Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

Another A380 Woe?

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

Another A380 Woe?

Old 15th Oct 2018, 00:00
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Posts: 349
Originally Posted by KenV View Post
Airbus has struggled for years to sell more A380s. But in January the A380 program was tossed a lifeline when Emirates agreed to buy another 36. But wait. The purchase of those 36 new Super Jumbos was contingent on significant fuel burn and performance improvements on the engines. While not an NEO (New Engine Option) the "old" engines needed to show a marked improvement in both fuel burn and overall performance. There's been lots of advances in turbo fan technology the past decade, so no big deal, right? Not to so fast. A380 has two engine options offered by two engine manufacturers: the Engine Alliance GP7000 and the Rolls-Royce Trent 900. The Engine Alliance (GE and P&W) have stated flatly they are not interested in making the investment to upgrade the GP7000. GP7000 powers about 60% of A380s. And R-R has just announced that 36 shipsets (about 150 engines including spares) is not nearly enough to cover the costs to upgrade the Trent 900, so they are unlikely to invest in the upgrade either. So to get the upgraded engines Airbus needs to sell more A380s. But to sell more A380s, Airbus needs to guarantee enough engine sales to make the investment worthwhile to R-R. And so far they have not been able to get anywhere close to doing that. The upshot is that there is currently no path for Airbus to obtain engines with the mandatory fuel burn and performance improvements Airbus has contracted for with Emirates. So, is this the final nail in the coffin for A380? Or will Emirates relent and accept A380s with engines that don't meet their performance spec?
Interesting. I think airports in Dubai etc. are bound to see less traffic as very long range flights multiply. The last justification for the A380 was the essential role of Dubai as a crossroads between Europe and Asia. Emirates should feel lucky if they can back out of their deal and let the A380 not-so-gracefully expire.

-drl
deSitter is offline  
Old 15th Oct 2018, 11:21
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 349
Originally Posted by deSitter View Post
Interesting. I think airports in Dubai etc. are bound to see less traffic as very long range flights multiply..
Could you explain a little further as that makes no sense to me - ULR may multiply but it'll never replace n flights a day between major capital cities and Dubai surely ?
GrahamO is offline  
Old 15th Oct 2018, 11:59
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Asia
Posts: 1,262
The Singapore Airlines flight to New York carries far fewer passengers than a normal A350 flight but they are premium passengers rather than discount economy fare payers. What if airlines start offering low density first and business class ULH flights between major cities and leave the economy passengers to do the connecting flights via the usual hubs ?

eg. a non stop LHR - SYD flight might be quite attractive to those who can afford it and could see a reduction in premium passengers connecting through DXB. Effectively an aircraft would be split in two with the front half going non stop and the rear half refueling en route.

Airlines such as Emirates could see a change in passenger make up and a corresponding drop in revenue as their Platinum and Gold members go non stop instead. They could become the new low cost carriers as they chase the lower end of the market.

Obviously its not a total game changer as only certain routes would support an all premium operation, SYD - JFK would be another possibility, and many long haul routes which previously required a stop can be easily done in one hop with a mixed cabin.

Unlike the A380 which is a stand alone aircraft designed for a particular niche, the A350 long range is simply a derivative of an existing, successful type and if the concept of premium ULH doesn't work it's still a B777 competitor.

Last edited by krismiler; 15th Oct 2018 at 12:13.
krismiler is offline  
Old 15th Oct 2018, 12:24
  #24 (permalink)  
ImageGear
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Just my very humble contribution...

Throughout a long career in business, I have observed a significant decline in the amount of business travel being conducted by multinationals. In the 70's, and 80's, all of my travel was in J, with a couple of F's when the trips were time critical. In the 90's, commuting between Southern Africa, Europe and the Mid-West and California over several years. Eventually it became J for over 6 hour trips only, and the rest in economy.

Video conferencing was introduced and after a slow start, became more acceptable and the family enjoyed more of my presence for longer.

