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Airbus to end production of A380, world's biggest airliner

The decision comes after main A380 customer Emirates cuts its orders.

Airbus A380

Airbus said it'll cease A380 production.

Kent German/CNET

The final Airbus A380, the largest airliner in the world, will be delivered in 2021.

Airbus opted to end production after Emirates -- its main customer for the double-decker plane -- cut its A380 orders and went for the smaller A330-900 and A350-900 instead, the European company announced Thursday.

"Today's announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide," Airbus CEO Tom Enders said in a release. "But, keep in mind that A380s will still roam the skies for many years to come and Airbus will of course continue to fully support the A380 operators."

Airbus noted that 3,000 to 3,500 jobs could be impacted by its decision, so it'll be talking to unions in the coming weeks and hopes to offer many "internal mobility opportunities" -- shifting people to other roles within the company.

Emirates said a separate release it was "disappointed" that it had to reduce its A380 order, but CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum promised that the airliner will remain one of the fleet's pillars "well into the 2030s."

We got a hint that this was coming in January 2018, when Airbus chief salesman John Leahy said the company needed a certain number of Emirates orders for the A380 program to remain viable.

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