The order by Emirates Airlines for 50 more Airbus A380s had been hinted at for some time, and it is certainly welcome for the backlog. This deal, coupled with the MOU announced at the Paris Air Show for 20 from lessor Doric, expected to be firmed up by year end, adds 70 orders to the long-stalled total count, which was 259 prior to either deal (net of three cancellations from Lufthansa Airlines). This now brings Airbus to 329 orders.
It’s still well short of the 650 orders Airbus expects to snare over the next 20 years from its September 20-year forecast. These expectations are on top of the existing order stream, and a figure that hasn’t changed much since its first Very Large Aircraft forecast in 2000.
(The current forecast is for about 1,300 VLA passenger models; Airbus expects to receive 50% of the market. This is before the 777-9X, barely qualifying as a VLA at a nominal 407 passengers, entered the picture. Up to now, Airbus has been capturing nearly 90% of the VLAP market against Boeing’s 747-8I.)
AIN Online beat us to our plan to assess the future risks for the A380, particularly as it heads into the secondary market, with this analysis. We agree with the broad conclusion that there will be little secondary market opportunity for the airplane beginning in 2020 when the first of Emirates Airlines’ behemoths start coming off lease.
One lessor, who is not an A380 owner, says it will cost about $20m to reconfigure an A380 in a typical three-class layout with the usual bells and whistles. Doric Lease, in an interview with Bloomberg, says Airbus needs to standardize configuration to make re-leasing the giant plane easier.