The final Airbus A380 has now completed its initial stages of assembly in Toulouse, including its completed fuselage, as operations wind down at Airbus’ flagship factory in France.
This assembly of the final A380 – MSN 272 – marks the end of an era, as the aircraft’s short and sweet tenure comes to an end just 15 years after the superjumbo took to the skies for the first time.
Reports from Toulouse suggest that Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury and vice president customer services Philippe Muhn were present when the final superjumbo emerged from Station 40 on Wednesday, before being transported to Station 35.
This is a sad day, as the last #A380 MSN272, is rolled out in Toulouse. The current situation makes flying this amazing aircraft difficult, but I’m sure in years to come the demand for this very large aircraft will return. It’s still the best airliner from a passenger perspective https://t.co/aEehECXG0M
— Captain Dave (@DaveWallsworth) September 23, 2020
The fuselage, along with other crucial parts of the aircraft including the wings and tail, were all delivered to the Airbus factory in Toulouse, France back in February, following an emotional convoy throughout the streets of the small French town of Levignac.
Now, it appears the aircraft is nearing the end of its assembly process, with the fuselage and wings now adhered.
— Aviation Toulouse (@Frenchpainter) September 23, 2020
While the aircraft appears nearly entirely assembled, there is the obvious exception of its iconic four Rolls-Royce or Engine Alliance engines, that are typically installed in the very final stages of assembly.
MSN272 is one of just nine final outstanding A380 deliveries to be made, eight of which are due to be delivered to Emirates, with the other single aircraft to be delivered to Japan’s ANA.
While all deliveries were initially expected to be completed by 2021, the COVID-19 crisis has seen airlines around the world delay deliveries, as demand for international travel remains subdued to an unprecedented scale.
It is not yet clear when exactly the jet will be delivered.
The end of the A380
Airbus announced back in February 2019 that it would end production of its A380s due to lack of demand for the four-engine superjumbo.
At the time, Emirates, the world’s largest operator of the A380, opted to convert its final 39 A380 orders in favour of smaller, twin-engine jets, that are both cheaper to run and to maintain.
“As a result of this decision we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years,” said then Airbus CEO Tom Enders of the decision to cancel the program.
“The A380 is not only an outstanding engineering and industrial achievement. Passengers all over the world love to fly on this great aircraft. Hence today’s announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide.
“But, keep in mind that A380s will still roam the skies for many years to come and Airbus will of course continue to fully support the A380 operators,” he said.