Airbus is to halve its production output on the Airbus A380, aiming for just 12 deliveries annually from 2018.
The Toulouse-based company said it expected to make money on the planes this year and again in 2017 after breaking even only last year, though it hinted the program may soon plunge back into the red, after breaking even only last year.
Sales of large four-engine airliners like the 544-seat A380 have been hit hard by improvements in the range and efficiency of smaller two-engined models, which can be easier to fill.
FARNBOROUGH, England- Airbus Group SE's jetliner boss Fabrice Brégier Wednesday said the European plane maker will have to secure a further 250 to 300 orders after this week to meet its full-year target.
The 193 A380s in operation today are serving 38 of the 55 global aviation megacities. Airbus said it will target "additional cost reduction initiatives" to lower the breakeven point further.
Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic on Monday ordered 12 of Airbus's A350-1000 twin-engined jets.
Airbus is to dramatically cut production of the A380 superjumbo, highlighting the lacklustre performance of the biggest passenger jet ever built, reports The Guardian. "The A380 is here to stay", Bregier added. "The focus is now on maintaining breakeven", said a senior executive.
In April, Reuters reported it had asked suppliers to slow production to support a production assembly rate of 1.7 a month from 2017, down from just over 2 a month.
Each A380 is worth $432.6 million at list prices, but after discounts it would sell for significantly less.
The plane was launched as a high-profile European project to rival Boeing's 747. Not a single US carrier has bought one, and Japanese airlines, among the biggest cheerleaders for huge planes, have taken just a handful. Airbus has already taken billions of euros of charges related to the A400M.