Airbus ponders lowering production rate on A380

June 5, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Airbus “likely” will decide this year to lower production rates below 1/mo in 2019, officials said today during a press event at the IATA Annual General Meeting in Cancun, Mexico.

They declined to indicate what the “likely” rate will be, despite being pressed several times.

John Leahy, COO-Customers, was making the case to reporters that despite a slowdown in order now experienced by the industry, production rates won’t come down.

Due to record backlogs at Airbus, “and Boeing is not that far behind us, we are increasing production,” Leahy said. “We’re moving up to rate 60 [per month] on the single aisle. I’d like to see the rate even higher.

“We’ll be at rate 10 on the A350 we’re stabilizing at rate six on the A330 and we’re looking at the A380 and how to break even at about less than one airplane a month. That’s a unique situation, as you’ll see for a unique airplane.”

Reporters jumped on the news.

Decision needed this year

“Yes, it’s likely we may have to go below rate one,” said Didier Evrard, EVP Programmes. “We will continue to study possibilities to go below rate one while keeping the program [at break even] on the financial side.”

Airbus needs orders this year to maintain rate one, the company said., although Leahy said accelerating orders from future years into 2019 could maintain rate one.

“There are various things that can be done, but the important point is to get the airplane to at least break even at a lower production rate to get through a period of softness in the market for large airplanes so that we are there for the airplane in the next decade,” Leahy said. “We think it’s going to be very strong.”

Leahy declined to say what the lower rates are Airbus is studying.

“I’m looking to maintain the rate [1/mo], he said. “Didier is trying to protect if we have to go below that. We don’t lose money on the program.”

49 Comments on “Airbus ponders lowering production rate on A380

  1. So from this do we infer that the Emirates orders have disappeared into thin air? I fear we are going to see a situation in 6 months time where John Leahy is bullishly predicting achieving breakeven at a lower production rate of precisely 0 per month…

      • Maybe not as funny as it sounds.

        Lufthansa is talking about lowering 777X orders.

        With the ME3 in a mess and the cat fight around Qatar, that could take out the rest of that market.

  2. As B.B. King sang. ” the thrill is gone”. The euphoria with the A380 is fading, its limited to many less routes than the large twins and the orders have dried up. Without EK, the A380 is DOA. With used A380’s being available soon, what will be the response for these birds and how many more cancellations for new frames will there be? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Lufthansa also said, the 777X is a very large aircraft, the A350 may be the better one for our needs.

      • I think the a350 could be EASILY densified using the latest generation of staggered seating as seen the last few years at AIX, making it ‘seat wise’ competative with the 777x.

        Go 10-abreast on the a350 with these new ‘cozy-suite’ type seats, staggered seats etc. etc. and you have large seats, good personal room, a large cabin etc. with little or no loss of perceived space.

        I think the a380 11-abreast solution is odd, in that it is trying to squash ‘current generation’ seats into the same space.

        Odd to see seat design stay the same. Airbus need to get a bit more ‘pushy’ with seat designs if they want to densify.

        • If Airbus can’t sell A380 with the current density, then what makes you think even more empty seats helps the situation?

          Once you turn it into a packed 777, then you have lost the one edge you have, a much nicer experience flying.

  3. I think it is time for the EU to cancel the OpenSkies agreement med Dubai, if the latter thinks the 777x is the only aircraft they should have on order. It is time to order some more A380s or be gone. 🙂

  4. The official backlog of the A380 (even without the Amedeo orders that have been dead for years) would still justify a production rate of at least 1 per month. Reducing the production rate below that could be an indicator that the remaining 47 orders from Emirates are either not going to be taken in full or will undergo further deferrals. As Emirates was also the strongest proponent of an A380neo, this could signal very bad news for the future of the programme, regardless whether Airbus invests in upgrades or not.

    The question that remains is whether this is good news or bad news for the 777x.

    • I think it is bad news for the 777X too. A380 is all about high profit from high capacity. 777X is built around the same idea, just not quite on the same scale.

