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Is the 380 Doomed?

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Is the 380 Doomed?

Old 23rd May 2020, 02:01
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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Realistically, the 14 day quarantine can't go on forever. Most of the developed world is on the road to recovery with restrictions being eased and businesses gradually opening up. There will be localised outbreaks of COVID-19 such as what happened in South Korea when bars and nightclubs opened up, but this time we are on our guard and prepared to deal with them straight away. Precautions which will remain in place, such as social distancing, temperature checking and the wearing of masks, make a second wave on the scale of the first one extremely unlikely. Just like the additional security precautions after 11 September 2001, we will need to adapt to a new order.

Air travel will slowly resume, however the market will be very different and the airlines are on their knees. Domestic travel in virus free countries will fare best as people will stay within their own borders for safety and affordability. Travel bubbles between virus free countries are already starting which will require non stop flights, and where this isn't possible, severe restrictions will be put in place at the intermediate airport. Refueling, taking on cargo and a crew change being all that's allowed ie no joining transit passengers unless from other virus free countries in a separate terminal where they don't mix with pax from virus affected countries. This throws a spanner in the works for the Middle East 3.

Premium travel will take a hit as most people downgrade a level or two, first to business, business to economy, economy to low cost. Similar for hotels with the Premier Inn and Travel Lodge becoming the preferred options.

Airlines will make the best use of their fleet which is likely to involve A320/B737 replacing wide bodies on routes within their range where demand has dropped. B787s replace B777s and on longer runs. A350/B777 replaces A380 on most routes. A380 becomes a niche aircraft operated by a small number of airlines which fly routes where it can make a profit and justify a sufficient number of them for a critical mass. Having one or two in the fleet won't work.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 04:43
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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One impediment to an extended life for the A380 is the increasingly militant chorus of climate change acolytes. So far they have bullied the airline industry into accepting carbon emission reductions that will be difficult to meet, and the reduction in traffic due to Covid-19 has caused rumblings that the agreed upon goals are inadequate. It appears kicking one after having fallen down is good sport amongst those that feel aviation must be bled even further. As it stands now, IATA members have pledged to meet the following demands:
  • An average improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year from 2009 to 2020
  • A cap on net aviation CO2 emissions from 2020 (carbon-neutral growth)
  • A reduction in net aviation CO2 emissions of 50% by 2050, relative to 2005 levels
These goals assume steady improvement in airliner efficiencies as well as replacement of the existing fleet at a rate quite a bit faster than the historical pace. With airlines operating the A380 already moving to retire them, the difficulties presented by CORSIA amid a collapse in demand could result in the aircraft being taken out of service completely in the near future.

Just recently I've noticed some media stories indicating the airlines are pushing back on the timeline for the CORSIA scheme, because the baseline years for reduction of future emissions are currently 2019 and 2020.

With the drastic reduction in worldwide air travel, using 2020 to establish the baseline will make agreed upon targets almost impossible to meet, and the increased cost of carbon offsets due to distortion of the baseline will prove to be another blow to airlines already on the edge of insolvency. The airlines also have to pay the opportunistic carbon taxes being levied by EU nations, which my cynical side believes are more about revenue generation than saving the planet.

Last edited by ThreeThreeMike; 23rd May 2020 at 06:11.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 09:38
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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https://onemileatatime.com/etihad-ai...ever-fly-a350/

Now it seems that Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is at least considering plans to retire its fleet of A380s, and maybe never fly A350s.
In this post:

Etihad Airways may retire A380s

Reuters reports that Etihad Airways is considering permanently grounding all 10 Airbus A380 aircraft. The airline is reviewing its fleet strategy given the long-term impact that COVID-19 is expected to have on travel demand, as the company’s management expects it will take years to recover.

Etihad’s A380 fleet is an average of under five years old, as the airline took delivery of its first A380 in late 2014, and its most recent A380 in mid 2017.

The challenge is that the government owned airline was struggling long before the current pandemic, as it has lost about $5.6 billion in the last four years. On the plus side, the losses are getting smaller, and the airline “only” lost $870 million last year.

