Airbus could abandon A380 superjumbo amid lackluster sales

In the last month of 2017 Airbus booked 776 aircraft sales net of cancellations including a $50 billion deal for 430 narrow-body aircraft initially announced in November at the Dubai Air Show

Airbus, the European plane manufacturer, will stop making its A380 superjumbo if it fails to strike a long-term deal with Emirates, the largest operator of the aircraft, which would guarantee a steady order over a decade.

"Every 15 years, air traffic doubles", he said.

Airbus confirmed it had met its core 2017 target of more than 700 deliveries by releasing 718 jets to customers in 2017, up 4 percent from the previous year.

However, Airbus sales chief John Leahy, ahead of his retirement later this month, achieved one last victory in the annual sales race.

Boeing said last week it had delivered 763 completed commercial aircrafts.

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Airbus is facing multiple corruption investigations, notably in Britain, France and Austria.

Bregier also expressed confidence in the ability of engine maker Pratt & Whitney UTX.N to keep up with aircraft production plans after overcoming a series of delays. Emirates has urged Airbus to market the aircraft more widely across the world to ensure future production of the jet.

Boeing has questioned whether all of the aircraft sold by its rival will be delivered.

The battle between Airbus and Boeing is as fierce as ever.

Airbus sold 1,109 planes last year, 52 per cent higher than 2016, outstripping rival Boeing thanks to a raft of end-of-year deals, including a US$50 billion order for 430 A320neos from United States private equity firm Indigo Partners.

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In November Emirates postponed an order for 38 of the planes which can carry up to 853 people, making them the largest airliners in the world.

The A380 has a list price of $437 million (€535 million), and as of December it had booked 317 orders for the plane.

On Monday, Airbus' outgoing chief operating officer, Fabrice Brégier, said "there are clearly other potential customers beyond Emirates". Whether it means we soon conclude an agreement with Emirates?

So far, the A380 has cost Airbus €18 billion to €20 billion, and the company says it needs to build at least six a year for the program to remain viable.

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