The final Airbus A380 fuselage has been assembled. The assembly marks the end of an era as the A380 program draws to a close just 15 years after the aircraft’s first flight.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Airbus A380 assembly line is slowly drawing to a close. After all, we’ve known about the end of the A380 program for a year and a half now, with some A380s already having been retired.
In February, Simple Flying reported that the final A380 fuselage had made the journey to Toulouse. Well, now the fuselage has finished its initial construction. This means that Airbus’ manufacturing station 40 is now out of work. There’s still a bit of work to complete this aircraft, as many parts still need to be installed.
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The final aircraft assembly was spotted by Aviation Toulouse (@frenchpainter) on Twitter:
— Aviation Toulouse (@Frenchpainter) September 23, 2020
Nine deliveries outstanding
The final Airbus to be assembled carries the manufacturer’s serial number 272. It is one of nine outstanding deliveries of the A380. Eight aircraft are due to go to Emirates, the largest A380 carrier, while the additional A380 is due to be delivered to Japanese carrier ANA. For the time being, it seems as though both airlines are delaying future A380 deliveries given the current aviation situation.
The end of an era
The initial assembly of the final Airbus A380 marks the end of an era for the Giant of the Skies. Sadly, it will be a short-lived era. The Airbus A380 has quickly fallen out of favor with airlines worldwide, something that the current situation hasn’t helped. Airlines are favoring more fuel-efficient twin-engine aircraft.
The A380’s colossal size is its main selling point. However, it seems as though this may also be the aircraft’s downfall. There are very few niche routes that sustain enough traffic to make the A380 viable, such as London to Dubai and London to Los Angeles. However, given the current wall of travel restrictions, even the latter can’t currently support an A380.
For the time being, the Airbus A380 as a family remains firmly grounded. Only a handful of aircraft from Emirates and China Southern are currently flying. However, the plane itself will still be around for many years to come. Airlines likely won’t be keen to scrap brand new aircraft. As such, those delivered within the past year probably still have some usage yet. It’s more a question of when they will return to the sky, rather than if. It is unclear when this final A380 will be delivered.
Simple Flying has contacted Airbus for comment regarding this story.
What do you make of the final Airbus A380 assembly? Are you sad to see the end of the program on the horizon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!