Consequently it seems to me that the overall pool of business class punters must be getting considerably smaller. (Unless being compensated for, by the Pacific Rim economies).

If ULH is considered to be a premium product, will enough revenue be available from the pool to make this sector sustainable in the longer term? or is OVERALL airline profitability looking for ever more like a LoCo model.. I'm not talking about a few high rollers because they always have the option of private jets, or "business only" configurations. I suspect that the answer is "not long term sustainable" which would imply that ULH has limited life. Then A380 will become more viable.

IG

Last edited by ImageGear; 15th Oct 2018 at 12:26. Reason: Oops we passed...interesting
 
Old 15th Oct 2018, 13:11
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Asia
Posts: 1,262
The A350 has cracked open the possibility of extreme range non stop flights, at the moment limited to premium passengers because of the inability to carry a standard cabin with the fuel required. As technology improves it may be possible to fly these ranges with normal cabins opening up huge numbers of possible routes. Dubai's success is down to the fact that it's possible to fly non stop from Dubai to anywhere with modern aircraft such as the B777, which means that any two points on earth can be connected via Dubai.

In the 1970s, Bahrain was an important fuel stop as aircraft didn't have much range, once the B744 came on the scene it could easily be overflown by aircraft going to the far east. Gulf Air could easily have been Emirates if they'd taken advantage of their position and utilized the capabilities that the new generation of aircraft held.

However ULH is very inefficient fuel wise as fuel is simply dead weight costing money to fly until it's actually burnt in the engines releasing its energy. Typically a ton of fuel on departure gives around 250 kgs available at the end of the flight, 3/4 of it being used just to carry it along. A lot depends on the price of oil and improvements in aircraft performance, in thirty years time London to Sydney non stop with a standard mix of passengers may be routine. Stopping in Dubai for long haul flight connections might get to be as common as refueling in Shannon prior to crossing the Atlantic, though it is likely to retain importance on routes which can't support direct services.
krismiler is offline  
Old 15th Oct 2018, 14:53
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Seoul
Posts: 105
Hi krismiler,

To what extent is the cost of carrying fuel on ULH offset by the cost of a cycling the plane through a landing and paying airport and fueling fees? On the other hand are crew costs also higher on ULH than two half-segments?

TME
TeachMe is offline  
Old 15th Oct 2018, 15:16
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Asia
Posts: 1,262
Depends on the price of fuel, cost of landing fees, crew wages and numerous other factors which airline planning departments weigh up when trying to decide if a route will be profitable or not. The difference between being in the black or in the red is often very slender with thin profit margins. Some airlines have advantages such as access to cheap labour or a favourable location. A fleet mix which may have been ideal 10 years ago might be unsuitable today.

It's a question of getting the numbers right which is notoriously difficult to do consistently.
krismiler is offline  
Old 15th Oct 2018, 15:44
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: UK
Age: 75
Posts: 246
This is the future in 30 years so will Dubai still be needed?

https://www.reactionengines.co.uk/sa...t-applications

London to Sydney direct in 4.5 hours cruise at marc 5.3 running on liquid hydrogen.

The future is always here today but generally takes 20 years to arrive.
horizon flyer is offline  
Old 15th Oct 2018, 16:51
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: moraira,spain-Norfolk, UK
Age: 79
Posts: 374
Horizon flyer,
much though I support all kind of high speed (space) activities,
I do wonder about the accelerations involved in this plan.
John
esa-aardvark is offline  
Old 15th Oct 2018, 17:00
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 365
Originally Posted by horizon flyer View Post
This is the future in 30 years so will Dubai still be needed?

https://www.reactionengines.co.uk/sa...t-applications

London to Sydney direct in 4.5 hours cruise at marc 5.3 running on liquid hydrogen.

The future is always here today but generally takes 20 years to arrive.
Marvellous though Skylon may well turn out to be (and the omens are good, best of luck to them!), it is not going to be a mass transit system. So whilst some very exotic "airline" service might be offered, for us mere millionaires and below we'll be slumming it on a mere aircraft at < M1.0, but likely with better in flight food.
msbbarratt is offline  
Old 15th Oct 2018, 19:50
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 6,769
Originally Posted by krismiler View Post
Airlines such as Emirates could see a change in passenger make up and a corresponding drop in revenue as their Platinum and Gold members go non stop instead. They could become the new low cost carriers as they chase the lower end of the market.
The ability of a hub operator like Emirates is not driven by the few ultra-long hauls that will come along. London to Sydney, or Singapore to New York (which might even overfly Dubai in certain wind conditions) are one thing, but Dubai allows Edinburgh to Cape Town, or Nice to Hong Kong, or 2,002 other combinations, all with one stop. The numbers of each may be quite a small n, but n times a few thousand adds up.
WHBM is online now  
Old 16th Oct 2018, 11:13
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Florida and wherever my laptop is
Posts: 1,350
Originally Posted by GrahamO View Post
Could you explain a little further as that makes no sense to me - ULR may multiply but it'll never replace n flights a day between major capital cities and Dubai surely ?
Many of the flights to Dubai are for passengers not going to Dubai but flying through. I fly to Atlanta often twice a week but I have only wanted to actually go to Atlanta about three times in the last 5 years. As soon as the thin ULR routes allow pax to go direct to destination then the number going to interchange hubs like Dubai will reduce to a level that an aircraft with a 400 seat capacity cannot be justified. This is especially the case with the fuel economy (and freight carriage) available from smaller twin jet widebodies. It is probable that several hubs will see their interchange traffic reduce and it may affect the airlines based at those hubs in the same way that direct flights from low cost carriers cherry picking attractive thin routes, have reduced the market for spoke-hub-spoke flights from the majors in the US.
Ian W is offline  
Old 16th Oct 2018, 12:31
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reading, UK
Posts: 12,996
Originally Posted by Ian W View Post
Many of the flights to Dubai are for passengers not going to Dubai but flying through. I fly to Atlanta often twice a week but I have only wanted to actually go to Atlanta about three times in the last 5 years. As soon as the thin ULR routes allow pax to go direct to destination then the number going to interchange hubs like Dubai will reduce to a level that an aircraft with a 400 seat capacity cannot be justified. This is especially the case with the fuel economy (and freight carriage) available from smaller twin jet widebodies. It is probable that several hubs will see their interchange traffic reduce and it may affect the airlines based at those hubs in the same way that direct flights from low cost carriers cherry picking attractive thin routes, have reduced the market for spoke-hub-spoke flights from the majors in the US.
Another way to look at the "hub bypass" proposition is to consider how many of the passengers on those 400 seat flights into DXB (or any hub) will be heading for the same ultimate destination. It's only those pax (or rather, a proportion of them who aren't too price-sensitive), plus - possibly - any pax making the same connection over a different hub, who represent the market for a direct flight between the two spoke points.

For all the possible connection opportunities over the hub (as pointed out above), only a very small proportion will turn out to be potential hub bypass markets.
DaveReidUK is offline  
Old 16th Oct 2018, 12:53
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: moraira,spain-Norfolk, UK
Age: 79
Posts: 374
Are all 'business class' passengers actually travelling for business ?
I retired in 1996 and pay my own fare. I travel long haul Europe - Australasia
every year, always business or first. (Actually I've lately started doing it by ship) I see lots of people with children
or older people travelling business. Anyone know what the demographic is for business.
My son is not permitted to travel business (UK-USA) by his employer.
esa-aardvark is offline  
Old 16th Oct 2018, 15:48
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: London/Fort Worth
Posts: 8
Originally Posted by esa-aardvark View Post
I travel long haul Europe - Australasia
every year, always business or first. (Actually I've lately started doing it by ship)

That sounds great - a lot more classy and refined than being squeezed into an aluminum tube for 20 hours.
BAengineer is offline  
Old 16th Oct 2018, 19:55
  #36 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 6,769
Originally Posted by Ian W View Post
As soon as the thin ULR routes allow pax to go direct to destination then the number going to interchange hubs like Dubai will reduce to a level that an aircraft with a 400 seat capacity cannot be justified.
This is ignoring that Dubai etc connections have already seen a considerable ending of direct flights that were already well within capability of established types. Europe to Cape Town, for example, had a number of nonstops which have been lost. BA has given up quite a number of African destinations it served nonstop from London because of this. Twice-daily connections from every European to every key African destination, and many other pairs, have seen the end of what used to be a longstanding nonstop market. As US legacy hub carriers will tell you, frequency trumps all.
WHBM is online now  
Old 16th Oct 2018, 21:13
  #37 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Everett, WA
Age: 66
Posts: 3,273
As US legacy hub carriers will tell you, frequency trumps all.
True, but is the worlds largest airplane the answer? Two/day A380s - which you may not be able to fill, or three/day big twins? And if you can't always fill three big twins because of seasonal changes, you can drop it down to two/day when things are slow, then increase back to three when the demand recovers.
Don't get me wrong, from a passenger perspective the whale is a wonder aircraft - but from an operator standpoint it only makes sense if you can consistently fill it. For a long time, operators needed the 747 because it was the only way to get the range. But for the last decade or so, big twins have had range equal to the big quads, with better operating economics, and passenger 747s have been slowing disappearing, replaced not with the A380 but with big twins.
Few people see than changing in favor of the A380.
tdracer is offline  
Old 16th Oct 2018, 22:28
  #38 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: UK
Age: 75
Posts: 246
Originally Posted by msbbarratt View Post
Marvellous though Skylon may well turn out to be (and the omens are good, best of luck to them!), it is not going to be a mass transit system. So whilst some very exotic "airline" service might be offered, for us mere millionaires and below we'll be slumming it on a mere aircraft at < M1.0, but likely with better in flight food.
They are talking of a three hundred seater at economy prices.
horizon flyer is offline  
Old 16th Oct 2018, 22:49
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 365
Originally Posted by tdracer View Post
True, but is the worlds largest airplane the answer? Two/day A380s - which you may not be able to fill, or three/day big twins? And if you can't always fill three big twins because of seasonal changes, you can drop it down to two/day when things are slow, then increase back to three when the demand recovers.
Don't get me wrong, from a passenger perspective the whale is a wonder aircraft - but from an operator standpoint it only makes sense if you can consistently fill it. For a long time, operators needed the 747 because it was the only way to get the range. But for the last decade or so, big twins have had range equal to the big quads, with better operating economics, and passenger 747s have been slowing disappearing, replaced not with the A380 but with big twins.
Few people see than changing in favor of the A380.
One might argue that the "big twins" are actually quite small, if one takes the A380 as defining "big"!

Also an A380 is a whole hunk more real estate flying between A and B. It allows a different sort of trade; instead of ramping up / down flight frequency, one might ramp up / down economy / business ratio, quality, on board facilities, etc. In a world of widespread sameiness all over the industry, room to be different is valued by some operators, and passengers that pay for it enjoy it.

So perhaps the A380's problem is that a lot of airlines have played through the quality / capacity trade in their heads, and resolved to end up at the dense capacity end point serving existing market shares without actually bothering with the bit in between.
msbbarratt is offline  
Old 16th Oct 2018, 23:00
  #40 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 365
Originally Posted by horizon flyer View Post
They are talking of a three hundred seater at economy prices.
Are they? That's changed from years ago!

Actually what I think they will succeed most with is satellite launch. Some of their earlier plans were not that ambitious - modest weights to LEO. However, in-orbit automated satellite assembly is a growing trend in the industry. If that becomes commonplace, what matters is ease / frequency of launch, not payload on an individual launch. Skylon stands a good chance of being flyable several times a day, ultimately. Whilst Space X are still towing their barge back to shore, Skylon could be topping up with H2 and getting off the ground again with the next slice of satellite, home in time for tea & biscuits.
msbbarratt is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.