Airbus A380. Courtesy, Airbus

Airbus this month handed over four A380s, setting a new monthly delivery record for the aircraft. The manufacturer delivered 26 A380s this year, one more than its goal of 25.

Airbus expects to further increase the delivery rate of the A380 and aims to bring the number to around 30 in 2012 and eventually 39-40, A380 product marketing director Keith Stonestreet told ATW in Toulouse.

In the first week of December, Airbus handed over an A380 to Emirates and last week it delivered three—one to  Qantas (QF), one more to EK and one to China Southern (CZ)—bringing the total number of A380s ever delivered to 67 (to seven operators). EK has now 20 A380s in its fleet.

This year, two aircraft were delivered to Air France, five to QF, four to Lufthansa, five to Korean Air, three to Singapore Airlines, five to Emirates and two to CZ.

Stonestreet said A380s are flying on some 50 routes to 28 destinations, and operate to/from 12 of the top 20 airports in total passenger throughput and 14 of world largest international airports. The aircraft is seen daily at nine of the top 10 international airports, but it is a misconception that the A380 is “only a hub-to-hub aircraft. It operates also more and more on hub-to-point,” according to Stonestreet, citing Dubai (DXB)-Manchester and DXB-Jeddah services as examples.

New A380 operators for 2012 include Malaysian Airlines and Thai Airways International, giving Asia a clear majority in the number of A380 operators.