Airbus yesterday suggested halting production of the A380 in 2018 due to poor sales.
Harald Wilhelm, the aircraft manufacturer’s finance director, said Airbus will only that year break even on the superjumbo.
He added that the company would then have to decide “if we would do something on the product, or even if we would discontinue the product”.
The news provoked a furious response from Emitates boss Tim Clark, whose airline has 55 A380s in its fleet with another 85 on order. Clark told Reuters he had complained to Airbus.
He said: “I am not particularly happy as you can imagine. We are on the hook for this plane. I get pretty miffed when we have put so much at stake.”
He added: “What is happening over there? I would like a first-hand understanding on where they are going.”
Clark said that should Airbus team up with engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce to upgrade the superjumbo in 2018, then Emirates would eventually replace all 140 A380s that it has ordered.
Rainer Ohler, Airbus’ head of corporate communications, today played down the significance of Wilhelm’s comments.
He said: “The entire Airbus top management continues to believe strongly in the market prospects of the A380, but any investment by Airbus requires a sound business case, which we will continue to study.”
Just yesterday, it emerged that Qatar Airways will no longer be taking delivery of the first A350 XWB on Saturday as had been planned (see news, December 10).