Airbus considers cuts to A380 aircraft production

Airbus has said the A380 can break even at production levels of 20 a year. (Reuters)
Updated 14 December 2017
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Airbus considers cuts to A380 aircraft production

SINGAPORE: Airbus is considering cutting production of its A380 superjumbo to six or seven planes a year, but has made no final decision on the matter, a top executive said on Thursday amid growing question marks over the future of the double-decker jet.
The A380 has battled against sluggish sales, squeezed by smaller, more efficient twin-engined jets, and Airbus has already cut output of the plane from an annual peak of 30 while waiting for a recovery in demand.
“We believe we can produce this aircraft at 6-7 a year in an industrial way,” Airbus Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Bregier said after the first Singapore Airlines Ltd. A380 featuring a new cabin configuration landed in Singapore.
“The A380 will find its way progressively,” he said.
Industry sources told Reuters this week that the company was exploring plans to cut A380 production to as low as six aircraft per year as it battles to make the world’s largest airliner commercially viable beyond the end of the decade.
Following a clampdown on costs, Airbus has said the A380 can break even at production levels of 20 a year, while Bregier has previously said he is pushing the breakeven level as low as possible to sustain low production.
Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders expressed his confidence in the jet on Wednesday, though analysts say ongoing negotiations over a deal with carrier Emirates will be decisive for the future of the aircraft.
Emirates, which held off signing an order for an estimated 36 aircraft at last month’s Dubai Airshow, wants guarantees Airbus will produce the A380 for the next 10 years.
Reducing output to six a year would help to bridge that period and support key second-hand values while Airbus looks for other buyers, but could leave the program losing money for at least part of the period.


Abu Dhabi aims to lure start-ups with investment in new technology hub

Updated 24 March 2019
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Abu Dhabi aims to lure start-ups with investment in new technology hub

  • The initiative will help Abu Dhabi reduce reliance on oil
  • Mubadala hopes to attract Chinese and Indian companies

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi will commit up to $272 million to support technology start-ups, it said on Sunday, in a dedicated hub as part of efforts to diversify its economy.

US tech giant Microsoft will be a strategic partner, providing technology and cloud services to the businesses that join the hub as the capital of the United Arab Emirates continues its push to reduce reliance on oil revenue.
Abu Dhabi derives about 50 percent of its real gross domestic product and about 90 percent of central government revenue from the hydrocarbon sector, according to ratings agency S&P.
The emirate launched a $13.6 billion stimulus fund, Ghadan 21, in September last year to accelerate economic growth. Ghadan means tomorrow in Arabic. The new initiative, named Hub 71, is linked to Ghadan will also involve the launch of a $136 million fund to invest in start-ups, said Ibrahim Ajami, head of Mubadala Ventures, the technology arm of Mubadala Investment Co.
The goal is to have 100 companies over the next three to five years, Ajami said. “The market opportunities in this region are immense,” he added.
Mubadala, with assets of $225 billion and a big investor in tech companies, will act as the driver of the hub, located in the emirate’s financial district.
Softbank will be active in the hub and support the expansion of companies in which it has invested, Ajami said, adding that Mubadala is also aiming to attract Chinese and Indian companies, among others.
Mubadala which has committed $15 billion to the Softbank Vision Fund, plans to launch a $400 million fund to invest in leading European technology companies.
Incentives mapped out by the government include housing, office space and health insurance as part of the $272 million commitment, Ajami said.
Abu Dhabi will also announce a new research and development initiative on Monday linked to the Ghadan 21 plan, according to an invitation sent to journalists.