Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has announced plans to stop the production of the world's largest commercial passenger plane, the A380 superjumbo, by 2021.

The European aviation giant said on Thursday it would cease production of the airliner after 12 years in service due to weak sales.

With two decks of spacious cabins and room for 544 people in the standard layout, the superjumbo was designed to challenge Boeing's legendary 747, but it failed to take hold as airlines backed a new generation of smaller, nimbler jets.

The company said in a statement that Emirates - a UAE-based airline, which had the A380 as the backbone of its fleet - is cutting back its orders for the plane as a result.

Al Jazeera's Natacha Butler reports from Airbus HQ in Toulouse.

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