Airbus to cut A380 assembly rate to one aircraft per month from 2018

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PARIS (Reuters) - Airbus AIR.PA plans to slow the assembly rate of its A380 superjumbo to one aircraft per month from 2018, the head of the A380 program told Le Figaro, as the European planemaker struggles to revive sales of the world's largest passenger jet.

“This decision allows us to smooth our deliveries pending new orders,” Alain Flourens told the French newspaper. Airbus’ assembly rate for the A380 currently stands at 2.5 aircraft per month.

Airbus has said the double-decker is still attractive because it believes it helps to solve airport congestion and growing air traffic.

But sales of large four-engine airliners like the 544-seat A380 have been hit hard by improvements in the range and efficiency of smaller two-engined models, which can be easier to fill.

“The A380 still has a place in the Airbus product portfolio,” Flourens said, adding that Airbus plans to improve the plane’s efficiency.

(This version of the story was corrected to say 2018, not 2017 in headline and 1st paragraph)

Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva