What is the A380 ?
The A380 program was launched at the end of the 1980s to counter the offensive of Boeing. It is the biggest civil plane in the world capable of carrying 800 passengers. This program was kept secret by Airbus for several years. Finally the first tests occurred in 2005 and the commercialization started in 2006-2007. On February 14, 2019, Airbus announced the end of A380 production from 2021, after several years of disappointing sales.
Nevertheless an important aspect of this affair is that Airbus is an interstate society. The production is split between Spain, France, Germany and the UK. Beyond economy, this society carries, for many, the dream of a more integrated EU. Airbus looks like the proof that Europe can be victorious on economy and big companies.
How can we explain the failure
The failure of the A380 is due to several reasons. At the very beginning of the commercialization, numerous airlines had to face delivery delays, namely Emirates. The initial program suffered from a delay of 18 month and this delay costed around 4€ billions. It plays a lot in the image of the company. When it comes to delivery delays, airlines might be less confident in the acquisition of such big products. Moreover, the size of the A380 was sometimes disabling. Indeed, all airports do not have the infrastructures to host this plane. Then, it has to be said that getting 800 customers on a plane is not an easy task for an airline.
What does the failure mean ?
The European Union was quite proud of the A380. They did launch such a program to show that the EU could be at the forefront in aeronautical industry and innovation. One could stress out that many European leaders supported the project to make Europeans proud of interstates cooperation. The creation of the A380 does not respond to an economical need, but a political one. Then, regarding international negotiations, an interstate company is less competitive in front of Boeing which has the full background of the US government.