Dubai wants production guarantee before Emirates A380 order

Nov. 13, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The Dubai government wants Airbus to guarantee it will keep the A380 in production for 10 years before placing a new order, reports Reuters. Reuters also reported Emirates Airline could order up to 40 A380s plus options.

The 10-year guarantee report comes on the second day of the Dubai Air Show.

Airbus’ current production rate, which reduces to 10 next year from 12 and to eight the year after that, extends production through 2023, according to the Ascend data base.

Shrinking backlog, doubtful orders

There are 98 A380s in backlog. Forty-seven aircraft are deferred indefinitely, according to Ascend.

These orders are “doubtful,” according to LNC’s analysis.

The Emirates order would help extend the backlog well into the 2020 decade, when Airbus hopes its long-predicted demand for the A380 finally materializes. If the order was for 40 aircraft and tagged onto the end of the current backlog at the current production rate, this would fill the backlog through 2028—10 years.

But Airbus projects a loss at rate 8/yr, though it is working to at least break even.

That’s our story and we’re sticking to it

Airbus has been saying airport congestion will reach a point where the A380 is required to fulfill demand. But this has been the premise since the program was launched.

Despite passenger growth doubling every 15 years, airlines continue to prefer smaller aircraft. They’ve abandoned the Boeing 747-8; Boeing now doesn’t see a future for this iconic airplane, except as a freighter.

Development of the Boeing 777-9, at nominally 425 passengers, replaces the 747-8 (albeit, being somewhat smaller). The long-range and ultra-long-range twin-aisle twin-jets allow direct flights to many destinations that previously went through hubs like New York, London, Paris and Tokyo.

Emirates is currently the only significant customer for the A380.


254 Comments on “Dubai wants production guarantee before Emirates A380 order

  1. At present Airbus are making a loss, a loss that is peanuts in the wider context of their business but still a loss. Emirates are looking to eke out another 40 frames at low low prices. At the same time and for very different reasons neither want to have this facility closing down on them.

    The irony is that any passenger will tell you that the A380 experience is a class away from other aircraft. To compete with an A380 you need an A380.

    • Unfortunately for Airbus, passengers don’t buy aircraft, airlines do, and they’re going with twins.

      • @Rick Shaw

        “Unfortunately for Airbus, passengers don’t buy aircraft, airlines do, and they’re going with twins.”

        EK is an airline whose brand success has been built around the A380 with passengers love and want more.

        • Boeing had said a few years after it launched both 757 and 767 that it was a mistake ‘doing both’ and the airliner prediction business models werent good enough. We can presume it was the 757 that was the mistake and here we are 35 years later Boeing is still thinking about the gap created by the former 757 in their production line up and whether they can sell 1000 over 25 years ?

          • The MAX 10 is popular for a reason, it pretty much handles the 757 vacuum.

          • Here we go again guys! There’s still a need for a modern “757x”, a single aisle, GEnx-derivative engined, 787 based cockpit and “electrics”, carbon-fibered wing, and Al-Li fuselaged bird that’ll due 4,500 nm. And make an “overpowered” version, that’ll get out of DEN in August with a full load of fuel and pax! Accept no substitute, looking at you A321 and 737-10. I’m still impressed—five years later—having gone out of JAC in August on a UA 57 going back to ORD. I nicknamed it “the Rocket” after that JAC takeoff! Can see why airline pilots love it.

          • dukeofurl: I think that is out of context. Both at the same time was a business stretch.

            Both though have sold in very good numbers. 1000 some odd for the 757 and the 767 is still going strong (albeit as an F and a T)

            1500 for the 767 before they are done.

            Considering the 747 sold what 1600 in all those years with no competition I think that’s quite good.

            And from what I am reading, you can opt up for a 787 type cockpit on the 767 now (the KC46 has it as standard build) and I assume that’s true of the 2C if it ever is build for anyone else.

        • EK also flies a huge number of 777 (mostly 300ER) also at 10 abreast for what it worth. They go both ways.

    • “The irony is that any passenger will tell you that the A380 experience is a class away from other aircraft” – But it turns out they are not willing to pay a premium to enjoy it.

    • @sowerbob:
      “The irony is that any passenger will tell you that the A380 experience is a class away from other aircraft. To compete with an A380 you need an A380.”
      Just for fun in contrast to the “irony”, I present a well known simile:
      About 50yrs ago, all U.S. network carriers(about 10) subscribed to the theory of ‘to compete with a 747, you need a 747’ regardless of their individual unique network characteristics. All took deliveries in the early 70s and back then, “any passenger will(would) tell you that the” 747 “experience is(was) a class away from other aircraft”.

      By the time U.S. airline dereg up-ended industry competition around 1978, all 10 carriers still survived but only about half of them(e.g. NW, PA, TW, UA, Braniff) were still operating 747. By 1990 just 20yrs after 1st 747 delivery and long after intercon mkt liberalization for U.S. carriers, only UA and NW(the only U.S. carriers permitted to serve Trans-Pcf mkts back then…effectively a semi-duopoly) still had outstanding orders for any 747 pax to replace their 1st gen 747s. All these despite the U.S. traffic level has been growing all along and UA+NW were NOT the most profitable among U.S. peers.

      Increasing competition among U.S. carriers killed 747(or similar sized birds) mkt prospects in the U.S. above all other reasons.

      Just turned the clock forward by about 30yrs after 747 debut, I’ve been observing a similar mkt dynamics for the 380 since its program launch in 2000…..only this time it’s happening not in the U.S. mkt but in the global mkt.

    • @Parsons I laughed right out loud at this one. I’ve generally been accused of being anti-Boeing and pro-Airbus. I guess this means I’m right down the middle!

        • I concur, this is ridiculous. This page has demonstrated professionalism and ethics over the years, maintaining it’s independance.

      • Airbus have publically ststed that they think the A380 will be in production for 10 years and more. An order for 40 does cover the 10 years, albeit at 8/year.

        What are we being told, Airbus are not telling the truth, meaning they are secretly making plans to terminate A380 production.

        What are we being told? Airbus are not telling the truth, meaning they are secretly making plans to terminate A380?

        • scratching my head at that one as well, also read 15 years so we need some details.

          • EK have said in the past that they want the full -900 version and modern engines. Maybe pressure is being bought to bear here? No more than a guess, also trying to figure this out.

        • It can be different A380 versions instead hence the present one is planned to be out of production,
          EK want their basic version to be in production and they need to replace the old A380’s with new ones and maybe don’t want a mixed fleet. Airbus don’t want to produce “their 747-100” for ever and might want to move on making it better, cheaper and faster and to implement the A350 dicipline in interior options not having ready built empty aircraft sitting in HAM for 6 months to have the last Customer Furnished Equipment installed.

        • @philip:
          “Airbus have publically ststed that they think the A380 will be in production for 10 years and more.”
          If “think” = “guarantee” on a customer contract, then Al Maktoum should hv been satisfied and we should be hearing about EK firming order for additional 380s yesterday….

          “An order for 40 does cover the 10 years, albeit at 8/year….What are we being told, Airbus are not telling the truth, meaning they are secretly making plans to terminate A380 production.”
          I think what’s really going on is that Airbus is still working on converting “think” into “guarantee” re 380 production for 10yrs. That’s likely because @ this stage, some uncertainties still exist in supply chain plans/roadmap to ensure Airbus will breakeven @ 8/yr rate.

      • @Scott Hamilton:
        “I guess this means I’m right down the middle!”
        Yes, I still vividly recall how U blasted Boeing and explored why Airbus probably did the right thing in the CSeries tariff dispute not that long ago.

        I’m guessing whenever your articles describe something negative about Airbus or positive about Boeing, the Airbus camp here would always label U as anti-Airbus by default……for these folks, Airbus is sacred and nothing negative can possibly happen/be related to that company: and that’s also same today

    • @Parsons
      I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Scott pro-Boeing?

      But as Scott himself said: I’ve generally been accused of being anti-Boeing and pro-Airbus. I guess this means I’m right down the middle!
      Sounds about right to me.
      The one confusing thing recently was Scott’s posting Bernstein’s take on the CSeries deal. Bernstein’s analysis was ridiculously anti-Airbus, but that wasn’t Scott’s own piece.

      His own analysis of the current A380 backlog appears to be right, in the meantime. That said, I’m curious whatever happens to the first replacement cycle, and whatever happened to IAG liking the plane a lot but not wanting to pay new-built prices… in other words, what prospects are there besides EK.

        • I take that back, the Chineese market is good for 100?

          Airbus said that. Must be true.

          I have to reconsider that they can commit to 10 years production . No problem – it its not just spin of course!~

          • @TransWorld:
            “the Chineese market is good for 100?”
            Or use the CSeries program ownership restructuring as the template but do a reverse: Ask Comac to buy 50.01% share in the 380 program and relocate its FAL (impossible to add a FAL) to Airbus Tianjin.

            All parties involve will win because:
            Production guaranteed for 10yrs and even beyond.
            With enormous cost shared by the Chinese whom are probably the only ones on earth that can afford it, they can continue to hold on to their product icon for Brand PR/Mkting value even if for nothing else. 380 supply chain will be happy is an added bonus.
            Instant+immediate access to learn how to design, develop, refine, assemble and manage supply chain for a widebody allowing them to skip many expensive+time consuming trial & error along the way for their own CR929 program…..serious leap-frogging in their civil aerospace industry development.

            “Airbus said that. Must be true.”
            And said the same for 17yrs since 380 program launch. Meanwhile, 380 fleet size remain stuck @ 5 in China and CZ still having difficulties finding the most optimal routes to deploy all of them.

      • It’s probably the ‘87 again—on a much smaller scale. The first 8 to 10 frames built most likely have “issues”. Prbaably the highest and best use is to bust them up for parts, unless some African potentate/ruler’s looking for a sweet government ride.

    • Well Dr Kenneth Parsons,
      You are right to a degree,Leeham News and most of its subscribers,hate anything non American and will do anything to down cry and smear it. Nearer to the truth I feel is what Clark & Boeing have been been up to. Ever since he cancelled all those A350,s I have smelled a rat. Clark wanted an A380 with impossible performance and carrying capacity but wanted it yesterday. What did Boeing promise him to cancel all those A350’s? Then 3 years later he announces he’s going to buy 787-10’s! Yeah right! Whats next, well I think he will order the 777x and then say to Airbus,I’m going to cancel all remaining A380’s on order! Knife in and twisted.Think not? Watch out in the future. If Airbus have any sense, they will see the comparison and halt all production of the A380. Boeing, has for a very long time been mired in messy deals,ie GM engines instead of RR-Japan forced to buy Boeing via the American Govt. and of course the latest is the C series! To much to be a straight deal!

  2. EK have indicated they could put 200 VLA @ DWC. I guess they must be using the Airbus market definition of VLA, that includes A330/787/777.

    • Its generally seen as 400 seats plus, at a ‘standardised seating’ model. Its Boeing who puts its 400+ seaters in with the mid sized widebodys

      • Airbus had re-defined it as anything you can pack 400 people into.

        CEBU A330-300 dense packed based or some such.

        Of course that is late to the game and I wonder how that jibes with the secret agreement on A380 production and sales speculation we can’t be allowed to see?

          • I can’t keep up with Air Asia and what they have canceled let alone what they actually bought!

          • @MartinA:
            “AirAsiaX as well”
            Nope. Their config only managed 377….right under the 400seats threshold. To be fair, AirAsiaX config is 2-class including ski slope/incline lie-flat seat in J.

            “… how many of those are there?”
            About 30 across all 3 brands.

      • @OV-099:
        “EK could in theory operate more than 500 A388-sized aircraft.”
        Outrageous for a fleet based in a single airport. The entire European airline industry probably operate less than 500 widebodies across all sizes today…..

  3. Let’s look at it another way – a 40-frame top-up would guarantee production for the next 10 years. At a small loss (at current production rates), but it’s basically a lifeline for the programme until demand picks up (if Airbus’ predictions come true) and Airbus can do a NEO.
    So to be honest I’m not sure I see much of a problem here?

    • I concurr. Keeping the line alive until there is an ‘ultra’ type replacement engine should be the goal, and Emirates seem to be giving AB that lifeline.

      Buy-backs of older frames may be the sticking point though… As opposed to a 10yr commitment… Who knows the backroom micro-points and contract language requirement that satisfies both parties.

      Shame about the 787 win over the a350 though… Guess squashed seating in economy is no longer a issue for Emirates.

      • With Emirates’ 777s long ago having the teeny-tiny pre-K sized “squished seats” in the repugnant ten abreast 3-4-3 configuration for nonstop flights lasting up to 16 or so hours, it certainly does not surprise that it chose the equally awful “squished seats” seen on most 787s in that aircraft’s similarly repugnant nine abreast, 3-3-3 coach/economy configurations for flights lasting much longer than the 10hrs missions these future beasts will be featured on!

        Let’s hope these “flying abominations” (for most adult coach/economy passengers, that is) of 777s (classics and “X” models -8/-9) and 787s in Emirates’ future fleet will at least retain the 32” row pitch Emirates 777s now have instead of the truly despicable 30”-31” increasingly common on inferior airlines who typically prefer to whine about the otherwise markedly better, passenger preferred products offered by Emirates (and the other two middle east hub multi award winning airlines that consistently are found at the top of most “best of” lists be it from the general public or within the trade) in their relentless quest to see who can race even further towards the bottom than they already have and get away with it.

        Sometimes it’s best to be thankful for small miracles, I guess…

        …but for sure, coach/economy passengers on every airline except perhaps Japan Air Lines (or Delta for its 777s which will retain its 18.5” wide nine abreast 3-3-3 comfiguration) lose every time an airline picks a 777 or 787 over an A330, A350, or even an A380…there’s no denying that.

        • The 787 fuselage is wider than the A330. The 777 fuselage is wider than the A350. Airlines choose how to configure their cabins. Boeing gives them more choices…there’s no denying that.

          • Boeing gives airlines no choice but to use these inhumanly narrow seating arrangements to get the economics work against their Airbus counterparts.

          • Yeah, my “bone to pick” with Boeing is perfectly summed up by @Strato whose comment is spot on!

            In fact, I have, and will continue, to go out of my way to avoid Boeing any “densified” 777s or 787s whenever possible, and will continue to steer all of my, or family and close friends who seek my input, bookings towards Airbus’s wide-body aircraft for any non-premium cabin travel.

            Period. No exceptions.

            I am considering plans early next year where, for other reasons, two of the four long haul flights might require being stuck aboard one of Boeing’s horrible “flying abominations” because its the only aircraft that airline uses to/from one of the destinations.

            But for the other two long haul flights, where this airline flies both the despicable nine abreast 787s or Airbus’s eight abreast wide-bodies, the 787 is out.

            I have flown the 787, and it is an amazing plane. But it was in business class for that flight, so of course, it was a great way to sample a ride aboard this (other than its abysmal coach cabin) great airplane.

            The problem is, when originally marketed, Boeing promised a “game-changing” airplane that would IMPROVE flyers’ experiences with its lower pressurization level, increased humidity, and a smoother, more comfortable ride.

            If one is in a premium cabin as I was, that and more is true.

            But for the vast majority of flyers stuck in teeny-tiny pre-K sized seats, that are crammed into ever narrower, 30-31” pitched rows, the 787 and “densified” 777s are hardly “game-changing” for the better (as one would like to think is the point of innovating and inventing – to make things BETTER than they were before)…

            …for sure the 787 and densified 777s are “game changing”…problem is, for coach/economy passengers, the 85% or so of fare paying passengers at that, the changed “game” is for the worse…

            …and when being done willfully, that’s really nothing to crow about…

          • The 350 is 5″ wider inside than the 87; that’s 0.55 inch per seat if the aisles are the same. Every bit counts but seat pitch is more important and 100% up to the airline.

          • Strato:

            The customers don’t have to buy a 787 do they?

            I think that is a choice.

          • @Geo, “a Lost order” I though 70+ 787-10s was suppose to be a done deal. Could be that AB have managed to get EK to split with the A350??

        • “Let’s hope these “flying abominations” (for most adult coach/economy passengers, that is) ”
          This is true for a typical western caucasian or black person. But Emirates and it’s sisters are carrying many people who have Asian origins and they tend to be shorter and thiner. For them the seat pitch is just fine. Any extra inch might be a waste from the airline point of view.

          • Its definitely not only the ME, most “Western” airlines are densifying their 777W’s.

            Go and have a look at UA’s premium economy on their 787-8’s and tell me if that is premium?

          • Lots of EK pax are labourers with no choice. EK seem to prefer A380s to any destination where there is money, and refuse to add extra middle seats.

  4. I read nothing about 380 engine mods required to meet ICAO’s 2023 CO2 standards, except that the standards exist. This must be a relatively minor issue that RR will address in a PIP.

    • That CO2 standards thingy is quite insidiuous.

      It requires improvements over existing fleet carbon footprint of a size slot. A380 is all new and still of excellent efficiency. But: No old geezers to soften that carbon carpet. 🙂
      A380 must make a longer tech step than forex the 787 ( all those old 767 around )

      • So what about brand new old tech 767s? Plenty of airlines use the greenwash argument that they only have new and efficient airliners, although this spin has gone a bit quiet in recent years.

  5. Here’s your chance to back up your claims about the a380 being around 10 yts from now.
    Don’t balk on this one ab..

  6. I guess every A380 sale is a sale and a bit less for the 777-9, maybe AB is prepared to take a hit at the chin to do that.

    You can’t easily quantify the cost value to be in production 10 years from now when demand for VLA’s could be on the rise.

    Boeing could do the 777-X and that’s about it.

  7. Airports could get so congested that flying the 380 the 1800Km between Beijing and Shanghai could become plausible?

    • Well they are flying between Beijing and Guangzhou, and have been known to do Singapore Jakarta. Right now there are 7 flying routes with just under 7 hours flight time, after all its not the distance its the capacity. Most European cities to Dubai/Abu Dhabi are around 7 hrs Even the North Atlantic , Paris to JFK.
      That highlights an issue with increasing ULR capability ( 16 hrs plus), thats not really going to improve DOC for flights less than 7 hrs

    • I’d rather take the high speed train between those two cities.

      I did that a few years ago. Top speed at the time was 305 km / hour. They have a new train that does 350 km / hour.

      • Now you are getting to practical. Think of all the fun getting to and from the airports, checking in, stand in a boarding queues that looks if it has no end.

        Although I love flying and the smell of paraffin I find myself making more and more use of trains between London/Paris/Brussels/Amsterdam and “inter-Germany”.

        • Few trains in US and none hi speed.

          Of course its all freight where I live.

          Very density area where I live, sigh.

          High speed train to Seattle would be a treat.

      • Thats 8-10 hrs in HST between Beijing and Guangzhou, I would think very few of the passengers are doing the full distance as they stop at over 30 stations

  8. Lets do the math.

    That’s 80 A380 they have committed to.

    And where does that leave AB if its still the same 10 years away form being a hit?

    I guess we see how badly Emirates wants A380s.

    Maybe they can pick up MA as they run in and out on their Haj runs.

    • I have re-calculated the above, still scratching my head.

      Maybe just doesn’t’ give Emirates an out if they want to defer.

      And no one else in line.

  9. IMJ, the curent A380-800 will be superceded by a much improved A370X/A380X/A390X family that would enter into service shortly after 2025. So, Airbus will very likely refuse to give EK such a 10 year guarantee and sign a contract where the terms of the contract is too favourable to Emirates.

    Removing the A380s that will likely never be delivered from the backlog, means that there are 52 A380-800s yet to be delivered: 42 for Emirates, 2 for Qatar, 5 for Singapore Airlines and 3 for ANA.

    Now, Tim Clark is on record saying that 115 Airbus A380s is the “absolute maximum” aircraft its Dubai International Airport hub will be able to handle.

    The remaining 27 orders of the backlog would presumably be replacements. The 27th Emirates A380 was delivered in November 2012. Assuming the airline plans to retire their A380s after 12 years of service, the 142th and last EK A380-800 would be delivered in late 2024. The currently talked about orders would be for replacements post 2024.

    This would be the delivery stream for the remaining EK A380s:

    2018: 7 A388s
    2019: 8 A388s
    2020: 4 A388s
    2021: 3 A388s
    2022: 8 A388s
    2023: 5 A388s
    2024: 7 A388s

    So, A388 production would essentially end in 2023, while 2024 would be a gap year in the transition to the production of A370X/A380X/A390X.

    Finally, Emirates might think through fully the consequenses of a cancellation of any of the remaining 42 airframes on order, as the EU could start to take a closer look on the traffic rights between the EU and the UAE.

    • Agree with the orders being replacements.

      Just wondered about the A360, superstition?

      • A360X: single deck, 10 abreast wide-body sharing the same 747-sized wing as the A370X. The lower fuselage (below the main deck floor) would have the same diameter as the lower fuselage on the A380 in order to facilitate a common wing and main landing gear. MTOW: 350 – 370 metric tonnes.

        A370X: Intermediate range (A333-300, 787-10), A380 sized aircraft designed to use ICAO Aerodrome Reference Code E gates (just like the MD-12 concept) — 65m wing span when parked; 75m wingspan in-flight (same as for the A360X). MTOW: 350 – 370 metric tonnes.

        A380X: A380-900 and A380-1000 using a composite, higher aspect ratio wing — derived from the current wing — 85m wing span when parked; 95m wing span in-flight (wing area: 890 m2). MTOW: 550 – 590 metric tonnes.

        A390X: A long range twin engine A388-sized aircraft using a modified A380X wing. 2.5 m of the wing would be “removed” at the root of each composite wing — 80m wing span when parked; 90m wing span in-flight. Except for the elimination of the outer engine mounts, the wing would be identical in shape — outboard of the (inner) engines — to that of the A380X wing. MTOW: 450 metric tonnes. Engine thrust requirement at take-off: 130,000 lbs of thrust.

          • With a CASM reduction of 30-plus percent over that of the A388, they would make tonnes of money in an ever growing market — doubling by 100 percent every 15 years, or so.

          • I wonder if Scott would be willing to hold the money on a bet?

        • the A380 is already CASM competitive with the very best of the twins and they can’t sell them because they are just too damn big.

          so your answer is build 4 (count them 4!) derivatives that are almost as big or bigger (the smallest being 747-8 size), 4 different wings, 3 different (and new) engine programs… for a market of ~300 aircraft over 20 years.

          I would like to know what mind altering substances lead you to believe this is a good idea…..

          • Being CASM competitive with the very best of twins is not good enough. Unless the CASM is significantly lower for the VLA (15-plus percent), airlines will choose the smaller aircraft.

            Today, Boeing and Airbus is manufacturing 767s, 777s, 787, A330s and A350s — all together a double digit number of single deck wide-bodies. Going forward, I can’t see why multiple models of CASM-superior VLAs would be viable in a world where air travel doubles every 15 years. The “market” is seemingly only around 300 due to the relative poor CASM of the A380. A CASM reduction of 30-plus percent would dramatically increase the demand for VLAs. Such a reduction in CASM is only possible for a full double decker fuselage that have a dramatically lower wetted area per seat.

            As for your second question; the first model (777X-eliminator) would be all new — and it would be the most expensive aircraft to develop. The three other, but larger VLA models would take advantage both of the already substantial investment undertaken in the A380 and in the the investments that would be undertaken in a 777X-eliminator programme.

            Again, three wings would be required. On all new that would be shared betwen the A360X and A370X and two very similar wings that would be derived from the A380 wing.

            As for engines; you’d have one all new unique 130,000 lbs class engine for the A390X, but the two other all new engines would also be viable for re-engined versions of the A350-900 (80,000 lbs class engine) and A350-1000 (100,000 lbs class engine).

          • so if you are reusing engines from existing aircraft, where exactly is your 30% CASM reduction coming from? a 20% reduction in wetted area per seat does not equal 30% CASM reduction, (A380 vs A350 wetted area per seat) as friction drag is only ~55% of total drag at cruise. that means (at best) an 11% aerodynamic drag advantage (and probably not that good due to relatively higher induced drag due to 80M box restricted aspect ratio)
            now add in the structural weight penalties of an oval fuselage and 4 engines and you are down to 5% with same generation engines.

            you will never close the cost equation.

          • Again, I’m not re-using engines from existing programmes — and I’ve been talking about two twin engine A380-derived versions (A370X family and A390X family) in addition to a new generation A380-900X and A380-1000X — i.e. not just quad powered VLAs.

            The engines would be all new Rolls Royce state-of-the-art UltraFan-type engines. The two smaller versions would also work exceedingly well on an A359neo and an A35Kneo

            Wing aspect ratio would go from 7.5 on the A388 to more than 10.0 on the A370X ((75m)squared/550m2), A380X ((95m)squared/890m2) and A390X (90m)squared/800m2); leading to a reduction in induced drag by about 35 percent and a fuel burn consumption of more than 10 percent (A380X).

            For example, the A380 wing has a weight of around 100 tonnes. The all composite wing of the A380X would reduce that number by more than 20 tonnes. Options also include a further carbonisation of the fuselage. In fact, the metal nose Section 11 of the A350 is patterned after Section 11 on the A380. Now, a carbonised A380-derived fuselage would use an unmodified A380’s Section 11, coupled together with a carbonised Section 12 (i.e., Section 12 on the A350 was also patterned after Section 12 on the A380). In short, the A350 fuselage is essentially a carbonised single deck version of the double deck metal A380 fuselage. In fact, there are is a huge amount of design similarities between the A350 and A380.

            Outfitted with UltraFan-type engines having a TSFC some 20 percent less than the TSFC of the current A388 engines — in addition to all of the other modifications that I’ve mentioned — it’s not surprising that you’d see a dramatic reduction in fuel consumption per seat.

            Finally, when comparing a single deck layout with that of the A380, one should use the much more efficient “packaging” of the A380plus in order to get an idea of how many passengers next generation A380-derived versions can comfortably carry. If you do that and add in the above mentioned enhancements, you’d be looking at a CASM reduction in the neighbourhood of 30 percent for the largest VLA versions.

          • again, 3 all new engine programs for a 300 aircraft market, up to 50% more powerful than the largest current turbine – no sale
            20% TSFC improvement over current gen A380 engines. at typical 0.5% TSFC improvement per year (see historical trends over last 10 years) your engines should be ready 30 years from now.

            your 85M ground wingspan is a non-starter, ICAO code F standard is an 80M box and that greatly restricts your choice of airports over even code E (which boeing went to great lengths for the 777x to be on the ground).

            Assuming Airbus downward folding wingtips, you are looking at a 90M max in air wingspan, not 95.

            there is definitely some weight to be saved with a modern carbon wing and carbon panels replacing the glare, but we are talking single digit percentages, not 20% as you posit.

            at the end of the day, all these technologies you base your model on are available to structurally more efficient circular fuselage medium large twin aisles of the A350/777 size which are always going to be less risky and worst case will be within a few percentage points on fuel burn, carry more cargo to further mitigate pax load risks, and net out as equally profitable and less risky.

            just because an idea is cool, doesn’t mean it is good business.

          • @bilbo

            1) Three all new engines for a 3000 aircraft market (2025 – 2045) — and where two of the all new engines also would be used on re-engined versions of current wide body platforms, in a 6000-plus aircraft market.

            2) Rolls Royce is projecting that the UltraFan engine (EIS 2025) will have a thrust specific fuel consumption some 25 percent lower than the Trent-700 that entered into service 30 years earlier on the A330-300.

            3) DWCs 200 category F stands, for example, will have box dimensions increased to 85m x 85m. In short, box dimensions will grow in the future. 80m x 80m is not going to be the perpetual maximum standard for aircraft stands.

            4) The A380 derived A370X would fit into current Category E stands (65m x 80m).

            5) The A380-derived A390X would fit into current category F stands (80m x 80m).

            6) The 20 percent weight saving is for the re-engineered A380X wing.

            7) The 550 m2 wing of the A380-derived A360X would weigh about half that of the current 845 m2 A388 wing (40 – 45 tonnes)

            8) A same sized circular VLA fuselage would be less efficient than the A380 fuselage. In fact, the heavy part of the A380 is not really the fuselage — it’s the wing.

          • Correction:

            7) The 550 m2 wing of the twin engine, A380-derived A370X would weigh about half that of the current 845 m2 A388 wing (40 – 45 tonnes)

          • 1. so you see 3000 aircraft over 20 years in the same market that Airbus has been forecasting 1700 over 20 years in for the last 20 years and sold less than 300 in that time.

            2. 25% TSFC improvement over a 20 year old engine is not 25% over todays engines (much less the 30% you stated up thread), and again that engine technology will be available to competing medium large twin aisles.

            3. increasing ground wingspan beyond 80M is dramatically difficult for many airports due to taxiway/runway separation distances, even 80M eliminates a large percentage of international airports from consideration without $100s of millions of infrastructure work per airport. that isn’t going to happen for 300 aircraft.

            4&5, never going to happen so I will ignore these

            6. the great majority of that weight savings would be available to a “right sized” aluminum wing and wing box. the A380’s wing and wingbox is sized for the never gonna happen -900 and never did happen freighter. carbon is not a miracle drug. good engineering is.

            7. imagination is a wonderful thing

            8. so here’s a round fuselage VLA concept for you: 14 wide 3 aisle main deck as low in the tube as you can go and still use LD3s (or even LD3-45s), “sky view suites” business class upper deck wide enough for 8 or 9 across economy+ with skylights instead of side windows and nice big LCD panels on the sidewalls that the passenger can display whatever they want on (exterior cameras, moonscapes, etc). Structurally dramatically simpler, lighter and stronger than an egg shaped A380 style fuselage. and it will _never_ happen (at least not in the next 30 years) because the lesson of the A380 is there is not enough market to make the product profitable for the manufacturer.

          • Isn’t this just helping the Middle East carriers. The Middle East carrier want passengers to travel through the Middle East. At the moment this is happening. The US legacy carriers have been hit very hard.

            How do you address the Middle East carriers? Go around the Middle East. That means point to point with some very long routes, ~17/18+ hours. But it also means smaller twins.

            The US carriers will be able to do this with the A350.

            I do think the A380 will continue and be subject to a NEO; probably a copy of the NEO for the 787, although the A380 may come first. But the market will be a niche high volume market of no more than 30/year, remembering they are going down to 8/year expecting the market to turn up.

          • @bilbo

            1A) The 1700 forecast number included some 300 VLA freighters. Is it so hard to try to get your facts straight? Also, the 1400 number for passenger VLAs included all widebodies outfitted in configurations exceeding 400 seats,

            1B) Again, 3000 airframes in a market projected to treble by the late 2040s. Again, the demand for double deck VLAs trouncing single deck widebodies on CASM would totally change the picture on intermediate and long haul routes. Competing on frequency with smaller twins on heavily travelled routes would not be viable if the competition is a VLA having 30 percent lower CASM.

            2A) Could you please show where I said that the UltraFan engine would have a 30 percent lower TSFC than today’s engines. Obviously you seem to be confused with respect to as to what constitutes total fuel burn reduction and TSFC.

            2B) Again, RR is talking about a 25 percent TSFC reduction over that of the Trent-700 at EIS. For sure, the current T700 has been PIPed on average by about 0.1 percent per year since EIS. Now, the 1 percent trendline in TSFC improvement over the last half century is for all new engines, not for engines that have undergone PIPs. Also, keep in mind that the “1 percent improvement per year” figure is actually a geometric sequence. Hence, over ten years, you’ve got: (1-0.99exp10)/(1-0.99) = 9.56 percent lower TSFC (i.e. over 10 years). In a Leeham news analysis* from a few years back, Bjorn Fehrm had the current T700 at a 3.6 percent higher TSFC in cruise than the T900/GP7270. The RB3039 (Advance engine) was projected by Bjorn to have 12 percent lower TSFC than the T900/GP7270. Hence, the UltraFan should be able to achieve a TSFC reduction over the current crop of A380 engines by at least 15 percent — a very conservative estimate.


            3A) Airports are continually being upgraded around the world. Of course, that holds less true for Americas “third world” airports with their deteriorating infrastructure. We’re not talking millions, but billions of dollars of investments in ongoing airport infrastructure projects atound the world. BTW, that you’re referring to “milions of infrastructure work per airport” would seem to reveal that your point of reference is only what’s ongoing with respect to airport upgrades in the US. Now, the Terminal 5 project and new air cargo facilities at Singapore’s Changi Airport’s, for example, are expected to cost tens of billions of US dollars. Believing, therefore, that the world’s major airports (those of the US excluded) won’t be upgraded in order to handle the requirements for an increase in VLA aircraft box dimensions to 85m x 85m (from 80m x 80m), and that a 10 – 15 metre increase in runway/taxiway separation and implemented during major refurbishment/construction periods, is not something major airports around the world would want to undertake, is IMO nothing but ludicrous.

            3B) The A380 is already compatible with over 140 small and large airports for regular service worldwide, and up to 400 airports when adding diversion airports.

            4) The A360X intermediate range, twin engine VLA would take the massive double deck CASM advantage to Category E gates — not a good prospect for smaller twins.

            5) The A390X long range, twin engine VLA would use the existing 80m x 80m box that’s available at 140 small and large airports around the world.

            6A) CFRP is superior for higher aspect ratio wings. A “right sized” aluminum wing and wing box for a widebody is yesterday’s technology.

            6B) The problem with the current A380 wing is its low aspect ratio. It’s a myth that the A380’s wing is so big since it’s sized for the A380-900. In fact the wing loading (at MTOW) for the A388 is higher than the wing loading for the A359: (28000kg/443m2) = 632 kg/m2 for the 280 metric tonne A350-900; and(576000kg/845m2) = 682 kg/m2 for the A388. Lower wing loading and higher aspect ratio is the name of the game in modern LCA design.

            7) For sure, imagination beats Malthusian thinking.

            8) That design seems to significantly increase wetted area per seat. You seem to be ignoring tha fact that drag is a pretty important factor in the Breguet range equation. It’s not all about structural weight.

            BTW, Boeing has a patent for a partial double deck design within a cylindrical fuselage:


          • 1A. so you’re buying Airbus’s retcon on their basis of estimate when prior to last year they had never, ever, ever mentioned any aircraft other than A380 and 747 as VLAs…

            1B. 3000 is a number you’ve pulled out of your wazoo. a tripling of the market by the late 2040s = ~900 aircraft, not 3k. that is also 15 years after your 2025 EIS bogey.

            2A: the great majority of improvement in total fuel consumption is directly attributable to improvements in TSFC. at best you are going to get 5% overall fuel efficiency improvement from rightsizing the wing on the A380 (mostly due to weight reduction and improved aspect ratio.

            2B. your competition is not 20 year old T-700s it is the GE9x/T-XWB, and re-engined 787s with RRs UltraFan (787 will be nearing NEO eligibility ~2027) being 12% better than the T900 means you are about 7% better than a T1000-TEN and 5% better than an XWB and 3% better than a GE9X
            5% drag reduction + 3% TSFC improvement + baseline 5% better drag/seat = ~13% better CASM than today’s best large twin (yes, I know it isn’t quite that simple, I’ve taken calculus, but for this discussion the results are close enough). where you are pulling 40% from is mystifying.
            3A&B: so you can fly the A380 to 140 airports in the world and at a further 260 you can shut the airport down by flying there and not being able to leave the runway. whereas a category E aircraft can fly to pretty much any commercial airport in the world.
            4: the double deck CASM advantage is not as massive as you suppose, in the end the structural weight penalties bring it into the low single digits net.
            5: 140 airports what that means in practice is 6 total in south America, 5 total west of the Mississippi (only 4 of which are in the US)….
            6: not disputing that carbon is _better_ just that it is not miraculous and a right sized aluminum wing would get you half way there at 1/4 the cost.
            7. not sure that means what you think it means.
            8. yup, it trades wetted area (really cross-section is a more direct measure of parasitic drag) for structural efficiency. less weight => lighter landing gear => less wing => smaller engines =>lower fuel consumption.

          • 1A) Both OEMs have always defined market segments with respect to seats and they both produce market forecasts that are biased with respect to their own product portfolios. Market forecasts are funny things. The Teal Group, for example, just raised their CSeries forecast by 50 percent.


            1B) Both Airbus and Boeing are forecasting a market of more than 9000 widebodies from 2016-2035. I’d expect that from 2025 to 2044, the market for widebodies would exceed 15000 units. A demand for 3000 VLAs is, in fact, quite conservative. You’d not only have a situation quite different to the one today, — where twin engine VLAs with a significant CASM advantage over that of smaller twins would be available in the market — but also where airlines would be flying in and out of an increasing number of heavily slot restricted airports.

            2A) Seriously? You’ll get a 4 percent reduction in fuel consumption just by going with the A380plus. A “right sized” high aspect ratio wing (>10) would reduce the induced drag component by more than 30 percent, thereby reducing trip fuel consumption by more than 10 percent. Add a 15 percent-plus reduction in TSFC and significant weight savings, and you’d be looking at a trip fuel burn reduction of more than 30 percent. Finally, by stretching the aircraft to 85m (A380-1000NG) — the fuel consumption per seat would be reduced by around 40 percent per seat over that of the A388.

            2B) The datum is the A388.

            3) Nonsense.

            4) The double deck CASM advantage would indeed be massive. For example, the intermediate range A370X (5000nm) would have a lower trip fuel burn than the 777-9, while carrying 3o percent more passengers.

            5) Nonsense.

            6) Yes, right sized wing means right sized wing. An intermediate range, 70m long VLA shouldn’t have the same wing as a very long range, 85m long VLA.

            7) Yes, I do.

            8) Neither the 787 and A350 have circular fuselages — they are double bubbles. The A380 fuselage is essentially a triple bubble fuselage. It uses both floors as cross beams – one floor exactly at each junction between the three bubbles. Neither double bubble nor triple bubble designs require extra strength, except that the floors must be designed to take the tension at the bubble junctions. In a circular cross section the floor structure is practically unloaded. Now, it’s true, of course, that double bubble and a triple bubble fuselage will be heavier than a circular fuselage having the same internal volume.When designing LCAs, engineers are comparing a larger circular cross section versus a smaller double bubble or triple bubble cross section — for the same useful volume. When the OEMs finalize the cross section design for an all new LCA, they’ll be looking at drag s weight in a manufacturing cost analysis.

          • source for 3&5 is Airbus’s very own airport compatibility page for the A380, so, not nonsense.

            you clearly have drunk your own kool-aid, so I’m gonna let you go live in your own dream world now.

          • @bilbo

            source for 3&5 is Airbus’s very own airport compatibility page for the A380, so, not nonsense.

            Your responses in 3 & 5 resembled more that of the ramblings of a confused individual.

            As for your confusion and misunderstanding with respect to fuselage design, you might want to read Bjorn Fehrm’s latest blog entry:


        • These will never happen because they would cost too much to develop (including the cost for the engines) for the size of the market. If there is demand for a giant aircraft in the mid 2020s and beyond it will be an A-380 neo. The 747 had it’s best success w/the -400 which came 20 years after the -100/200

          • Let’s see, the 777X is getting an all new expensive 110,000 lbs class engine for a market share of, say, 500 – 600 frames. Why then, wouldn’t one all new 130,000 lbs class engine — and two smaller 100,000 lbs and 80,000 lbs class engines that also likely would be used on re-engined versions of the A350-1000 and A350-900, respectively — not be viable economic investments in an expanding market place?

            The demand for VLAs having dramatically lower seat mile costs than the current twins, would IMJ be a magnitude higher over 20 years (post 2025) than the current lackluster VLA demand.

          • Ignoring of course the problem being that those really big costly aircraft aren’t selling?

            Sometimes known as market dynamics.

            As we say here, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, has duck webbed feet, flies like a duck and has duck DNA, then its probably a duck.

            Mid sized wide bodies to work better from the data we see.

            But then I believe that this morning the Sun Will Rise in the East as its always done.

  10. Oooohhh la la AND sacre bleu!!!


    …and just like that, Airbus (and its shareholders) must decide between taking a chance on a risky, firm, ten year “life extension” of the A380 in hopes of some future reversal of fortune for this slow selling VLA for aircraft that may yet to turn out to simply be nothing more than replacements for Emirates’ future aged (not to mention even then possibly “homeless” and unwanted as some already are) A380s in an attempt to “save face” for a program that was conceived when Airbus was more of a government run/oriented entity than it is now…

    …or to stop prolonging the inevitable, and finally pull the plug of a flailing, prestige program that has been on life support for some time already, and showimg little real hope of recovery beyond fulfilling Emirates’ own unique needs, that in ten years’ time will be even more reliant on obsolete designs and engine technologies than it already is?

    In other words, is NO deal better than an high risk (at best), or more likely, a BAD deal that unnecessarily prolongs a money losing program that consumes precious time and resources for a single (albeit large) customer that are otherwise better directed at efforts to meet current and future market needs while inflicting pain on its shareholders?

    It certainly will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    Ripping the proverbial band-aid off all at once and cutting one’s losses NOW is probably the smart thing to do…

    …but methinks Airbus, and its principal government backers, aren’t ready to accept this, and will cave into Emirates’ A380 replacement plan that just may happen to also include fobbing off some (or most/all?) of the older, undesired and unwanted ones off to Airbus, say the way A340s were/are unceremoniously dumped onto the OEMs to seal hoped for deals to sell the new planes most airlines actually DO want…

    …we shall see…

    Anyone want to start laying odds on which outcome is the one we’ll see of this “no deal vs. bad deal” choice Airbus’s shareholders face now that they’ve come upon this fork in the road?

    • It is true that there is nothing like flying an A380 and people know that. Airbus needs to be careful with emirates and provide that guarantee only if emirates buys 30-40 A350’s. Business is business and that would be deal. Take it or leave it.

      • As I’ve already indicated, Airbus doesn’t really need more Emirates A380 orders if the vastly superior A388 replacement(s) are coming online shortly after 2025. The implications of the “115-limit” means that the 142nd and last EK A380 on order would only arrive in late 2024.

        • I am figuring you have Airbus committed to something around 30 billion.

          Lets see, the A380-800 does not sell, the A380F does not sell (cancelled) , the 900 is economically non feasible for Airbus, what could possibly go right?

          • Things that would “go right”:

            1) A composite, single deck, 2025-state-of-the-art, 10 abreast A360X wide-body that would essentially eliminate the 777X.

            2) An A370X — A380-derived intermediate range twin engine VLA having a massively superior CASM — designed to be compatible with ICAO Aerodrome Reference Code E gates (<65m wing span when parked), would be a much easier sell to many more airlines than the curent Code F version (<80 wing span when parked).

            3) Long range models A380X and A390X that would further dramatically reduce CASM on long range H2H and H2P routes, while still having a massive commonality with the smaller A370X Code-E version.

            The problem with the current A388 is that its fuel consumption per seat is similar to that of the 777-300ER and that the A388 CASM will only be, at best, on par with the 777X CASM.

            A reduction of more than 40 percent per seat and a CASM reduction of more than 30 percent for the biggest VLA-X versions, the picture would be all together very different.

            In short, a LCA must have a lower CASM than a smaller LCA in order to remain competitive. The current VLAs don't have that advantage.

          • Should read:

            With a fuel consumption reduction of more than 40 percent per seat and a CASM reduction of more than 30 percent for the biggest VLA-X versions, the picture would be all together very different.

          • Well Airbus may need a new CEO soon and you are the obvious choice.

            The rest of us obviously lack the gambler instinct (aka vision) to bet that the sun will rise in the West this morning.

            If Scott is willing to hold the bet we can work out terms?

          • We had polar flip, wonder if would live long enough to experience it?

          • What actually got go right here for AB is if the EK deals goes wrong?!

    • As long as they are only losing a very small amount of money and have the possibility of breaking even, they might as well carry on. Keeps people in work and governments happy and also keeps the possibility of a A380/850 NEO alive.
      It’s obviously impossible for Airbus to garrentee production beyond Emirates orders, do they think that Airbus might throw the towel in before they complete the order?
      All this “prestige government project” nonsense is just anti Airbus propaganda, it didn’t seem to be be a bad idea at the time, Boeing was nervous enough to try and cover it with the 747/8.

      • Of course, the 748 was a derivative of an already successful program and cost 1/5 of what the A380 did.

        • I would be curious what the list for the 747 was.

          It was a massively re-engineered aircraft and then had to be engineered again as the Russian center messed up the design.

          It may look the same but is not. It also had a stretch capability (never to be used)

          I will do some sleuthing, but me thinks it was more like 5 to 8 billion.

          • The point is that, if Boeing thought that the A380 was as bad an idea as it turned out to be, they wouldn’t have spent any money at all on the 747/8.

          • Grubbie: I think Boeing got whacked off at not having a big aircraft and made a bad decision ROI wise.

            Probably not even break even on that program.

            I am glad they did, one Icon from my life is still going, and the F version is the best looking of a good looking aircraft.

            I never did like the Pax hump, that sleek F bump is cool though.

        • Which was much too expensive for such a small job and presented a second unwanted resource sink for Boeing. Just for the fun of spitting in Airbus soup.

          • Wasn’t the 380 a monster resource sink for spitting in Boeing’s 747 soup?

          • Uwe: Nothing is a small job when it comes to aircraft, look at the A320NEO!

            And this was really a massive do over. Lot of changes in the fuselage let alone the all new wing.

        • The 747-8 development was supposed to cost $4.8 bill, Airbus has said the A380 cost around $17 bill

          • Thank you, I had not seen nor could find a 747-8 number.

            I think it went way over budget. 8 billions may not be too far off.

            A380 I think wound up at 25 billion.

          • @TW

            This figure of $25bn has been bandied around a lot for the A380 but no substantiation has never been found by me. I would also say that a lot of the systems were migrated onto the A350 which meant there was not the same cost incurred in that programme ($15bn) as that incurred by the B787 ($35bn+). I am not saying the A380 programme was a good idea in retrospect but Airbus got the sum of A380/350 for something broadly similar to the cost to Boeing of the B787/747-8. From that perspective Airbus edges ahead slightly in bang per buck if they can make the A380 work for them.

      • Hate to disappoint, @Grubbie, but a quick perusal of virtually all of my comments (here, or the many elsewhere in both financially oriented web sites and/or the commercial blogs that cover the industry for frequent flyers and often feature credit card offers) would hardly be construed as typically showing a bias favoring Boeing…

        …what with its horrible and despicable “densified” coach cabins on 777s and 787s, the absolutely dreadful 737 becoming utterly unavoidable for flights far longer than its long ago obsolete, circa 1960s vintage cabin that was already horrible for the 1,500 mile segments that Stone Age [in aviation “years”,of course] dinosaur is now being prepped to fly even longer than the misery already inflicted for 2,000-2,500 miles long cross country flights for trans-Oceanic voyages between Europe and North America, or its shameful attempt to kill Bombardier’s C-series while further inflamming trade-wars that history has shown time and time again usually makes things worse, NOT better, for everyone, it’s hard to imagine anyone mistaking moi as favoring Boeing over Airbus!

        In fact, a quick look-see to a reply above, makes the exact opposite clear – from a passengers’ perspective, or at least the 85% or so who seldom, if ever, find their bums in the far more comfy premium cabins on any airplane (Airbus, Boeing or others’)…or those whom nearly always find themselves seated BEHIND the magical curtain where the party is (or something barely passing as a semblance of space these days, anyway 😉) in rows that shrink in pitch by the year, I believe Airbus offers far better products than Boeing’s despicable ten abreast 777s, nine abreast 787s, and most assuredly, ANY flight scheduled to last longer than the original 1,500 mile sectors Boeing’s circa 1965 vintage/antique designed 737 cabins are.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT a “hater” of any of the aircraft manufacturers – or deep down even the incredibly “badly behaving airlines” intent on making flying as miserable as possible just to gouge/fleece an extra nickel and dime from its already weary and profoundly abused passengers!

        All of Boeing’s, just as all of Airbus’s (or others) successful aircraft are incredible engineering marvels to behold, and the airlines who daily make it look easy and effortless to get these amazing flying machines off, and safely back, the ground, are a testament to the extraordinary things humanity is capable of achieving when it works together towards a common goal towards bettering our, and others’, lives instead of tearing ourselves apart over “ideas” and “values” none of us actually can speak absolute and definitive to truth of.

        I love Boeing’s and Airbus’s (or others’) aircraft for the magnificent flying machines that can now whisk hundreds of passengers around the world in a day or so, that just 65 or so years ago took much longer than now, and until only moments ago in the history of time was virtually unthinkable at all.

        Let’s just be clear on that.

        To suggest I favor one of the two duopolists over the other is pure folly.

        I think they’re both great, and I eagerly look forward to seeing their next exciting innovations that allows humanity to fly even further and faster than now – even beyond our planet!

        But just because I love these companies, or others, (especially the airlines 😉) doesn’t mean I should unconditionally love them when they err…or do things that when we’re all being honest instead of just counting beans even they know isn’t exactly acting at their best and finest (to put it kindly)!

        That’s my guiding philospohy behind any posts – nothing more, nothing less – since I don’t buy or sell stocks or other financial instruments individually or via dedicated industry specific ETFs for aerospace manufacturers, or any of the airlines, and instead free of any of those conflicts prefer to speak soley as a passenger, and fanboy of flight/full-on lifelong “avgeek” – who’s professional background/accomplishments just so happens to reflect a variety of unique and useful perspectives gained over a lifetime including:

        many years (but long ago) working as a travel agent at a premier agency serving corporations and high-end luxury travel; several years as a researcher and consultant for an industry attorney on several airline/airport related “big ticket” development projects including technical research that significantly broadened the scope of sales tax exemptions for public/private projects at JFK and LaGuardia Airports using Industrial Development Agency (now Empire State Development) financing for several of best known names in the industry (and others’ who may lease/sublease government owned facilities around New York State like airlines do when they sub-lease cargo and passenger facilities from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey at those two airports); or of course, as someone who’s published work appeared for many years in one of the esteemed publications noted on the right margins of this web page…oh, and as someone who’s Series 7 & 63 scores were also among the top of the class when I successfully completed the training program at what was regarded as a top name on Wall Street (NOT Lehman Bros.) when that firm was around during my four years there, and certainly is no stranger to the language it speaks or the perspective from which the financial community typically views Airbus, Boeing – or airlines!

        • Well I did really good in reading comprehension in school and other than a lot of ego at the end, I don’t see any content there.

          Of course you might try taking a Cat Wagon with 25 yards of grave down the pipeline pad at the Ice Cut, now that rates a guy or gal some co-jones in my opinion.

          Well that and doing 55 mph hour at the bottom and braking all the way to make that 90 degree corner 1/4 mile away.

          Problem with gravel is it weight a lot, keeping staring on the pad was fun enough, but all that inertial and speed at the bottom meant you were dead if you didn’t slow her down in 1/4 mile.

          Think of it as the opposite of a drag race.

          Wall street? meh

  11. How many billions of €€€ will those hypothetical post 2025 Airbus models cost to develop?

    And how much would they “list” for?

    • Doesn’t really matter at the moment, they can look into that problem when the time comes.

      • Really? I guess they do it differently than I do.

        New car, ok, how much money is this brand new Mercedes going to cost us?

        Ergh, maybe we need to buy the Kia!

        • @Howard:

          I think you would have to call OV-99 excessively exuberant to quote Greenspan.

          In the real world there is world of difference between deigning paper airplanes and having a market for them.

          • Well, at least you didn’t resort to insults this time around.

          • Yeah Trans you are a regular Don Rickles on here. I’m sure many have logged off crying because of you!

          • @Geo

            There you go again — another one-liner, right there. I’d guess that you take your cue from The Gipper.

          • Well I did beat my head against the wall screaming “no more paper airplanes for gods sake”!

            When you start your working life out at hard labor you develop a great deal of practicality.

            Nothing very visionary about putting posts in the ground on top of a glacial moraine.

          • Must disagree, that is very visionary, moving the (goal) posts, you don’t stagnate.

          • Yep, somewhere there is a balance.

            747 was visionary.

            787 was visionary.

            But both were also backed up by highly accomplished engineers and to Boeings credit, the 787 by good market research and assessment.

            The Wright brothers as amazing as they were also were unbalanced. They thought they owned the world.

            Curtis comes along with Ailerons and a significant aspect of their patent was gone. They spent the rest of their lives in a war.

            Getting on with it would have been vastly better.

            Vision is fine but it has to be underpinned by good solid base, and that is where I don’t see it as anything other than dreaming.

            Elton? he may be a squirrel but he also built an organization that can do what he envisioned.

            Ideas are a dime a dozen, good valid ones well thought out not so much.

          • The future is hard to predict like fuel cost, cockpit crew cost and availability. It is easier to predict population growth, BNP growth, one pilot cockpits certification, big cities Airport limited development (LHR).
            Depending on the outcome different Aircraft types will be bought/leased. If oil reaches +150 USD/barrell it will have an effect. If pilot cost reached 1 MUSD/year it will move average aircaft size up. If SFC of big Engines drop by 20% from the GE9X it will have impact on long range flights making the ME3 position different. A full war between Iran and Saudi will have effect on oil supply and price.

  12. A360X: All new airframe (777X eliminator): €15 billion.

    A370X: A380 fuselage + new horizontal and vertical tailplane + A360X wing and MLG: €5 billion.

    A380X: New composite wing derived from the current wing (same centre wingbox etc.): €7 billion.

    A390X: Very similar wing to that of the A380X wing ( 2 x 2.5m of wing “removed” at the root — new profile inboard of the engines; new centre wingbox; new MLG; new, smaller horizontal tailplane: €7 billion.

    Total: about €35 billion — or about four “new” aircraft families for the price of two.

    • Addendum

      A380X and A390X list prices vastly higher than the current $437 million for the A388.

      A360X list price similar to the list price of the 777X.

      A370X list price similar to the current list price of the A388.

  13. If we get a new order at the top of Airbus shortly then we have a ‘time zero’ moment. With the new management team having far less emotional attachment to the A380 perhaps then we will have some clear decision making.

    At present the policy is to eke out the programme on minimal additional investment. I think Airbus should double down on a NEO (at least commit to it publicly whilst awaiting an engine) or cut and run. As I have said before the current losses are marginal but airlines buy the future and this stasis is hardly likely to inspire confidence in any prospective purchaser

    • Well you have to wonder when there are not only no prospective buyers for the A380, MA can’t sell its used ones (and latter models) not to mention all those never to be orders.

      Do you put a lot of good money after bad or do you hold em?

      If its not on your head its an easy decision.

      Me, I think they are doing the best they can with a long time ago bad decision.

      And the horizon looks more shaky all the time with the move to mid size twins.

      Me thinks Airbus is doing the prudent thing. A gamble is only a gamble if there is a chance you are going to win.

      • @TW I said they should make a difficult decision, I didn’t say which way they should sway. The dithering is a death by a thousand (production) costs

      • Malaysian was just caught out by the growth in the ME3 taking their lunch. So the flights from Europe to SE Asia are being flown by A380s, just not in MA colours.
        A mistake by Boeing in doing the newish 747-8 meant some of the quad orders went to them, but not enough to make it worth while. Boeing is only keeping the line open because the writeoffs its carried forward from all the versions of the 747 would huge when taken in one hit.

        • Interesting/valid point/s here that the ME airlines reduced the need of the 380 for other airlines between Asia and Europe and US East coast.

          The “only” non-ME routes with potential growth for the 380 is from Eastern Asia to the US and Europe.

          Open skies policies most likely the biggest 380 killer?

          • And would that mean there are only so many A380 orders and Emirates wound up with them rather than others?

            But MA only had 6 and I don’t see other than maybe Qantas anyone else affected by it. That’s a deferral of 4?

          • Seems reaching a conclusion is as quick for Boeing the freeze an 797 design.

            Maybe AB should build their backlog of 380’s. After that its a “special” (handcrafted) build with highly variable price.

            Order book open to date X, after that you going to pay big for an 380. This will raise the second hand value and interest of leasing companies in the 380.

            Almost like an annual tender program? Just some of my off the planet ideas.

          • Anton:

            Its impossible. It has to be ROI based.

            Supporting the infrastructure to do what you put out would cost billions a year and they can’t sell them at discounted price (of some kind with MA, let alone the very non desirable early Dr. Peters group)

  14. Sunk costs, as with the 787 or any other program, are what they are. Cash flow is what matters. Airbus doesn’t seem to have it and if they had a reliable trickle it would be insane to invest it into this program.

    The 77x can’t be killed for at least fifteen years, so they might as well work on a new/actual a330 replacement, which could dovetail into the new narrow body in 2030, after seeing what Boeing does. All of that, though, is again going to take massive cash outlays.

    Funny seeing ostorower publishing pics of the first sn a380 taxiing to its mothball status in France next to Malaysian a340s today.

    • “The 77x can’t be killed for at least fifteen years.”

      Actually, the 777X is quite vulnerable to an 80m long, composite 2025 state-of-the-art, 10 abreast single deck aircraft.

      • Of course it’s vulnerable to that, BUT, how much would it cost and how big is the market and could they EVER make money on it etc. The announcement of such a plane would certainly be the end of the 380.

        • Over 20 years (from 2025) the market would IMJ be well in excess of 1000 airframes. The cost should be about 50 percent more than the cost of the 777X.

          It would be developed in-synch with an A380-derived intermediate range twin-engine VLA. As I’ve previously indicated, if the lower lobe fuselage diameter would be identical to the circular lower fuselage diameter of the A380, both aircraft could share the same wing and MLG — a massive cost saving.

          • Ahh, the crux of the issue.

            Its not your money going into this.

            And you need the research that indicates deep interesting and commitments to get a board to buy into it (and the engineering that says you can do it and the plan for that, buildings, infrastructure, share splits in the case of Airbus and beating up on states for tax breaks for Boeing. )

            That includes a financial analysis of what the project costs, what it brings in.

            Add in, your big twin with 200,000 lb thrust engines that only exist in industrial turbines.

            You don’t even know if they can make those in AD engine.

            Current engines are 112 inch or so, even scaling up that puts it in a 200 inch size engine range.

            Now you could put the wing on top, but that’s not the way it works efficiency wise.

            And so on.

      • We’ll see if the economics of the 777x can leapfrog the 787 and A350, otherwise it may a niche product. I agree with you, an 80x80m composite 10x with 18″ seats is the product airlines will wait for to move back to the VLA. But, I think Airbus next move is as Keesje has described, a 42m wing x 50m new aircraft using the A320 fuselage section.

        • I’m talking about an 80m x 65m composite 10 abreast wide body when parked. At take-off, folding wing tips would be extended thus increasing the in-flight wingspan to 75m.

