there is a value of brand image to maintain.
EK has worked extremely hard on that, so to millions around the world, EK means in-flight showers, first-class suites, and upper deck luxury. It's their brand. Yes, few will experience that, and the 777s can partially replace some of those aspects, but the A380 is closely linked to their brand. People know it and dream of being on it. That's awfully powerful. It doesn't mean it has to be their brand forever, but there is monetary value in that brand, and aspirational value because it directs people to purchase EK flights (even if just Y or J) when they may have pleanty of cheaper options, and that has to be part of their consideration when they make investment decisions.
But really there's only one aspect of the luxury branding which would be unique to the A380, and that's the upper deck. Everything else you cite can be implemented on the 777 or A350 or 787. Heck, we even see suites on the A321. Even if A380 production were to cease tomorrow, EK would still have decades of life left in the A380 fleet -- a very long time to promote every other aspect of luxury they offer. In the end, their brand is Emirates, not A380, and they should promote the brand they control.
The hatred towards the A380 is so great (in particular from here in the US) that they cannot and will not see the positive impact the aircraft can have for certain carriers nor how fantastic of an airplane it is for pax to fly on (many have argued it is a terrible aircraft to fly on only to admit later they hadn't themselves flown on it). There is simply no aguing with that kind of preconceived attitude.
Been on it. I found it uncomfortable largely because the window seats are too far from the side wall in economy, making it impossible to lean against the wall to sleep without the armrest digging into your side and your pillow falling into the row behind. On AF, the IFE system was so outdated and slow as to be near-unusable, but that's an airline thing. I far prefer smaller widebodies -- smaller crowds waiting to board, shorter immigration queues, less of a cluster- at baggage claim.
I guess my point is that any new work that Airbus did world have to be able to compete with the pricing that Boeing could offer on a line that has been paid off. Even if Boeing never sells another Intercontinental, their ability to offer it becomes as a "fleet in being" against any new A380 development and sales.
That might be the case if the -8i and -8F were close to identical, but there are enough differences that maintaining the ability to produce the -8i comes with costs that Boeing may not be willing to eat when the -8i competes with the 777-9 as well as the A380.
We are talking about a 200 million a piece aircraft. Every sale is huge. This is the equivalent of 7-10 A220's or 5-7 A320's, and yet the A380 still has only 1 cockpit, 4 engines and one structure to assemble. How big of a production cost difference is there really between an A320 designed in the 1980's and an A380 designed 20 years later? Have you asked yourself that question.
There's a huge production cost difference. The A320 doesn't require costly production convoys and the high production rate means that Airbus gains significant economies of scale in manufacturing and leverage in dealing with suppliers. You're implying that Airbus is stupid or lying when they publicly state that they are near break-even on production costs for A380. And trust me, the customers have a good idea of what the plane costs to make and what a reasonable margin would be for the manufacturer.
Even if they bring in 200 million in revenue for each A380, it's pointless if they have to sell for a loss and there's no realistic scenario which leads to future A380s being sold for attractive margins. It'd be more justifiable if they could leverage the A380 to induce EK to buy A350 which hasn't worked or in some sort of Airbus Variety Pack order like Kingfisher's.
If in the next 15 years there is a significant advance in propulsion efficiency, everything changes. Everybody will be able to afford to fly, resulting in huge volume increase.
You don't think both Airbus & Boeing have a good handle on where technology in the industry will be in 15 years? Even with some sort of step-change improvement, A380 with its 1990s technology will be a poor competitor against a 2030-designed clean-sheet VLA from Boeing.