Planemakers cannot afford to build undelivered "white tails," or aircraft with no buyers lined up in advance, because of the cost of keeping such inventory on their books.
Each A380 is worth $432.6 million at list prices, but after discounts it would sell for significantly less.
Dubai's Emirates, which strongly backs the A380, recently stepped in to buy two A380s stranded by a Japanese airline bankruptcy, but the output cut suggests that although by far the largest customer, it won't always be a buyer of last resort.
Rival Boeing has been cutting production of its 747 jumbo as interest all but evaporated in the passenger version and weak cargo markets dampened interest in a freighter version.
The U.S. planemaker however said on Tuesday it had finalised terms for Russia's Volga-Dnepr to take 20 747-8 freighters, including four that had already been built and lacked buyers.
Industry sources say Airbus is considering ways of improving the A380's performance as it weathers a dry period in sales, while putting aside costlier plans for an engine upgrade.
With doubts intensifying about the global economy, the planemaker believes airlines may lack the confidence to consider the A380, even though the case in favour has been helped by lower oil prices.
Pressure from large twin-engined jets is rising, meanwhile, as Airbus itself considers expanding its A350 jet family to take 400 people, and Boeing ponders stretching its already heavily upgraded 406-seat 777-9 to take another 40-50 passengers.