Wow. There have been rumblings since Day 1 that the A380 was a commercial flop for Airbus but to hear them talking in these terms is quite shocking.
Airbus Group NV (AIR) raised the prospect of discontinuing its A380 superjumbo as soon as 2018, the first admission that it may have misjudged the market for the double-decker after failing to find a single airline buyer this year.
Despite forecasts that show the A380 breaking even for the next three years, the bottom falls out of the market in 2018 and Airbus is now faced with the unenviable question of whether to re-engine the airplane to make it more efficient or to kill the line entirely.
There has not been a single order for the model in 2014 and a leasing firm with 20 of the planes on order has not found a single airline to take even one of the available airframes. Add that to the six jets that Skymark cancelled and things are looking bleak for the bulbous airbus.
The plane, which cost US$25bn to develop is popular with fliers due its spacious cabin, low noise levels, and a series of passenger comfort innovations, but for airlines it remains a dog that's only efficient on very specific routes. Even Emirates, who ordered 140 A380s, predict that each airframe will only be useful to them for a maximum of 10 years.
It's worth pointing out that Boeing have fared no better with their latest 4-engine offering. The 747-8 has only generated 119 orders but it seems to have found favour with cargo carriers so could live on in that capacity but whether Boeing will deem that demand worthy of keeping the line open remains to be seen, having yesterday confirmed that they are scaling back production already.
It's a sad prospect but I think the deserts of Southern California will be overflowing with A380s in just a few years.