          • Got it. If the starting point is the fuselage, how tall will the gear be for good rotation and will it be light enough for just two main gear? Will the engine diameter exceed the GE9x?

          • The aircraft would be significantly lighter than the exceedingly heavy 777-9. MTOW similar, or slightly, higher than the MTOW of the 777W/ 777X (352 metric tonnes). The MLG would be as tall as the 777X MLG and using either 2 x 6 wheel bogies having the same wide wheel spacing as the A359 MLG truck, or a 2 x 8 wheel bogie as an option for better runway performance and lower wheel loading. Engine size depends on bypass ratio. An overall bypass ratio of 12:1 shouldn’t lead to larger engine diameter than the 134″ fan diameter of the GE9X (bypass ratio of 10:1) which is a two spool engine that is using an over-sized LP compressor — reducing the bypass ratio over that of an engine using a LP compressor running at a much more optimum RPM.

          • Ted:

            That is some strange reasoning.

            So you take 34 billion, you invest it and get 8% ROI.

            Or you take that 34 billion and invest it and get .005 % if you are lucky and more like a -5%.

            To me you have lost a whole lot of money, but what do I know.

      • Airbus, nor anyone else, is going to launch such a project in the next 10 years. The bets are made at this point for the A350 and 77X lines; the next opportunity to evaluate recalibrating the top end twins will be around 2026-2030 (then taking 5-10 years for development). Airbus in particular, as the likely “first mover” in the space, has to write down the A380 termination losses, first. They just don’t have the cash, interest, or financial sponsors to do anything in the next 7 years.

        • Nonsense.

          Airbus is essentially through with the A350 XWB, A320neo and A330neo. They are IMJ perfectly positioned to take on the 777X and do to it what the 77W did to the A346 — if they choose to do so.

          With 900-plus projected deliveries per year after 2020, Airbus will have more than enough cash coming in, thereby enabling solid financing of any new programme(s).

          Also, keep in mind that while being a significantly smaller company back in the 2000s — having a lot less resources — Airbus started development of the A350 at the back end of the A380 development programme, while concurrently developing the A400M.

          • I see AB’s priority as a new aircraft in the 220-300 seat class if they don’t go for a totally re-worked 350-800 and an NSA 322 size aicraft, that’s where they are losing out to Boeing and that’s a sizeable market.

            The 330Neo is “done” but its not selling.

          • The 787-8 seems to have stopped selling as well. The 787-9 is roughly the same size as the A330-900 and slightly smaller than the A350-900 (by about 7-9 percent). Thus, Boeing has a greater gap than Airbus in the middle of the market segment — and they’ve no option but going for an all new aircraft in order to counter any larger A321 derivative aircraft.

          • OV99:

            The 787-8 is an aircraft that Boeing wishes would go away.

            I assume you have read the reasons why?

        • No need for Airbus to write down losses 5-10 years from now. They don’t use program accounting, so the losses have already been recorded as the aircraft have been built and sold.

          • OV99: I think that is an interesting remarkably optimistic look at Airbus and the A350 (Ver4 that finally came out that is)

            More like they did not have any choice and the A400 is still a financial dog that doesn’t hunt?

            Data says Airbus is not doing nearly as good as Boeing in the wide aisles.

    • “Cash flow is what matters. Airbus doesn’t seem to have it …”

      EUR 1.5B free cash flow in 2016.

  15. The Seattle Times story at the link below has a different selection of Tim Clark quotes than the Reuters story to which Mr.Hamilton posted a link, but to the same effect. While some in this thread are proposing multiple new versions of the A380, it seems that Emirates is gravely concerned that Airbus will keep any version at all of the A380 in production. When you only have one customer left for a product, you either keep that customer happy or shut down production of the product? Here is an excerpt from the article, followed by a link to the full article.

    Clark, speaking at the Dubai Air Show where he ordered Boeing aircraft with a list price value of $15.1 billion on Sunday, said his airline is able to accommodate more A380s beyond the 142 on order. However, Clark said Emirates “needs to see something” from the Airbus board that reflects the company’s backing of the program before it buys any more. And even if a fresh deal materializes, it’s for Airbus management to decide if that’s enough to keep the plane alive, he said.

    “If we order any more, we want to make absolutely sure that the will is there contractually to continue the line for 10 to 15 years,” Clark said. Airbus “would like to put more aircraft into us and everyone else, but their board may have a view that says ‘If you don’t sell any more, Emirates or no Emirates, we don’t want you to do it’, so we need to see something from them which says ‘We will do this’.”

    • Clark, speaking at the Dubai Air Show where he ordered Boeing aircraft with a list price value of $15.1 billion on Sunday, said his airline is able to accommodate more A380s beyond the 142 on order.

      Clark is all over the place. In May he said that 115 Airbus A380s is the “absolute maximum” aircraft its Dubai International Airport hub will be able to handle. DWC expansion won’t be complete before the late 2020s. He’s losing credibility fast.

      • Yea, not sure what TC is doing there.

        He seems pretty desperate these days.

        Gave up a really good GP engine for a pie in the sky RR promise that seems not to have worked in a weird attempt to get an NEO from a supplier that is not even sure it can keep its CEO going.

        Maybe his board has had enough and its kicking him where it hurts.

        • Why don’t you provide a corroborative document supporting your claim that the T900 is “pie in a sky promise” and “not working for Emirates”.

        • TC says that the Trent 900 is 5% better than the GP7000. You do believe in everything TC says!

          • Remember, that is a MAGICAL 5% that suddenly appeared out of clear air in the midst of a raging sand storm in Dubai!

            Breaking that down, the GP was getting 2 or 3% better SFC and was highly rated for maint costs.

            I never saw the breakdown but that looked to be both maint and how well it held up on the wing for degradation (that they all suffer)

            My take is RR waved their magic wand, made all sorts of promises and TC now gets to enjoy the results of it.

            RR track record IMNSHO has been sketchy.

            You have to wonder if the Trent 900 was a precursor to the Trent 1000 (ie in issues not sequence)

            The Trent 1000 had to be redone, virtually an all new engine.

            Trent 900 they can’t justify it so did they try to patch it into better performance ?

            We do know there was issues, no one is talking.

            Past history says that’s because both sides are embarrassed and happy to cover it up.

  16. Enders statement, start of this month, that Airbus will still be producing the A380 in 10 years time makes sense now. Also clearly suggests something else is stopping a deal being agreed yet.

    As for powerplants, any thoughts on the ongoing problems at GE Scott (I see they’ve announced continuing major divestments plus div cut this week as they struggle with the cash), both in aviation generally and specifically how they may figure re any Emirates A380 order?

    • I don’t see GE not being solid on engines.

      I do see some werid we might switch back to GP.

      Probably the right move but then TC seems to be breaking down.

  17. Clark should be careful. After all of their cancellation tricks and fake RFPs, Emirates and Clark risk getting the RyanAir treatment by Airbus.

    • Well the same could be said for Delta.

      I bet Boeing would still make an offer if they had a program up for bid.

  18. Why chase the 777x with a new 360x and spend all the money to satisfy a few ME airlines and repeat the A380 scenario? There is no evidence whatsoever that the 777x will do that much better than the A380.

    This is the real picture as of now.

    A380 13 costumers (3 ME, 51% of total units)

    777X 7 costumers (3 ME, 72% of total units)

    A35K 11 costumers ( 2 ME, 35% of total units)

    Up to this point, the situation for the 777x smells like the A380. Take the Middle East away and even the A380 is doing better. The A350-100o is doing the best in the “real world “ and people fail to see that and what’s about to come.

    Forget designing planes for those small markets and focus on the big markets.

    Just stretch the A350-1000 and stop there (less risk) Not everyone will need those heavy 777 beasts to lift heavy payload in hot climates. The 777-300ER will eventually die, fuel prices will go up, most airlines won’t jump from 777-200 ER to 777X or downdize to 787-9. The A350 family will dominate the current 777 market and the -1000 is just starting.

    The planes that really need attention
    are the 787 -9 and 787-10. They are dynamite and will take over the A330/767 market. That is a huge market and the A330 Neo just won’t due it for too long. Especially the 787-10 is brilliant and pure money for mid range missions. Airbus probably lost this important segment which was the original purpose of the A330begirexut morphed from big regional plane to small mid to long haul plane.

    • Well, to put it in the correct historical perspective 10 years after launch (2011), the A380 had 7 airlines and a total of 253 orders. This was 4 years into deliveries. The 777x has 7 airlines and 328 orders and the first one will not deliver for 2 years.

      • I think Joe’s point is still valid, though: this is a narrow niche, not the mass market. An A350-1100 would find many more customers than an A360X.

          • Going from the 77W’s to the 777-9 is a significant upsizing in (9 abreast) seating capacity. Depends on capacity demand the 35K is the closest to the 77W’s.

            The 779 could prove to be to big and the 778 to long range/heavy as an 77W replacement, so don’t rule out the 35K.

          • The problem is that for the 777-9X market the ones that want it have committed.

            No one can afford to re-do a fleet when the next whiz bang project comes along.

            You have to be able to counter with something low cost like the 787-10.

    • As I indicated in an other comment, quite a few people seem to think that the LCA market is static, while seemingly ignoring projections that it will treble in size by the late 2040s. What I’ve been talking about is the development of aircraft that would only enter into service after 2025, and which IMJ would cater to a steadily growing demand not only for larger aircraft, but also for larger double decker widebodies that would have a significant edge in CASM over that of smaller single deck widebodies. Airbus would obviously not want to be chasing the ME3, but all of the major airlines of the world.

      Boeing’s bet for that growing market is the 777X. They’re obviously counting on selling 777Xs until the late 2030s — a risky bet IMJ since the 777X is extremely vulnerable to same-sized, all composite competitor.

      As for countering the 787-10 post 2020, Airbus could quite easily stretch the A330-900 and A350-900. The simple stretched A350-900 would have the same MTOW and MLG as the A350-900. A seven frame fuselage stretch (i.e. A350-800X) should be enough. In contrast, the A350-1000 is stretched by 11 fuselage frames over that of the A350-900.

      • Not that it can’t change, but the current data is that flexibility and cost of the mid size products is the sweet spot.

        Unfortunately for Boeing and Airbus (or maybe fortunately) , this is not like cars you can suddenly change a model that does not sell into one that does.

        Constant fiddling with aircraft is not feasible.

        The costs are huge and you need to get ROI out of the project somehow or you go belly up.

    • Joe: While the rest is valid the reality is that nothing from A or B really deals with the 767 market.

      Currently even the 767 does not deal well with the market but its the closest to the least best options.

  19. Just give that guarantee. If all goes wrong you just produce 1 plane for each guaranteed year on stock with 1 screw missing that you then add in the respectively year to keep the production “ongoing”.
    Apart from that, I hope that the RR Turbofan might be used on a 4 engined plane earlier in its maturity gaining process and by 2025 Emirates and maybe others will be hungry for a RR turbofan powered 79,9m long 380-900neo.

    • In an area where the original A380 did not return and another 10 billion into it for a NEO stretch that does not sell either?

      • In my line of business this is the time you bring in an “independent” consultant to evaluate the 380 program. Pay them a lot of money to tell you what you know.

        But then yo put it to the Board to make the call and move on.

        • Boeing and Airbus are the only ones that have that expertise .

          I think they know what they have and what the options are.

          One of the axioms of business is you don’t make a decision until you have to.

          In this case, its a huge chasm between loosing a bit of money and writing off 25 billion (some of it Airbuses own money!)

          • That’s what I meant AB will know better. But if you pay an outsider a lot of money and tell the same story the Board believes it.

      • It’s 2billion for it is likely to be a straight swap. In other words the fan size will easily cater for an OBR of over 12:1 for the advance core is smaller. Unless its UtraFan. Not sure about UtraFan for the A380

        • If the 77W/X’es are that great and EK’s wants to build their future around them (words from EK hot-shots) why worry about the 380?

  20. Direct question to Scott:

    When would you guess will the RR Ultrafan ready for EiS?

  21. It’s amusing to see the chaos among the Airbus fanboys as their “flagship” breathes its last. Objective observers have already accepted the truth – like the Concorde before it, the A380 is an engineering marvel, but a commercial flop. Challenged to put their money where their mouth is, Airbus has balked at providing meaningful assurances to EK they would be still be producing the A380 10 years from now. That Airbus could not do this for the one operator who has meaningfully committed their business strategy to the A380 is at once mind-boggling and quite revealing! It should serve notice to the blind A380 apologists that this airplane is a boat anchor around Airbus’ neck. Airbus will be far better off when they cut the cord and set themselves free from it.

    So here is the situation as it sits today:

    Airbus has no viable answer to the 787.

    The A330-800 is a non-starter for airlines. The one customer who was backed into an A330-800 order has already stated they won’t take it. Even though subbing into the A330-900 is an obvious way for them to go, that airline has apparently re-opened the whole evaluation because they wanted another look a the 787.

    Even at 251T, the A330-900 still falls short of the 787-9 in range, while carrying fewer passengers and operating at higher trip cost. It has failed to secure any orders since 2015, and seems forever stuck at around 200 orders.

    At Airbus’ announced production rate, the A330neo program has a backlog which will sustain just 3 years of production. Good thing the program is running late, otherwise that awkward moment where you start rolling out white-tails looms even closer on the horizon. Bottom line, the A330neo is turning into a disaster for Airbus.

    The A350-1000 is also failing to gain traction. In chasing 777-300ER range, the A350-1000 sacrificed commonality with the A350-900. Ever since Airbus made the changes which divorced it from the A350-900, the A35K sub-type has been losing orders and market interest. In the same time period, the 777X has just about doubled it up in orders, while the A350-1000 has suffered several embarrassing defections. Unless the airplane gets stretched, or “787-10’ized” (lower weight & range, but 100% commonality with A350-900), it likely will be relegated to niche status.

    The industry likes the A350-900, and by all accounts it is a great airplane. The problem is Airbus has left it as an orphan. It lacks the family dynamic around it which Boeing seems to have accomplished with the 787 and 777X.
    For some operators, this won’t matter – they will be happy with a one-trick-pony. But for those operators who have large and diverse twin-aisle networks, the Airbus product line simply does not offer the efficiency of a product family in the same way Boeing does.

    Airbus should own up to their miscalculations, cut their losses on the A380, and not sink one more dime into it. Similarly, realize the A330neo and upgauged A350-1000 were mistakes, and pursue development of a sensible aircraft family focused on the largest markets.

    While the fanboys (out of stubborn pride?) cheer Airbus on even deeper into the VLA category, I’d advise Airbus to go another direction altogether. If anything, the 777-9 represents the new edge of what is too big. Demand for aircraft bigger than the 777-9 exists, but is very small. With that in mind, Airbus should forget about the A380, or even an A350-1100/2000 and revert the A350-1000 to its original form (common A350-900 MTOW, wings, engines & gear). This would make the A350-1000 the A350 family equivalent of the 787-10, but with more seats – exactly what Airbus realized the A350 needed when they offered EK to move the A350-900 aft pressure bulkhead. The A350-900 and new -1000 would mark the start of a real family for Airbus.

    Second, Airbus should cut their losses on the A330neo and develop a clean-sheet aircraft based on A350 systems to cover from 225 seats up to 275 seats. This would significantly slow 787 momentum, while offering something the industry seems to be asking for – a twin aisle smaller than the 787 and A330. The A350-900 and new A350-1000 will hold its own in the 300-350 seat category, and the new A330 replacement, with common systems to the A350, would cover from 225-275.

    The above strategy requires development of only only one new wing/engine, minimal new systems, and would cover 90% of the twin aisle market with two aircraft types – both newer than the 787.

    I’m happy to be a fan of Airbus when it appears they have their act together.
    But they don’t right now. I believe the above strategy would help them get there. As for the fanboys who would love to see Airbus dig ever deeper into the VLA world – you must secretly hate Airbus. On the heels of a failed A380 program – WHICH DID NOT FAIL BECAUSE THE A380 WAS INEFFICIENT – to wish they would pursue yet another new aircraft even further into this realm of darkness, is truly the height of ignorance. Relinquish your blind pride in the A380 and the silly fixation with ultra-large and ultra-longhaul, and a very sensible and successful twin-aisle product strategy emerges.

    • One of the potential problems with the 330-8/9’s is that is to close in size to the 788/9’s respectively. Not sure how well did AB do their homework, but they took the easy/lazy road out and just “NEO-ed” the current two aircraft.

      The 338 falls short on economics and the 339 on range. Was/is the answer not an aircraft in size between the two? Around 275 pax, 7000Nm range at 242T Mtow.

      Now they need two certification programs where it could have been one.

    • @IHSV

      With all due respect, but your comment sounds more like a FUD piece. Of course, it’s not FUD to you say something “negative”, but concluding that the only viable Airbus widebody is the A350-900 is IMJ FUD, and nothing but FUD.

      Also, most analysts agree that Airbus don’t have to do anything in the so-called middle of the market segment, and that the A321neo is the product that is forcing Boeing to show its hand. Arguing that Airbus must act now is not only ridiculous, but it sounds more like something that’s is meant to sow doubt, uncertainty and fear about the current Airbus product portfolio.

      As for the LCA market, quite a few people seem to think that the it is static, while seemingly ignoring projections that the LCA market is projected to treble in size by the late 2040s. What I’ve been talking about is the development of aircraft that would only enter into service after 2025, and which IMJ would cater to a steadily growing demand not only for larger aircraft, but also for larger double decker widebodies that would have a significant edge in CASM over that of smaller single deck widebodies.

      Therefore, it may seem as if spreading FUD about the future demand for larger wide body aircraft, is also part of the FUD playbook.

    • @IHSV

      News flash , the 777x is barely selling outside the middle east. It is another Tim Clark toy just like the A380x. And yes, Emirates helped spec out the 777X just like Qatar helped with the A350.

      I will bet money on the A350-1000, not the 777X.

      • Joe:

        Agreed on the over commitment to ME on the 777X.

        I don’t see the A350-1000 selling all that well either.

        It would be interesting to see what came of it if they did a -900 stretch on it and left the rest alone.

    • The A330neo falls short on range compared to a 787-9/10?

      That was the reason why Emirates has chosen the 787-10 over the A350.
      The A350 had to much range for Emirates.

      Airbus offers not exactly the same products as Boeing does.

      Does your trip cost comparison include financial costs?

      • by definition, trip cost does not include capital cost. one is sunk one is variable.

    • IHSV:

      Would you lay off the Fan Boys thing?

      A lot of what you wrote is worth reading, but you shoot yourself in the foot.

      I don’t thin of the Airbus guys as fan boys, enthusiasts yes, but please drop the negativity.

      If I am saying it then its worth a listen.

      • There is only one true enthusiast, the rest of us have a great deal of sceptism. With a fair wind it will gain a niche market, nothing more thsn that

    • No company will provide decade long guarantees. Airbus has said all any company will say and they said it a long time ago. Tim Clarke won’t get anymore. I’m not sure any of Tim Clarke’s words can be trusted at the moment.

  22. So, if Airbus make this guarantee does it have to show any more credibility than an Emirates purchase order?
    EG. A 70 unit A350XWB order!

  23. The A350-1000 looks like a very strong specification. Hundreds of XWB’s now booked as -900s will leave the line as -1000 like we saw before. Boeing knows, the airlines know. Competitive considerations and price negotiations lead to downplaying the -1000 every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Soon famous tails will start leaving the FAL. It’s the weight-cost thing & it doesn’t go away.

    • the problem for Airbus re the -1000 is that there is really only one high volume customer for that size aircraft and they have already bracketed it by choosing the 787-10 for the low end of the capability and the 777x for the high end.
      they will certainly get a fair number of onsie/twosie type conversions from airlines that are buying moderate numbers of A350-900s, but they are unlikely to get blockbuster numbers, at least in the near term (<10 years)

      • Perceptions seem to drift away from reality.

        Imo hundreds of -1000s will find their way to Qatar, Cathay, United, BA, JAL, AF and many more to come. Why? Because they ordered them and it does what was promised.

    • keesje:

      We have two side here.

      one is what is happening

      two is pure speculation.

      I come down on the side of current reality.

      I ran out of gas once. All the hopping in the world did not change the fact that there was only so much gas in the tank and I tried to exceed the reality.

        • I have. 169

          It does have a wider base than the 777-9.

          But then there is the 787-10 that does a whole lot of the needed missions.

          I think its a good airplane.

          I am just not convinced its a wide spectrum seller any more than the 777X.

          The big market and sales are 787 and A350-900

          • There is only 6m difference between the 359 and 35K, so you would assume that you need nothing in-between. But if you have a closer look there is actually a “big” void between them where the 787-10 fits in. Using the upper end of data for the two indicates where an 787-10 competing aircraft could fit in.

            359, 325 pax, OEW 145T, MTOW 280T, 66.6m, wing 442 Sqm, XWB84, 8000-9000+Nm, 4 wheel bogeys.

            35K, 365 pax, OEW 155T, MTOW 316T, 73.6,m, wing 460 Sqm, XWB97, 8000Nm, 6 wheel bogeys.

            35X, 345-350 pax, OEW, 135-140T, MTOW 265T, 70m length, 359 wing, XWB79/84, 6500Nm, 4 wheel bogeys.

            Lufthansa is apparently asking for an 359F, maybe this could be the platform for such an aircraft, so two birds with one stone.

  24. The strange gyrations on A380 and unexpectedly buying 787-10 would afaics indicate that there has been significant political pressure applied backstage ( from the US, ?SA? last meeting of Trump with the regional Haute Volée looked an an arsonists workshop.).

      • @Geo

        Big surprise — another one-liner. That’s your forte, isn’t it, Geo?

        • Sorry OV, I thought this one was pertinent in the current climate and funny

          • Nothing wrong with one-liners. The Gipper, apparently, had stacks of 3×5 index cards filled with one-liners, which he kept in his desk to append to speeches.

    • I think it is legit. FlightGlobal said that Airbus offered 10 abreast. That means Emirates are after people/cargo truck over 7-8 hour sectors. Not really the game of the A350.

      Price/delivery probably did it.

      • Slot availability could be big factor, possible use of GE engines, one supplier for 777’s and 787’s engines

        (For FLX, wonder what the seat layout/s will be)?

        Hopefully they will have a premium economy, don’t need a lot of flat beds (if any?) for flights that will most likely be less than 10 hours.

        One of my best recent flights was on an AA 787-9 with 2-3-2 Premium (take note FLX).

    • Pressure from who? Trump has the habit of rolling into foreign capitals to fanfare and red carpets, and leaving town with empty pockets and vague promises of future business.

      If he had pressured Emirates to buy 787-10s and beaten the Europeans out of an order, we would have heard about it directly from Trump. He would be bragging about that for days on twitter.

      • I think the idea is general sucking up.

        Still don’t buy it as the A350 was cancel long before that occurred.

        • Agree, the 350 was not in play after cancellation of the initial 350 order cancellation. They just wanted to “keep them true” on the 380.

          Thinking about it, AB most likely knew it and came up with silly ideas not to show their hand to Boeing in similar future situations (I hope?).

          • In thinking about it, I agree … but not bulkheads. Airbus will not be that daft.

    • There has been talk that EK would take 787-10s for a while. The real surprise is that it is only 40. Makes me suspect an A350 order might be in the pipe.

      • As the deliveries start in 2022, go into 2024 or latter?

        I think it just reflects Emirates caution about putting a lot of money into Boeings hands where they get the benefits.

        No options were announced but you can bet they are there and can be exercised ahead of other orders.