      However there are a lot of 777s flying around the place, and normally they’d have to be replaced sooner or later. If the 777X also fails to sell well (it’s not particularly well I reckon), 747s and older 777s get scrapped and the A380 line closes with older airframes not being replaced, surely all that is going to bring about an actual reduction in long haul capacity?

      I can’t see how the sales of 787/A350 can possibly add up to the same capacity; there’s simply not the slots at key airports, and they’re not as big as any of those other aircraft.

      Is that unthinkable? There’d be fewer people flying round the planet?

      • I tend to agree. The 777X will likely be a great airplane – eventually [and that’s important on new-dev] – but it’s reliant on a few large customers – now having growing pains, has stalled sales of it’s predecessor [777ceo] cutting out income at Beoing, is less modern [all-round] than it’s competitor [a350], that has further stretch/shrink capability, and is not as much a family as perhaps the 777 title may suggest, with the engines/wings being very different from the original. If it is a family – it’s at the very large range where a family may not be as valuable.

        • The 777X may be too large. Its worst issue is ME3 exposure but Lufthansa is weighting in with possible deferrals (or maybe they want a better deal?)

          The A350 can go a bit further up

          It can’t economical shrink. The 800 is dead.

  5. I somehow fear that it also means bad news for the 777x. While it certainly will be a splendid aircraft, it seems to me, that it just crossed a barrier of being too big. With planes available that have very competitive seat costs but allow direct flights to destinations with less demand, the 777x might suffer a fate of being too difficult to fill for many airlines too.

    • Definitely possible and its exposure is in the same ME3 and more so Emirates as the A380.

  6. Ironically 47 orders are not going to be fulfilled. Amedeo (20), Air Accord (3), VS (6), the 8 remaining for QF, and 10 unknown. EK must be in communication with Airbus about rearranging its backlog. Nobody is buying planes as big as the A380 to fly them empty.

    As others have mentioned, Airbus should just cut the cord, swallow the loss now and move on.

    • As others have mentioned, Airbus should just cut the cord, swallow the loss now and move on.
      From the above article, their plan is to keep production of the A380 profitable/around break-even and wait it out so they have the plane available when demand picks up. Which could of course mean having the plane available to be able to at least do a NEO on it.
      Keeping the line running around break-even is also a way of ensuring that people and suppliers are kept trained on the processes, and they’d avoid the considerable cost of mothballing and reactivating the line.
      It’s a gamble, of course.

      • The Ex-Im bank cirkus is effecting all widebody sales right now. With middle class population increaseing in the world and new more effective aircrafts certified the pax volume will come. There is upgauge in the narrowbody market as hardly any A319 or 737-7 are sold. As the 777-300ER’s are retired the question will be if they will be traded in for 777-9’s or A350’s or A380’s. With engineering resources at Airbus becoming available should they do the A322, A350-1100 or A380neo? All of them needs new wings and engines to be competetive, my bet is for the A322 with slightly upgraded current engines then the A380neo with RR Advance. Emirates could trade one for one as they are retired.

        • I’d be spending my money on an a322 with new wings, and back-feeding that new wing/engines/maybe nose to the a321/a320. I do hope any new wing is designed with a central structure that can be ‘dressed’ to optimize it for the family.

          • I don’t think stretching out production of the A380 is a gamble.

            Making it originally under the rosy predictions was the gamble.

            Its juts prudent. Maybe there indeed will be a miracle on ice.

            It does not cost much to keep an OPTION open.

            Gambling comes when you keep making them and there are no orders.

            When the A380 does need to be replaced, it its gone, then the 777X gets the orders.

  7. Logic says that if the long haul passenger market is going to expand at any rate at all, then ultimately the airlines doing that are going to need planes bigger than the ones currently flying. That’s easier than building new airports / runways. It’s not entirely surprising that LHR sees a lot of A380 movements, it’s about the only way to expand the market flying through there…

    It certainly doesn’t smell promising for the A380 market in the short term, sadly. However, even if Airbus have to mothball the production line, they can reactivate that when appropriate, though at a cost. But if the VLA market did revive Airbus would be in a very good position to spring back into it, possibly with a neo offering.

    To me it feels more like its a matter of passenger market size being the current limiting factor, not aircraft efficiency. It’s so much bigger than anything else that, provided you can fill it, it’s a money spinner. Is that about right do you suppose?

    I do wonder though whether or not it has become a self-fullfilling prophecy. It has got a reputation amongst passengers for being a much nicer plane to fly on. Presumably that means that replacing it with something less spacious / quiet (9 across 787, 10 across 777(X)?) would be seen as a downgrade by passengers.

    So the prophecy is, if you withdraw A380 from an established and popular route, will that result in a collapse in the market on that route? If you’ve gone A380 once, are you then stuck with A380 forevermore? If so, could it be that major A380 operators will have to buy more A380s regardless of need simply because they’d lose out badly if the production line closes?

    I do have some doubts about that prophecy – A350 is supposed to be very nice, so using one of those on a former A380 route should keep passengers happy. But I bet there’s no showers, or multi-room suites, or bar areas, etc on an A350…

    Cassey Neistat did a vlog about a business class ride on Emirates, and they upgrade him to 1st on the return journey. That was a solid 30+ minutes of widely viewed free advertising for Emirates. I wonder how much business that drummed up?

    • There are rumors on Emirates planning a A380 roll over program when the oldest are retirering with the A380+, most likely some empty mass reductions, aero cleanup, massive split wet winglets and some optimizing of cabin floor layout and design ahead of the A380neo.

  8. @Matthew:

    “It’s not entirely surprising that LHR sees a lot of A380 movements, it’s about the only way to expand the market flying through there…”

    What we are seeing at congested airports such as LHR are major shifts at the “lower end” not the “upper end” and that’s part of the problem.

    For example: what we’re seeing is that carriers/planes are going from A319–>A320’s, A320’s—>A321’s, A321’s—->A330’s, etc.

    The B77X program will have some potential problems as well but its a much smaller plane than the A380 and will still allow for many B77W operators to slightly upguage while still having excellent trip costs.

    • So the up sizing trend is happening, but not yet extensively enough at the large long haul end of the market.

      It has worked to some extent. Emirates (last time I looked) runs one on the Birmingham Dubai route. That’s exactly the kind of regional airport that the 787 was designed for, but for that specific route an A380 is seemingly the right size.

      Oh well, time will tell…

  9. I think we are all missing the point on MOM. The only way that it can make even partial sense is for it to offer significant operating savings over the A330. This assumes of course it is a twin aisle and Boeing cede the A321 space over the medium term. If oil is not moving in the medium term it really doesn’t matter what is thrown at the MOM but it simply won’t be able to compete. Access to new or relatively new A330 at knockdown prices just make the economics of any new aircraft very wobbly at best. As with all new tech aircraft recently launched their raison d’être is fuel burn, take that out of the equation and the competitiveness declines

    • The too large engine and too heavy airframe are still there.

      NEO or not, you wind up paying for something you don use.

      Your comelier eats your lunch with lower fares.

      Landing fees are less.

      • “The too large engine and too heavy airframe are still there. NEO or not, you wind up paying for something you don use.”

        That would also hold true for the 787.

        However, Boeing can’t afford selling 787s as cheap as Airbus can sell A338s/A339s. That’s the difference. A Boeing MOM would have to compete with “cheap” A321s/A322s and A338s/A339s — not a compelling business case if you ask me.

        • If Boeing designs a A330-200 sized superlight Aircraft with 40k Engines and very low maintenace cost and low fuel burn and a good leasing price including Gold Care many Airlines will jump on board. If well designed and requiring very Little expensive maintenance Boeing can cash in the difference. Airbus must do something similar like a massive weight reduction on the A330-800 with new 797 Engines.

