It’s been a bittersweet week for the jumbo-jet industry. Soon after Boeing celebrated the 50th anniversary of its iconic 747, Airbus announced that production of its ambitious, double-decker passenger behemoth, the A380, will be halted in 2021, due to a sharp decline in new orders.
The A380’s largest customer, Emirates, said it will slash its current list of orders from 53 to just 14, and will convert many of those orders to smaller, more fuel-efficient A330neos and A350s.
While the design of the A380 was mostly passenger-focused and had little effect on cargo capacity for the Middle Eastern and Asian carriers for which it was popular, its eventual end may involve the loss of up to 3,500 jobs, Airbus said.
Meanwhile, the hugely successful 747 airframe is slowly winding down its run in long-haul passenger travel as twin-engined aircraft become more economical to operate, there is still hope for its continued success in the freighter configuration, as can be seen from recent 747-8F orders by carriers like AirBridgeCargo and CargoLogicAir.
As we head into the weekend, here’s a video reminding us about what may be Boeing’s greatest achievement: