It appears that Skymark Airlines’ financial woes have led the carrier to drop its order for six A380 superjumbos.
According to Bloomberg, Skymark Airlines and Airbus are currently in the midst of negotiating the cancellation terms and possible compensation for the European manufacturer. The situation is complicated because Airbus has already built two A380s for Skymark and partially customised one of them as per the Japanese carrier’s specifications.
Skymark first ordered four A380s back in February 2011 before adding a further two superjumbos later in the year. However, Skymark currently no longer seems to be able to pay for these aircraft. Late reports suggest the carrier made a net loss of EUR13.5 million in the last financial year.
With the company unwilling to go into debt, Skymark Airlines has decided to cut its losses and cancel its A380 order. Heavy penalties are however expected.
The news is a major setback for Airbus and the A380 aircraft line in particular. The superjumbo has failed to attract a new airline customer for two years now, even though long time supporter Emirates did purchase 50 more A380s at last year’s Dubai Air Show (see here).
In addition, Airbus was already dealing with its largest order cancellation ever, when Emirates scrapped a deal for 70 A350s, valued at US$16 billion (see here). More questions have also been raised over the future of the A350-800 variant model after Hawaiian Airlines cancelled its order for six of the aircraft last week (see here).
Update – Airbus has since confirmed that Skymark's purchase agreement for the A380 has indeed been terminated.
For more information, visit skymark.co.jp/en/