I wonder how this will play out:
  • On the one hand, the A380 offers a lot more capacity than Etihad will likely need anytime in the next few years
  • On the other hand, I hate to say it, but without the A380 Etihad has virtually no allure as an airline
Of course allure doesn’t pay the bills, but Etihad’s A380 is frankly what makes the airline premium in any way, and without it the airline would be completely forgettable. Etihad has done a phenomenal job with the A380 First Class Apartments, and of course the famous three room suite with butler service, known as The Residence.

Etihad Airways may never fly A350s

It’s not just A380 retirement that’s under consideration. Etihad is also allegedly considering never operating any of the Airbus A350s that were ordered several years ago.

Etihad has five confirmed orders for the Airbus A350-1000, and the first one has been ready to go for nearly a year now, and is even painted in Etihad colors. The airline has kept it stored, though.

Last summer, Etihad said it would “re-time the entry into service of five new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft as part of its ongoing business transformation plan,” and we haven’t heard anything further.

Now the airline is at least considering not flying these at all. I imagine that would be a costly decision, given that at least one of the planes is ready to go.

Etihad has already cancelled a massive number of aircraft orders, and this would only be another on that list.

Could we finally see an Emirates & Etihad merger?

For years there has been talk of a merger between Emirates & Etihad:
  • Abu Dhabi and Dubai are just a short 60-90 minute drive apart
  • Dubai World Central is the new airport that Dubai built (though it’s not yet used for Emirates flights), and it’s much closer to Abu Dhabi than the other Dubai Airport

Abu Dhabi Airport, Dubai World Central, Dubai Airport

There’s simply no business sense for the country to have two global airlines so close to one another. However, politics has complicated the situation, as the two airlines are owned by different rulers, and there’s some prestige and ego involved.

While I get why a merger hasn’t happened, if there has ever been a time for the two airlines to merge, this is it — global demand is way down, the airlines are looking at downsizing, etc.

I understand why they didn’t do so when times were good (at least for Emirates), but at this point you’d think there would at least be some discussions surrounding this again…

Bottom line

It’s not surprising that Etihad is keeping all options on the table, given that the airline was already undergoing a transformation before this all started. Etihad is allegedly at least considering retiring A380s and never flying A350s, so we’ll have to see how this unfolds, as a final decision is expected fairly soon.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 14:29
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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Old 24th May 2020, 06:54
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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Air Austral a french airline had in the early's 2010 the plan of 2 very dense a A380 for their flights between Paris and La Reunion Island (1,2 million pax per year). With a 850 pax config + a Low capital cost (which gonna be the case for the second hand A380s) there gonna be for sure a killer ASK that would make the bean counters exctatic.
Would be interesting to have a look of a very dense configuration A380 LOPA. If anyone got link here, please post them.
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Old 24th May 2020, 07:46
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by A380MSN0001 View Post
Air Austral a french airline had in the early's 2010 the plan of 2 very dense a A380 for their flights between Paris and La Reunion Island (1,2 million pax per year). With a 850 pax config + a Low capital cost (which gonna be the case for the second hand A380s) there gonna be for sure a killer ASK that would make the bean counters exctatic.
Would be interesting to have a look of a very dense configuration A380 LOPA. If anyone got link here, please post them.
I understood that one issue with this was that while the A380 can take ~850 pax, it can not take the baggage of 850 pax going on a (multiple) week holiday.
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Old 24th May 2020, 10:19
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Expect ACMI carriers specializing in Religious pilgrimage flights to take advantage of cheap airframes, not necessarily or only A380.
one particular comes to mind...
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Old 24th May 2020, 12:40
  #108 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Icelanta View Post
Expect ACMI carriers specializing in Religious pilgrimage flights to take advantage of cheap airframes, not necessarily or only A380.
one particular comes to mind...
Well, Hifly did it and they doesn"t fly that much with it. Really curious to know the details of the contract they have with the lessor to maintain the aircraft so much on ground.
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Old 24th May 2020, 13:07
  #109 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by procede View Post
I understood that one issue with this was that while the A380 can take ~850 pax, it can not take the baggage of 850 pax going on a (multiple) week holiday.
Are you sure of that?
A 380 Can hold 38 LD3s. Is that not enough for 850 bags?
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Old 24th May 2020, 13:49
  #110 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by A380MSN0001 View Post
Are you sure of that?
A 380 Can hold 38 LD3s. Is that not enough for 850 bags?
Don't think it's the volume that's the issue, it's the weight. 850 people bringing back zam-zam water might cause a few issues.
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Old 24th May 2020, 13:54
  #111 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by A380MSN0001 View Post
Air Austral a french airline had in the early's 2010 the plan of 2 very dense a A380 for their flights between Paris and La Reunion Island (1,2 million pax per year). With a 850 pax config + a Low capital cost (which gonna be the case for the second hand A380s) there gonna be for sure a killer ASK that would make the bean counters exctatic.
Would be interesting to have a look of a very dense configuration A380 LOPA. If anyone got link here, please post them.
I heard this project was dumped as it appeared there would be an issue with too much weight on the upper floor compared to its strength. Not sure about it, though.
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Old 24th May 2020, 15:38
  #112 (permalink)  
 
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How much does would it cost to convert the usual 3 class cabins to an all economy high density configuration ?
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Old 24th May 2020, 16:08
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Originally Posted by Big Pistons Forever View Post
How much does would it cost to convert the usual 3 class cabins to an all economy high density configuration ?
numbers regarding the AF refurbishment from actual cabin (old school A380 cabin) to the new AF standard was estimated at 30-35MÄ per aircraft.

If you go for a basic full economy with a wireless IFE, ballpark would be 12-15MÄ per frame.
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Old 24th May 2020, 16:14
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Ex Cargo Clown View Post
Don't think it's the volume that's the issue, it's the weight. 850 people bringing back zam-zam water might cause a few issues.
Max payload is 84 tonnes, so that would be slightly under 100 kilos' per pax, which should be okay.
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Old 24th May 2020, 16:24
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Originally Posted by A380MSN0001 View Post
numbers regarding the AF refurbishment from actual cabin (old school A380 cabin) to the new AF standard was estimated at 30-35MÄ per aircraft.

If you go for a basic full economy with a wireless IFE, ballpark would be 12-15MÄ per frame.
That is a big chunk of upfront change to put into an airframe with a very uncertain future......
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Old 24th May 2020, 16:35
  #116 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by procede View Post
I understood that one issue with this was that while the A380 can take ~850 pax
Exit limit is 868 pax (evacuation considerations).
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Old 24th May 2020, 17:09
  #117 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Big Pistons Forever View Post
That is a big chunk of upfront change to put into an airframe with a very uncertain future......
sure but in a desperate situation such as A380 lessors Will be soon, they Will have to consider all the options on the table
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Old 24th May 2020, 20:29
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At least one of the birds is getting a cargo makeover, see here: https://www.flightglobal.com/air-tra...138247.article

I wonder if a conversion to a combi layout would be feasible and make any sense: cargo on the lower deck, pax on the upper.
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Old 24th May 2020, 20:39
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Originally Posted by 172driver View Post
At least one of the birds is getting a cargo makeover, see here: https://www.flightglobal.com/air-tra...138247.article

I wonder if a conversion to a combi layout would be feasible and make any sense: cargo on the lower deck, pax on the upper.
From a crashworthiness aspect, that would be okay. You would probably still have the same limitations as aircraft with belly cargo vs. full freighters, as you cannot fully depressurize the cabin in case of fire.
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Old 25th May 2020, 12:56
  #120 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
Exit limit is 868 pax (evacuation considerations).
Per AFM & EASA certification the max is 853, plus 20 crew. Your figure is an (oft quoted) Wikipedia reference which is incorrect.
Still the gist of your statement is correct in that it can accommodate a lot of pax plus bags which is what Air Austral were hoping to do.
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