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A380 - the best is yet to come

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A380 - the best is yet to come

Old 18th Jul 2018, 01:41
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A380 - the best is yet to come

Marketing hype or genuine possibility?. Personally I have a feeling that the bird has flown on any chance for the A380 to be a commercial success.

The head of Airbus' aircraft operations has mounted a strong defence of the troubled A380 super-jumbo jet, claiming its "best years are ahead of us".

Tom Williams insisted the A380's absence from the Farnborough Airshow had nothing to do with falling sales.

It's the first time in more than a decade that the flagship aircraft has been absent from the global showcase.

An Emirates Airline order for A380s earlier this year has helped bolster the programme, but speculation about its future won't go away.

The European aircraft manufacturer, whose wings are made in the UK, has become dependent on the Dubai-based airline to keep A380 production alive.

But one of the costliest aircraft projects ever undertaken has been battling for customers ever since the first plane was delivered to Singapore Airlines in 2007.

Production has been cut several times as airlines shunned the plane due to high operating costs and competition from more efficient, but smaller, rival aircraft. Airbus is expected to make just eight A380s next year.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44867749
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 05:35
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They should have made it easier to make a freighter version or at least a viable conversion.
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 08:45
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Originally Posted by Pugilistic Animus View Post
They should have made it easier to make a freighter version or at least a viable conversion.
Most definitely.
The 380 is on the way out. I certainly like it as a passenger but it is not economically viable except for a few niche markets.
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 10:12
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Airbus always has bet on fuel above 100$ and congestion/saturation in some major airports , especially Europeans ones to justify the 380 . . They got it wrong ( so far ) on the fuel price, but congestion is coming , and very fast ..So I will not bury the beast yet..
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 12:28
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Something of a problem when the predicted major market would rather just expand airport capacity at a seemingly endless rate than operate larger aircraft.
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 13:15
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History will tell us whether the aircraft was 15 years too early or 15 years too late. I’m betting on the latter
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 15:18
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but congestion is coming
A doubling of A380 operations might alleviate runway congestion but will the terminals be able to cope?
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 15:36
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The A380 should never have seen the light of day. Boeing offered Airbus a joint effort which Airbus refused, that was the writing on the wall, Boeing cancelling all their plans for an ultra large long haul aircraft sealed the fate of the A380. It commanded, at best, a small niche market for a few of the major carriers on certain routes. Passengers like it but that alone doesn’t make it a commercial success. Possibly intended as a B747 replacement but the B747 had already been replaced by a number of both Boeing and AirBus big twins. Quite significant is the fact that right now there is no apparent market for the 10 year old airframes that are coming up for disposal at the end of their lease period. (Put most of this on PPRuNe years ago, wasn’t believed though!)









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Old 18th Jul 2018, 16:38
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Originally Posted by Hotel Tango View Post
A doubling of A380 operations might alleviate runway congestion but will the terminals be able to cope?
Maybe not in the short term , but on the other hand it is far easier and much quicker to build an extra terminal and an apron than an extra runway .
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 17:20
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Originally Posted by Hotel Tango View Post
A doubling of A380 operations might alleviate runway congestion
This sounds nice on paper, but .... It might work if only 380ies would operate from these runways. But as DXB shows, a mixed operation with 737, 320 and smaller needs greater separation due to wake-turbulence of the supers. Even heavies need more separation from the behemoths. DXB during rush hour has a steady and very healthy mix of S/H/M and sometimes L aircraft. The result is some painful waiting for TO or LDG and i reckon a haul of more or less the same amount of total pax per hour as without the supers. At least not that much of a spectacular increase worth more supers.
I guess that no airport would go down the road of super and heavy only. They might improve the situation if they dedicated one runway for the biggies and another one for the rest, but even this would face some huge organisational problems not worth more supers.
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 17:42
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Airbus were ALWAYS going to build it - alone. The men at the top just HAD to build something bigger than Boeing. It's the way humans work. On a more practical note, Heathrow will be delighted as it's the only way to get easy extra capactiy. Especially since R3 will never be built. {Tosees hand grenade over shoulder and leaves the bar ...}
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 17:43
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The problem with the "alleviating congestion" story is that nearly every airport has far more short-haul flights than long-haul, and far more flights on sub-200 seat airplanes than supra-200 seat airplanes. Therefore, the A380's ability to alleviate congestion is very limited. It is just not economic to operate on short sectors -- and most long-sector routes (aside from NYC-LON and a few others) don't support multiple dozen daily frequencies that would be a prerequisite for the A380 to be both economic and to make any dent in congestion. Consolidating 3x773s into 2xA380s on a route isn't going to move the congestion needle.
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 18:20
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Originally Posted by Pugilistic Animus View Post
They should have made it easier to make a freighter version or at least a viable conversion.
As I understand it, the A380 has much more volume than the weight it could lift in a cargo configuration with typical cargo loads, so what would a freighter version of it look like? Bigger engines in order to take advantage of more of it's copious volume? Also there's the question of airport infrastructure at places where manufacturing takes place, which aren't necessarily the big passenger hubs.

It seems like it's fundamentally a bet on the hub and spoke model for passengers, and was designed accordingly, which to some degree excludes its use as an efficient dedicated freighter.
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 19:46
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Twin engined aircraft are much cheaper to operate and have the same or better range than four engine models. Bye bye 747 and 380 aircraft.
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 19:46
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher View Post
Maybe not in the short term , but on the other hand it is far easier and much quicker to build an extra terminal and an apron than an extra runway .
But isn't the direction of travel in the industry to use smaller regional airports for point to point travel. The big hubs like LHR might be congested but the Hub model is dying. I see that even Southend is having a renaissance.
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 20:13
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Originally Posted by 4Greens View Post
Twin engined aircraft are much cheaper to operate and have the same or better range than four engine models.
True. But that only matters if it's aircraft-mile costs (as opposed to SMCs) that are important and/or if you want to fly a long way. Which, admittedly, is the case for many (but not all) markets.

If there were no routes on which the A380/B748 had better economics, everyone would just have bought 777-300ERs instead.
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 22:01
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And what about wake turbulence separation, longer runway occupancy times, slow taxispeeds, limited routings, it doesn’t increase efficiency....
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 22:29
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Who knows what the future may hold. It's interesting that Emirates decided to buy more airframes rather than see it go out of production, so there's at least one major customer who believes in it. And having ridden it as a paying customer, I can fully understand why Emirates likes it. It was a totally full flight, and it was excellent. Had RR engines too which was nice, but I'm biased...

Time will, of course, tell. There's some studied opinions here and there that suggest that a properly optimised, NEO version would have very good economics provided you could fill it. However it's clear that buying A380 requires the customer to have been taking very large brave pills; buying big is a once-in-a-lifetime bet. Perhaps when (if?) the world economy gets properly back into the swing of things... Anyway, I suspect that if an A380neo turned up operating in competition on your most profitable long haul route, you'd soon be waving goodbye to your passengers. That kinda happens now with the A380 as it is today.

Personally speaking I hope that it does succeed in the long run. It's not reasonable to call it a failure at the moment, even if you do take a one-model-at-a-time approach to company accounting. Has Airbus made a profit out of it? Likely not. Has Airbus got endless free marketing out of it (for it's luxury, passenger popularity, etc)? Oh yes. Have they re-used a lot of the engineering on other models? Yes.

Regarding the public popularity of it, when an aircraft is so good that my aged mother knows what it's called and makes flight purchasing decisions based on who is operating it, then that aircraft has made a deep impression on the public. Nothing else in the sky has ever done that! I'd also heard that Emirates a while back had to replace their 777 service Manchester-Dubai because no one was buying tickets for it; they were all buying tickets for the other two services of the day which were A380.

Maybe that's why Emirates are so keen to keep the production line going. They know that if they stop operating A380s and replace it with something inferior, their passenger share will likely suffer.
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 23:14
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If memory serves, the 747 was similarly an aircraft that sold poorly during its first decade. If that precedent holds true, the 380 should see a resurgence, perhaps in another couple of years.
Real challenge is whether Airbus is prepared to invest in a stretch, which would be the next logical step.
Imho, the gating item is the ground processing, not the market demand. We need to be able to process a planeload of passengers instantly, rather than serially.
Boarding procedures that date back to the age of sail need to be brought up to date if aviation is to step into the future.
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Old 18th Jul 2018, 23:30
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Originally Posted by msbbarratt View Post

Regarding the public popularity of it, when an aircraft is so good that my aged mother knows what it's called and makes flight purchasing decisions based on who is operating it, then that aircraft has made a deep impression on the public. Nothing else in the sky has ever done that! I'd also heard that Emirates a while back had to replace their 777 service Manchester-Dubai because no one was buying tickets for it; they were all buying tickets for the other two services of the day which were A380..
I think you are in a minority there. In my experience most PAX have no idea what aluminium tube they are sitting in and decide on their flight by looking to see who has the cheapest ticket on Priceline.com and hit that button.
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