Super Jumbos = Super Unprofitable

No need for such enormous aircraft

By Ian Kerr

Photo by Harrison Macourt on Pexels.com

There is an unfortunate truth plaguing the aviation world lately. The jumbo jet is going the way of the Concorde, which is the museum and history books.

The last 747s are in production right now, and the European counterpart, the Airbus A380 has met the end of its production run this year. Many factors have made this outcome certain, including the pandemic and environmental concerns (cost of fueling such giant, gas guzzling aircraft).

The Boeing 747 was introduced in 1969, and since has dominated that segment of aviation with 1,556 aircraft built so far. The Iconic airplane lovingly known as the queen of the sky, has struck awe in countless with its unbelievable size and beauty, it also serves as Air Force One.

Wanting to be a part of aircraft royalty themselves, Airbus started work on the A380 project, an airplane what would eclipse even the 747 in size and become the 2nd biggest airplane ever. Interest in such a big airplane was mild by airlines, knowing that it would be hard to turn a profit on something with such high fuel consumption. Even after a joint project on this new super jumbo in the 90’s with Boeing fell through, Boeing themselves warned that an airplane of such scale would not turn a profit or make sense to build.

The same warning came from industry analysts as noted in this Forbes Magazine article: “Boeing engineers, market analysts, financial planners and top leadership all told their Airbus counterparts during their talks about building a jointly-produced super jumbo plane that the market just wouldn’t support a 500 or 600-seater, and likely wouldn’t any time in the foreseeable future.” Thirty or so years later this has become true because Airbus has not made a profit on the project.

On the bright side, the A380 does serve as a status symbol to airlines who do fly them such as Emirates, and passengers love to fly on such a spacious and impressive airplane. In addition to this, Av geeks (aviation geeks) are enchanted by the very existence of such awe-inspiring aircraft.

Photo by Raf Jabri on Pexels.com

Reed, Dan. “The Plane That Never Should Have Been Built: The A380 Was Designed for Failure.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 15 Feb. 2019,

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