  10. The A380 problem is a marketing one fundamentally. Airlines stuck to the model they know, which is to center their profit on business class with frequent flights and planes no bigger than they need be. It would only take one major airline to center its profits on moving large numbers of economy passengers as cheaply as possible through scale and not worrying about frequency. That would knock the business class as main profit model out the water. Emirates are closest to that model, but it hasn’t taken off elsewhere.

    • I disagree. If an airline is going to operate in a dense configuration, it’s better off using a 787, A350, or even 777-300ER. The A380’s problem is that it doesn’t seem to offer a unit cost advantage over those smaller planes, even if configured comparably.

      Plus, if you’re going to be flying 700+ seat A380s, you probably need a hub and spoke business model. There aren’t that many routes where you could sell 700 tickets for a single point-to-point flight at reasonable fares. But a hub-and-spoke model doesn’t work too well with one flight a day. (And it’s even worse with less-than-daily routes.)

      Pretty much the only thing the A380 has going for it is that there’s so much space in the cabin that the ME3 have put in these luxurious first class (and biz class) sections.

      • Or to put it another way. You can add up to 700 seats.

        Can you fill them?

        If not you still have a lot of unhappy passenger who get an empty seat net to them but can’t use it well. m

      • @Adam Levine-Weinberg

        The hub-and-spoke model seems to work quite well for Emirates’ one A380 flight a day to Copenhagen (two class, 615-seat configuration operated by EK since December 2015).

        Copenhagen has an urban population of about 1.3 million (Municipal: about 600000). Copenhagen is slightly bigger than the city of Jacksonville, Florida.

        Now, if Emirates can profitable operate one daily 615-seater to CPH, where travellers have plenty of other intercontinental flight alternatives — which would not be the case if you’re residing in, for example, Jacksonville, Florida — it shouldn’t take too much imagination to realise that, say, a decade hence. Emirates could quite easily be operating the A380 on daily flights to at least 100 cities the size of Copenhagen.

        As of 2015, there are about 500 metropolitan areas around the world with a population of one million people or more

        Mainland China has 105 metropolitan areas with over a million people each.

        By 2030, it is projected that China will have 148 million-people cities, out of a worldwide total of 663.

        • Addendum

          Too many US-based industry analysts seem to have a hard time understanding that there’s a world outside of the USA.

          Despite the disbelief from quite a few US-based analysts, Emirates is planning to fly A380s all over the place. In fact, they are already doing it with 777s and A380s: one stop from Latin America to Asia (and vice versa); one stop from North America to Asia, Australasia and Africa (and vice versa); one stop from Europe to Eastern Africa, South East Asia and Australasia (and vice versa); and one stop from Africa to Asia (and vice versa).

          • Emirates is capacity constrained right now; it can’t add flights willy-nilly. A decade from now, when the new airport is fully operational and Emirates can add frequency, it will make a whole lot more sense to fly 2x daily to a place like CPH with a smaller plane than 1x with an A380.

            1x daily flights are fine for point-to-point traffic and customers connecting to big destinations with multiple daily flights. But if you’re flying between two smaller spokes with one daily flight for each leg, layover times can be atrociously long. E.g. Copenhagen to Entebbe has a 9-10 hour layover in both directions. Fly two daily A350-900s or 787-10s to CPH and that problem would be much smaller.

        • Urban populations dont tell the whole story. Copenhagen is the political and business capital of Denmark, that accounts for more traffic. As well the airport is the international gateway for nearly 6 mill people not 1.3 mill. Add in tourists ( which is why Orlando has more traffic than Jacksonville).
          Then when you look at China’s million people cities, you forget about rail traffic and the high speed lines, which were designed to reduce the need for air travel.
          The first rule of traffic hubs is that not all cities are equal

          • @dukeofurl

            CPH is much less an international gateway than it used to be. When SAS had a monopoly, Norwegians and quite a lot of Swedes were flown in on SAS single aisles and transferred at CPH to SAS wide-bodies flying intercontinental route sectors. Today, very few Norwegians, for example, transfer at CPH. In fact, it’s just a matter of time before Emirates will upgrade their daily OSL flight from a 77W to an A380.

            As for China, their high speed rail system is primarily designed to transport passengers intra-China. Of course, airports are being connected to high speed lines, but China is still planning, apparently, to build 136 new airports by 2025.


          • Thats not the point about what “Copenhagen used to be”. The reality is that for nearly 7 mill people it is their main gateway, no way does that compare with an obscure place like Jacksonville, who would be lucky to have a 767 to LAX or JFK let alone your thinking a A380 to an international location. ( they do have international service to Toronto with a Canadair CRJ)
            Just for the record 2016 passengers numbers:
            Jacksonville 5.5mill, mostly domestic
            Copenhagen 29 mill.
            What was it you were saying about Copenhagen dropping away ?
            (2.5 mill of those were travelling between London and Copenhagen alone- now thats a route for an A380 !- with 23 departures for a week day)

          • @dukeofurl

            There’s no point in making too much out of the insignificant city of Jacksonville. 😉 It’s just one out of 500 metropolitan areas around the world with a population of one million people or more.

            The reality is that Scandinavians are the world’s biggest international travellers*, while most Americans prefer “staying at home”. As demand for air travel over the next two decades is set to double, the question is if world travelling patterns catering to this growth will resemble those of Scandinavians or those of Americans. I would bet on the former.

            However, you seem to have missed the points that CPH is not a hub for Emirates; that there’s fierce competition at CPH for intercontinental passengers; that CPH’s effective catchment area has, in fact, decreased due to the increase in P2P flights from airports such as OSL, ARD, GOT, BGO, TRD, SVG, BLL, MMX, AAL and TRF; and, finally, that the growth at CPH (and at OSL, ARN etc.) has primarily been driven by economic growth and cheaper air travel — the same thing that’s happening all over the world.


          • Jacksonville was your choice not mine. The city where I live, population not that much different from Jacksonville, but 17mill passengers through the airport, multiple A380 services and other long haul. Again its the gateway for a country, business , tourist traffic that a place like Jacksonville will never be.
            Yes Americans can be more interested in flying domestically, its a big diverse country , so they should. ( Once you have been from one side of Denmark to the other, you would want to see bigger things as well.)
            My recommendation would be to stay away from the population tables and look at the airport numbers. That is a greater indication of number of future travellors. Sure the Gulf states now are an outlier as their location meant they could be a transit hub that wasnt obvious 20 years ago.
            The other point is even laying on a daily 787 international service costs a lot of money over a year, and an airline has to be pretty sure of getting most of it back in revenue for the first year and make a profit not long after.
            Most large airlines have their own hubs to operate from which can feed traffic from the major cities within 2 hrs. In this China and USA would be similar. Deltas hub at Atlanta means it operates most international and other widebody service from there. Miami futher south is another large hub ( but not with a dominant airline). Jacksonville in between doesnt have a chance. Im only concentrating on the place you named , as there are 100s of bigger cities of that size , who wont be making it as international destinations, eg Columbus Ohio can stay with its obscurity.

          • @dukeofurl

            In contrast to most other countries in the world, Americans fly domestically more than anyone else in the world, because there are no other viable alternatives to flying, except for driving. In addition, there is not much competition left in the US airline industry, which would seem to indicate that air-travel for the masses in the US is in a pretty miserable and pathetic situation.

            With all due respect, but it may look as if you’ve got no idea what’s happening elsewhere.

            First, European regulators have tried harder to preserve competition between existing carriers. The EU has been willing to block mergers, such as a proposed tie-up between Ryanair and Aer Lingus, and to prevent airlines from building monopoly positions at airports. Not so in America: at 40 of its 100 biggest hubs, a single carrier now accounts for more than half of capacity. That pushes up prices. The merger of American and US Airways in 2013 increased American’s market share at Philadelphia’s airport to 77%. Fares rose from 4% below the national average in 2013 to 11% above after the merger.

            Third, Europe has also encouraged competition between different airports and their main operators. Breaking up the ownership of London’s biggest three airports has saved passengers £420m ($628m) in fares since 2009, according to ICF International, a consultancy. In contrast, most American cities have only one airport, many of them publicly owned.


            Meanwhile, Norwegian Air Shuttle is just about ready to start flying to T. F. Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island (PVD) — non-stop from BFS (seasonal), BGO (seasonal), ORK, DUB, EDI, SNN; and to Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Hartford County, Connecticut — non-stop from EDI.

            PVD had 3,548,000 passengers in 2016
            BDL had 6,060,943 passengers in 2016

            In contrast, Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) had 5,591,886 passengers in 2016. Thus, I’m quite certain that NAS has not been taking advice from you. 😉

            Here’s the real problem for US airlines: Norwegian is going to expand rapidly and in a way that eats at the foundation of the hub-based system that major US airlines depend on for survival.

            How? By offering direct flights to smaller cities in the US from underserved cities in Northern Europe.

            In practice, this means passengers in Hartford, Connecticut, or Providence, Rhode Island, no longer have to fly to Boston or New York for an international trip. Instead, for a far lower cost than a US carrier, they might fly NAI to Oslo, Norway; Stockholm; or Hamburg, Germany. Later this year, Norwegian is launching service to Paris from New York, Los Angeles, and Fort Lauderdale.

            This kind of setup not only undercuts US airlines’ international business; it could also threaten their domestic operation.


          • When did NAS order A380s ? But they fly a lot from Copenhagen to London too, because thats were the passengers want to go
            What doe European regulators have to do with flights in China or US or international flights to larger regional cities ?

            That Boeing marketing line about by passing hubs for point to point direct flights was last used by Douglas in the late 60s- when Boeing had the very large plane and the DC8 was the long thin airliner. We know how that turned out!

            As for Hartford Airport in Connecticut ( a state of 3.5 mill) to Edinburgh ( 3x a week over summer), sounds like a long range single aisle to me. But good on them for doing it. Their 787s go the usual places like London Gatwick to LAX- following the passengers!

          • @dukeofurl

            “When did NAS order A380s ? But they fly a lot from Copenhagen to London too, because thats were the passengers want to go.”

            NAS has already left the “comfort zone” for LCCs by going long-haul. They started with a 737-300 operating short-haul in Norway. Now, they’re flying all over the place. Thus, I wouldn’t rule out NAS ordering VLAs at some point in the future.

            “What doe European regulators have to do with flights in China or US or international flights to larger regional cities ?”


            Again, please do read the link. This is about how the US could learn something from others and not about American exceptionalism.

            America’s airlines really do compare badly with foreign ones. European carriers are the best point of reference.

            Air fares are higher per seat mile in America than in Europe. When costs fall, consumers in America fail to enjoy the benefits. The global price of jet fuel—one of the biggest costs for airlines—has fallen by half since 2014. That triggered a fare war between European carriers, but in America ticket prices have hardly budged. Airlines in North America posted a profit of $22.40 per passenger last year; in Europe the figure was $7.84.

            Some of Europe’s advantages are hard to replicate. Distances between big cities are shorter, making road and rail transport serious rivals. Yet that is all the more reason for America to promote competition in the sky. America’s regulators should loosen the cap on foreign ownership, take away slots from incumbents and promote the use of secondary airports to give new entrants a leg-up. If that doesn’t yield dividends, regulators should consider breaking up the big airlines. Allowing competition to wither was a huge mistake. It should be rectified.

            “That Boeing marketing line about by passing hubs for point to point direct flights was last used by Douglas in the late 60s- when Boeing had the very large plane and the DC8 was the long thin airliner. We know how that turned out!”

            It’s silly to compare the 707/DC-8 to the MAX and the neo. The former had 4 engines and more than twice the wing area.

            Now, when one compares the CASM of the A32X-neo and the 737MAX vs. the competition (i.e. A330neo, 787), there’s quite a bit of opportunity for an airframe half the size crossing the Atlantic. Since the EIS of the A320, frequency and fragmentation have been trumping widebodies intra-USA and intra-Europe. With the added range of single aisle aircraft such as the 737MAX-8 and the A321-neo (+ A322 etc.), TATL is now open for fragmentation as well. That doesn’t mean, however, that large widebodies won’t continue to dominate on heavily trafficked hub-to-hub TATL routes.

      • Try this thought experiment. Airline A and airline B both fly a daily 777 between the cities. Airline A decides to replace their daily flight by an A380 every other day, configured in a dense mostly economy configuration. It undercuts B on the price sensitive economy fares by 15% and hoovers up most of the economy passengers on that route. However thanks to economy of scale, A’s cost per seat is 20% lower (these are made up figures for illustration) so there is a bigger margin on more seats. A is now making most of its money from economy passengers and is able to discount its business class fares so sharply that a bunch of passengers move to A from B, even though it’s offering less frequency. This puts B out of business on that route.

        That’s why I call the A380 the disruptive product that hasn’t actually disrupted yet. Airlines are very conservative, so no-one breaks rank.

        • This is like the joke about retailers selling items below cost and making it up on volume.

          The A380 isn’t inherently more cost-efficient than a 777-300ER. Sure, you can get its cost per seat lower if you densify it enough, but you could do the same with the 777.

          In this hypothetical situation, airline B would match airline A’s prices to start and sell a certain number of tickets at the bargain entry fare level. All else equal, they would sell the same number of tickets while they were competing with matched fares. At a certain point, airline B would switch to the next higher fare bucket and would bring in extra revenue from people who prefer its schedule, service, etc. while airline A would still have a lot of seats to fill at bargain basement levels. Same process in business class.

          It’s virtually guaranteed that the airline with the smaller plane will end up with a yield advantage. IMO, flying a significantly larger plane only makes sense if 1) you have no choice because of airport constraints (e.g. BA, EK) 2) the larger plane has a big unit cost advantage.

  11. When a slew of new 777 orders announced in the next few weeks at the big show, i wouldn’t get too concerned about how dire the program is now..
    As for the a380, stick a fork in it..sorry john…your line about the best is yet to come is wearing a bit thin..

    • You do know that the 747-8 is down below 1 per month now ( 6 per year) and even some of those are being ‘sold’ to Boeing Capital corp for leasing out.
      And thats not counting the 5 white tails they have now
      They only did this product to spoil it for the A380 and now its now causing Boeing grief.
      The money wasted on the 787 ( say $15 bill) and the 747-8 say $6 bill, could have replaced the 767 and the 737.
      This is how IBM went down, they had replacements for their small mainframes that were the size of a microwave oven but the marketing people said no. The revenues wouldnt support the size of the sales and marketing teams, but others did it eventually for them.
      Boeing is too wound up with just spoiling what Airbus does with its clean sheet designs.

  12. ““We’ll be at rate 10 on the A350 we’re stabilizing at rate six on the A330 and we’re looking at the A380 and how to break even at about less than one airplane a month. That’s a unique situation, as you’ll see for a unique airplane.”

    Reporters jumped on the news.”

    If reporters indeed “jumped on the news”, what did Airbus say they were going to do in order to lower production costs? Was this news received with skepticism? If not, it should’ve been. Perhaps their suppliers will volunteer to cut their costs out of the goodness of their collective heart.

    • @Mike: No details provided at this time about steps to remain at break even. I don’t think they have this sorted out, and even if they did, I’m sure they wouldn’t divulge great detail (Boeing doesn’t).

  13. Newspaper here (SH:Z) today writes about a potential order : Emirates, 20 frames.

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