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Consolidated "Airbus 380 - problems and discontinuation" thread

Consolidated "Airbus 380 - problems and discontinuation" thread

Old Aug 10, 2014, 12:56 pm
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Consolidated "Airbus 380 - problems and discontinuation" thread

The A380 hasn’t done so well for a number of reasons, some merely cyclical. The plane was introduced amid a deep downturn in the airline business. Airline executives were wary of expanding their fleets aggressively, especially for a costly, four-engine fuel hog.

But critics like Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst at the Teal Group, an aviation consulting firm in Fairfax, Va., say the main problem is more fundamental: Airbus made the wrong prediction about travel preferences. People would rather take direct flights on smaller airplanes, he said, than get on big airplanes — no matter their feats of engineering — that make connections through huge hubs.

Continue reading the main story
“It’s a commercial disaster,” Mr. Aboulafia says. “Every conceivably bad idea that anyone’s ever had about the aviation industry is embodied in this airplane.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/bu...a380.html?_r=1

Article claims it's now being discounted as much as 50% off the $400 million list.

I don't quite get the criticism about hub routing. Don't see that disappearing any time soon. Does competing planes like the 787 make it more likely that the airlines would route around hubs?
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Old Aug 10, 2014, 1:27 pm
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Moving thread to Travel News Forum.
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Old Aug 10, 2014, 2:53 pm
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Another NYT article full with hyperbole.
Fact is, for every route there is an optimal aircraft. For BOS-NRT it is the 787, for JFK-DXB it is the A380.
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Old Aug 10, 2014, 3:11 pm
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I guess from the standpoint of passengers, A380 is a positive because it would generally tend to increase capacity and more award space.

But as the article notes, no US carrier has even sniffed at it.
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Old Aug 10, 2014, 3:31 pm
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There are only 12 to 20 superhub airports on earth where the A380 will ever be a regular, and I think most people understood it was a niche aircraft for select routes long before the New York Times weighed in.
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Old Aug 10, 2014, 3:38 pm
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A great aircraft, which I have flown, for long-haul flights of 8-10 hours or more.

Very comfortable despite the crowd onboard. It seems solid inside too, without any of the creaking and flexing of earlier Airbus aircraft. One does not get the sense of being overly crowded, as the A 380 seating and bulkhead configuration is spacious.

Someday I will get the chance to travel using the Boeing Dreamliner, which I also look forward to.

Last edited by Swissaire; Aug 11, 2014 at 3:24 am
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Old Aug 10, 2014, 3:46 pm
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Must be a Co-incidence then that the fastest growing International Airline over the past 20 years...Emirates...Is also the biggest user of the A380.

Looking at Manchester the Number 2 UK city that BA virtually abandoned, Emirates is now its Number 1 Long Haul Airline.
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Old Aug 10, 2014, 3:52 pm
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I'm not clear on what Emirates ranking in growth has to do with Airbus' financial position on the A380.

Unless Emirates is planning on buying hundreds more, on top of what are already on the books, the aircraft will have a tough time hitting it's break-even sales number.
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Old Aug 10, 2014, 4:06 pm
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What always seems to be missing from this conversation is the infrastructure costs associated with retrofitting existing facilities at airports. I haven't read or worked up a cost-benefit analysis of doing these types of airport improvements, so I'm not saying it's a bad investment. Still, the A380 comes with extra costs to the public entities that run airports here in the US.

I never understood the mindset of the A380 designers with regard to this issue. Standardization exists for a reason. A car maker would never design a vehicle that is wider than the generally accepted width of traffic lanes.
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Old Aug 10, 2014, 4:23 pm
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Originally Posted by CPRich
aircraft will have a tough time hitting it's break-even sales number.
are numbers discussed elsewhere? not in their financials?

Airbus is unlikely to recover its research and development costs. The best it can now expect is to break even on production costs
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Old Aug 10, 2014, 4:36 pm
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As others have mentioned, the A380 would probably be more popular if more airports had the infrastructure to accommodate the behemoth.
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Old Aug 10, 2014, 4:58 pm
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So what are the Long haul routes that the 787 are flying that the A380 is shut out of?
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Old Aug 10, 2014, 5:15 pm
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Originally Posted by lazard
As others have mentioned, the A380 would probably be more popular if more airports had the infrastructure to accommodate the behemoth.
Or if more airlines felt they could fill the plane with high fares and lots of premium pax on at least a few routes. It's fine for an airport like Heathrow with restricted slots, but for 99%+ of intercontinental routes, more frequencies works better for business travelers.
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Old Aug 10, 2014, 6:04 pm
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Airbus knew, going in, that there would be a limited number of sales of the whale. There are many reasons, including the wingspan and other considerations. Boeing had long discussions of going with a revamped B747 having a larger upper deck or with a new double-deck design; they chose neither. The two companies decided on different strategies for four-engine aircraft: Airbus with the A380 and Boeing staying largely out (the B747-8i is having some sales). I seem to recall that Airbus originally said they needed to sell something like 350 - 450 of the A380 to break even (I might be off - being old with weak memory, but there is a number). According the airfleets.net, they are at about 166 with some more for the future. If the A380 is produced long enough, it MAY break even, but I suspect it may not. Consider that Boeing has sold over many times that number of B474s, although over many years. Airbus does have the advantage of European taxpayer support in their commercial line.

Last edited by relangford; Aug 10, 2014 at 7:20 pm
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Old Aug 10, 2014, 6:18 pm
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fantastic plane but it does have a limited market. I doubt that the A380 will be seen as a success when historians write the book on it. Mostly just filling in the role of the 747 on certain routes.

The 787 on the other hand does seem to be a potential game changer, just based on the new routes which have started like LHR-AUS, SFO-CTU, LHR-CTU, NRT-SAN, NRT-BOS, and so on.
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