Airbus’s A380 Backlog Is Shrinking

By Jens Flottau
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

Aside from the Lufthansa reduction, several more of the 259 firm orders for the A380 are looking shaky. Leahy says “it is publicly known” that Virgin Atlantic's order for six A380s includes cancellation rights, and the airline has indicated many times that it is unlikely to take the aircraft. He also indicates that Hong Kong Airlines, with 10 A380s on order, might “convert” its commitment to “other products.” Kingfisher Airlines is still listed with five orders, although it stopped flying in 2012.

And there are serious doubts that Air Austral will take its two A380s that were intended to fly between Paris and the French overseas departments in a very high-density configuration. Air France has delayed some of its A380 deliveries as it continues its restructuring program and cuts back on capital expenditures.

Airbus still has “a couple of slots” open for the A380 in 2015, but those can only be taken by airlines that already operate the type. The Lufthansa cancellation affects production slots beyond 2015, thus it does not worsen Airbus's short-term manufacturing problem. But if the aircraft maker does not find airlines to take those slots soon, it will have to cut back on production.

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