January is traditionally the month where retailers nudge prices up ever so slightly – rising inflation has to be passed onto consumers at some point or other and it seems that aircraft manufacturers are no different to any other retailer.
In what should make fascinating reading for any avgeek, the European aircraft manufacturer has released its latest price list for 2018. And the bad news for any prospective customers is that prices are going up 2% across the board.
The manufacturer’s smallest aircraft, the 100-seater A319 will set you back a cool $77.4 million. Meanwhile, Airbus’ increasingly popular A319NEO and A320NEO will now cost $101.5 million and $110.6 million respectively. The stretched A321NEO comes in at $129.5 million.
Widebody intercontinental jets start at $238.5 million for the A330-200, while the double-deck A380 costs a huge $445.5 million at list price. And that’s likely to be the minimum amount an airline could be expected to shell out for a new plane – the prices are highly dependent on the level of customisation and engine choices that airlines make.
That being said, the list price and the actual price that airlines pay are two very different things. Airbus enters into complex negotiations with many airlines, offering deep discounts for key partners.
Unfortunately, even Airbus’ crack sales team might not be able to do enough to save the future of the flagship A380. This year Airbus will only produce 12 A380’s – to put that into context, the company delivered a total of 718 aircraft in 2017 and took orders for 1,019 more aircraft from 44 customers.
But the A380 didn’t fare nearly as well. Not a single airline has placed an order for the superjumbo in over two years and the future of the project relies on Emirates, the largest operator of the aircraft by far.
Negotiations, however, have not been going well. An expected order set to be announced at the Dubai Air Show late last year collapsed at the last minute. Since then, senior Emirates executives have been demanding assurances over the future of the project – demands that Airbus may not be able to meet.
In a recent interview, Airbus’ outgoing sales chief, John Leahy has said everything rests on a big order from Emirates:
“If we can’t work out a deal with Emirates, there is no choice but to shut down the programme.”
Elsewhere, Airbus remains more optimistic. Production for the A320 family of aircraft is set to reach an output of 60 per month by mid-2019 – including at the company’s U.S. manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama.
The state of the art (and Dreamliner competitor) A350 is also due to reach productions levels of 10 per month by the middle of this year.
And in the ongoing battle between Boeing over which company is the world’s top aircraft manufacturer, Airbus claims it has been the world’s largest commercial aircraft manufacturer in nine of the past 10 years – with around 53% of total orders.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.