Airbus exec says considering cuts to A-380

Airbus is considering cutting production of its A380 superjumbo to six or seven planes a year, a top executive said on Thursday.

TOULOUSE, FRANCE (REUTERS) - Plane spotters love it but may have to look harder to find it.

Airbus's superjumbo - the A-380 - could be facing even bigger production cuts amid growing question marks over its future.

A-380 production numbers have struggled to stay airborne amid sluggish sales.

The company is already lowering output to 12 aircraft in 2018 and eight subsequently, compared to 30 at its peak.

Chief operating officer Fabrice Bregier told Reuters it may now target just six to seven planes a year.

Speaking after the first Singapore Airlines A-380 featuring a new cabin configuration landed in Singapore, he said no final decision had been made.

Analysts say ongoing negotiations over a deal with carrier Emirates may now be decisive.

Emirates held off signing an order for an estimated 36 aircraft at last month's Dubai Airshow.

The superjumbo is also squeezed by smaller, more efficient twin-engined jets as, increasingly, airlines seek cost savings.

Mr Bill Blain, capital market strategist at Mint Partners, says: "The low-cost flight model is very well established, we have large fleets of single types in some airlines which is really working, we also have new entrants pioneering new approaches which also appear to be working."

Though that has profited Airbus too, with the plane maker announcing a deal for a record 430 of its A-320 neo-family jets - also at Dubai - as US investor Bill Franke's Indigo Partners raised its bet on budget airlines, at a sale price of up to US$50 billion (S$67.4 billion).