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  1. ITV Report

Airbus to end production of A380 aircraft in 2021

Credit: PA Images

Airbus has announced it plans to axe production of its A380 model of super-jumbo passenger jet aircraft in 2021.

It comes as the biggest commercial supporter of the aircraft, Emirates, reduced their most recent order by 39 planes.

Airbus employs nearly 7,500 people in Wales, mostly at its Broughton factory in Flintshire.

Meanwhile, Emirates has also decided to to buy 40 more A330-900 aircraft from Airbus, and 30 A350-900 aircraft.

Airbus says it will be discussing the futures of between 3,000 and 3,500 jobs "potentially impacted over the next three years". Most of these are thought to be based abroad.

After 14 years of making the A380, more than one hundred jobs in Broughton may be threatened by the decision to end the production of the A380.

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Airbus said that Emirates had reviewed their operations and in light of aircraft and engine technology developments had reduced their order from 162 A380 aircraft to 123.

Emirates will however receive delivery of 14 new A380s over the next two years.

Airbus' Broughton plant in Flintshire Credit: ITV News

As a result of this decision we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years. This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021.

The consequences of this decision are largely embedded in our 2018 full year results.

The A380 is not only an outstanding engineering and industrial achievement. Passengers all over the world love to fly on this great aircraft. Hence today’s announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide. But, keep in mind that A380s will still roam the skies for many years to come and Airbus will of course continue to fully support the A380 operators.

– Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders

Airbus said it will start discussions with its "social partners in the next few weeks" regarding the 3,000 to 3,500 positions potentially impacted over the next three years.

However, it also said the "ongoing A320 ramp-up and the new widebody order from Emirates Airline will offer a significant number of internal mobility opportunities".

The A380 is Emirates’ flagship and has contributed to the airline’s success for more than ten years.

As much as we regret the airline’s position, selecting the A330neo and A350 for its future growth is a great endorsement of our very competitive widebody aircraft family.

Going forward, we are fully committed to deliver on the longstanding confidence Emirates is placing in Airbus.

– Guillaume Faury, President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and future Airbus CEO

Transport and Economy Minister Ken Skates said the jobs at Airbus sites in Wales are "hugely important". He added the company "is one of the crown jewels of the Welsh economy".

While news that production of the Airbus A380 will come to an end in 2021 is disappointing, I know that the superb management and workforce, the high productivity levels of the plants in Wales and their excellent industrial relations put them in a strong position to develop for the future. I have today reiterated to the company the Welsh Government’s determination to do all it can to support that work. We will do all we can to support the company to attract the vital ‘Wing of Tomorrow’ project and continue to keep these high quality manufacturing jobs in Wales.

– Ken Skates AM, Minister for Economy and Transport