and Boeing 777s offering large amounts of capacity. However, another reason is that part of A380s production facilities has been converted to focus on the A321XLR. With little need for the former and big anticipation for the latter, it seems like a win-win situation.

Admittedly, this slow production rate is something we already knew about. Emirates President Sir Tim Clark had previously revealed that just two aircraft would be delivered this year, with the final three to come next year. Therefore, with the two having already been delivered, we won’t be expecting any more for the remainder of 2021.

The latest status of undelivered A380s

According to ch-aviation.com, the following aircraft deliveries are to be expected in 2022:

  • A6-EVQ – MSN 270 – January 2022
  • A6-EVR – MSN 271 – March 2022
  • A6-EVS – MSN 272 – May 2022

According to AIB Family Flights, A6-EVQ has seen some activity in recent weeks. On July 5th, the aircraft had conducted an engine run and taxi check in Hamburg. On July 8th, it conducted another engine run and taxi check, followed shortly after by a second test flight.

Aside from these recent activities, we don’t know much about the status of the other aircraft – which are behind A6-EVQ in the queue.

The most recent A380s have Emirates’ new premium economy class onboard. Photo: Getty Images

With Airbus working on its A380s at this slow rate, it is able to shift and focus its resources on other aircraft production programs- the A321XLR being the next big thing.

Indeed, the Air Current noted in March that Hangar 260 at its Hamburg Finkenwerder facility had been converted to be an initial production pilot line for major component assembly (MCA) for the A321XLR.

What do you think of this slow production rate? Does it make sense to stretch it out? Let us know in the comments.

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