        I would be quessy about having that much of my company vested in Emirates though.

  25. The sad aspect of an a380 boxing is that there will never again be a VLA… Nobody is ever going to produce anything bigger than an a350/777, so airlines are themselves limiting development, and confining themselves to slot restrictions, and derivatives… In the future.

    AB pulling the plug may be the kick-in-the-pants airlines need to put-up or shut-up.

    I would hope/suggest AB would ‘show’ what an a380neo would look-like/be-like, internally (airspace/floor space) and externally (engine spec, weights, thrust, wing mods, aero-tuning/twist)… And provide a date when they and RR ‘aim’ for having the pieces of the neo puzzle ready for hard-specs. A commitment from EK for the current model, plus an MOU for the neo for progressive replacement of the ceo would be a nice way to address this issue, maintain production for 10yrs, and show there is a plan… And this is it. AB would not proceed with a neo in 2025+ unless EK/others commit when the specs are defined in 2025+.

    • I fully agree, give the A380 a ‘future’ by firming up on the design route and evolution that Airbus are considering. There is scope for a step change in efficiency.

      • I think the problem is the reality is that they spend 25 billion and it did not pan out.

        Another 10 billion and nothing comes of it?

        I would think Airbus has floated the future possibilities with a stretch and the RR wonder fan and its not getting traction.

        Boeing had that with the Sonic Cruiser, great airplane, we can’t make money with it, show us one we can.

  26. A380 is super comfy for PAX, and same is true for all AB over B models-
    A330 > B787 and A350>B777.

    But Airbus is in a huge dilema. When A380EIS stated to be 10 years early.
    Now, 10 years later, still no demand.
    Go for another 10years?
    Maybe run against the same wall again?
    Use the same arguments that didnt work this time again?
    And then, in 2025, having a fuselage from 2000 years based on metall carring to much weight? And to decide to get a overhall?
    A380 OWE is 277t,
    B77W is 160t.
    I’ll take the 2class layout from emirates, as it’s easier to compare.
    A380: 615 pax
    B77W: 427 pax.

    So, calculate how much mass you have to fly arround per pax:
    A380: 0,45t per PAX
    B77W: 0,37t per PAX.

    And that’s the damn issue. A380 is to heavy or not dense enough.
    Jus tbe carfule C is about the same % of seats, but A380 is full flat while B77W is just angle flat.
    Also, I know B77W is a stretch usually runs lighter, but that’s the choice airlines have to make.
    I dont know it that’s a physicall thing, so the structure of a double deck plane has to be or if Airbus just didnt find enough in it, but the B777 fuselage is the same material and it’s even older.

    So that A380 is just to fat, or it’s not dense enough.
    But if it’s not dense enough and already to big for most airlines – so simply put a high density layout in to fix the ecconomics doesn’t work.

    So overall, Airbus has a comfy plane but no customers, and the idea of getting in into 2025 with the same arguments why it was selling slowly 10 years ago for this time- no.

    I would let it run dry, because competing with it in 10 years, even with a neo, will be hard. You can stretch it, but then it’s the same thing: Too big.

  27. So if they could keep the line running for 10 years with an Emirates order, what is the problem?
    I am guessing Airbus is nervous about any order being cancelled or reduced. This might have been unthinkable in the past but based on the one cancellation and Emirates current financial hiccup, this would cost most people to think twice.

    As for A380 NEO, I understand that any further worthwhile engine technology improvements would not be ripe for about 5 years, depending on how optimistic one views the situation.

    But another factor might be that Emirates is not prepared to take on so many aircraft so quickly. Again, the current financial situation would have a big impact on such a fleet renewal/expansion rate.

  28. “So, calculate how much mass you have to fly arround per pax:
    A380: 0,45t per PAX
    B77W: 0,37t per PAX.

    And that’s the damn issue. A380 is to heavy or not dense enough.”

    Apples and oranges are with us again. Unjustified generalizations and suggestions complete the mix.

    The A380 could do 11 abreast main deck & still have wider seats than 787 at 9 abreast. Put the huge A380 bar area in the 777 too & toggle with the number of F, C & M seats. Than recount and drw far reaching conclusions again. 😀

    • If you would have read carefully, I choose Emirates 2 class layoout.
      Because F is hard to compare due to different products, while C is quite similar.
      If you really want to break this down, need to make a clac about usable floor space, but that’s a lot of effort.

      It’s not about what you could do – 11abreast etc.
      It’s about how airlines use their planes.
      And no one is flying 11abreast.
      While 9 / 10 abreast is common sense in B787 / B777.

      Emirates has already 615 seats in it’s 2 class A380 – can more be sold?

      So while you might be right theoretically, it is a apples to oranges comparison, in fact that’s the real life question airlines are facing.

      • If you don’t like oranges to apples, don’t. You comparison assumes EK use both aircraft for the same markets. Which is incorrect, but you take a step further by calculating “0.45t per PAX”, suggesting some kind of calculated truth.

    • 427@95Kg/PAX (ICAO standard) = 40.5 tonnes. That means the empty weight of the 777-300ER is 160 – 40.5 = 119.5 tonnes. As it been on a diet?

      • Sorry, got that wrong. It’s not PAX weight it is cabin weight @ 60-70Kg/PAX. Still means it’s been on a diet. I thnink the OEW is 168 tonnes

      • Nope, they just bumped up the pax capacity on the 77W’s with the very comfortable 16.2 inch 3-4-3 in economy.

        The 77X is planned as 3-4-3 with the wider cabin. But welcome to the Boeing airline world, they will most likely go 3-5-3. Promise you a Ryanair 737-800 is likely more comfortable than that.

        But the airlines are not their for the pax (FLX words), they their to make money.

        • 777W 3-4-3 is not 16.2 inch. 17.3 or close to. 16.2 is what you get in a 3-3-3 A-330.

          • Seat widths can be a story, depends how you measure, between armrests probably the correct one.

            With same row seat count it can also vary depending on aisle width, 320/1’s good example width seat widths ranging between 17-18″, also where you are in the aircraft, 330’s good example tapering in the back. Build in tray tables also makes seat also losing width, etc.

            Below link to AA’s 77W’s that gives good indication of ranges. EK’s seat with on 77W’s (3-4-3) quoted as 17″.


          • @Dan F:
            Don’t worry about Anton. He enjoys using unreliable data to make his points. He’s probably using seat width data fm famously unreliable sites such as or

            My approach to calculate Y seat width for a type is relatively simple and based only on cabin specs stated in manufacturer manuals/docs(e.g. ACAPS of Boeing) used by aviation regulators/authority:
            A) Get the maximum cabin diameter fm source doc.
            B) Get the minimum certified aisle width fm source doc.
            C) A) minus B) x aisle quantity and then divided by the total number of seats across.
            D) A) is always available but when B) is not available, simply divide A) by the total number of seats+aisles across can still provide a good estimate.

            The above remove variations in arm rest width or smaller than possible seat width(e.g. same specs for use across diff types/cabin widths to save $) chosen by individual operators.

            3 examples:
            787 in 9 abreast Y
            A) = 216in
            B) = 18in
            C) = 20in max possible seat width before accounting for armrest width. I tend to use 2.5in armrest per seat(total for both sides) as a guide because it’s almost identical to the width of a typical smartphone.

            350 in 9 abreast Y
            A) = 221in
            B) I don’t hv this figure but let’s assume same as 787 @ 18in.
            C) = 20.56in max possible seat width before accounting for armrest width.
            *This is how I busted the Airbus myth of 350 has 1 inch wider Y seat width than 787…..possible only if all 350s purposely use 0.44in narrower armrest than 787.

            777 Classic in 10abreast Y
            A) = 230in
            B) I don’t hv this figure but let’s assume same as 787 @ 18in again.
            C) = 19.4in max possible seat width before accounting for armrest width.
            *If Y seat width is 16.2in as Anton claimed, armrest width has to be 3.2in per seat….far wider than a typical smartphone.

            “16.2 is what you get in a 3-3-3 A-330.”
            Using my method and assuming 2.5in armrest, I’ve got the same 16.2in(well, 16.17in to be precise) effective seat width on a 330 same as yrs.

          • @Anton:
            “Best lets get the info from Zodiac or someone like that?”
            Feel feel to try to dispute my seat width calculation method using yr difficult way. Zodiac, B/E and others manufacture a range of seat widths for any given Y seat design for customers to choose…even for application in the same cabin diameter.

            However after accounting for minimum cert aisle width, even Zodiac cannot exceed the maximum possible seat width I hv calculated. They can go narrower due to specific customer requirement but not wider. It’s just simple math and “info from Zodiac” cannot change that equation.

          • Hope you take ambient temperature and the earths curvature into consideration with your calculations?

          • @Anton:
            “ widths in economy from Seatguru, looks fairly reliable to me?”
            Just 2 random examples(there’re so many) to illustrate the problem of the seat width specs on that website:
            789 in 9 abreast Y:
            Scoot=Minimum 18.9in
            AA=Maximum 17.2in

            350 in 9abreast Y:
            Everyone else=18in

            U honestly still believe seatguru is producing reliable seat width data when a Y seat on a Scoot 787 is @ least 1.9inch WIDER than on a LH 350? Come on, even for someone like me who never wear an Airbus cap(nor Boeing cap) refuse to believe such data.

            I hv been using seatguru for over 10yrs but never about seat width specs.

          • Will send them an e-mail know and threaten them with legal action.

          • @Anton:
            “Hope you take ambient temperature and the earths curvature into consideration with your calculations?’
            I didn’t know Airbus and Boeing cabin diameters are designed for & certified under diff ambient temps and earth curvatures….

            Go ahead, make fun of my comment when U cannot make claim to counter it.

          • There are international standards stating temperature, elevation and WGS84 sectors where measurements are made, an ISO standard.

          • @Anton:
            “There are international standards stating temperature, elevation and WGS84 sectors where measurements are made…..”
            But still, how can the result be diff when measurements of 2 diff cabin diameters are done in the same environmental conditions as U described?

            What’s yr point anyway? Are U talking about microscopic changes in material size due to change in ambient conditions? If yes, there’s no point to discuss with U further because U are effectively saying such changes can impact yr elbow room during inflight meals in a Y seat…..

            “Will send them an e-mail know and threaten them with legal action.”
            Send an email to Tim Clark and threaten him with legal action if he doesn’t order 380 and cancel 78J deal(and swap to 359) may be more effective and closer to your core objective…..

          • Different materials behave differently at different conditions (physics 101).

            By the way this is not making any positive contributions and just filling inboxes. So have a great day.

        • @Anton:
          “But the airlines are not their for the pax (FLX words)…”
          Yes, my words and feel free to quote me. Almost all airlines are real profit-seeking businesses these days(possibly except Air Koryo) that are there for investors to risk their enormous capital and enjoy 1 of the lowest RoI among all industry sectors(Pls feel free to challenge me on this fact).

          “…they their to make money.”
          What else should they be doing? Air transport service for the community subsidized by someone else(e.g. local or dare I say….UAE gov’t)?

          The good old days of free or cheap but beefy lunch is long gone and there’s a price for each kg(or whatever appropriate unit) of lunch….good news is consumers can choose to buy exactly how many kg these days instead of always must buy in family pack/bulk like in the past….

          • Seems we getting somewhere. On the food side, I seldom eat much on flights, even on 12+ hour flights. But its almost an airline ritual 20-30 min after take-off and 2 hours before landing.

            Rather have trolley going around for the duration of the flight where you can grab a sand which or bowl of fruit salad? Not want to upset you on my seat width whining but it could reduce elbow wrestling during meals.

            On something less social, why not an open basin area where you can brush you’re teeth etc, things can turn pretty ugly in those bathrooms in the morning.

          • @Anton:
            ” Not want to upset you on my seat width whining but it could reduce elbow wrestling during meals.”
            And as demonstrated by my simple seat width measurement method, 330 in 8abreast(Don’t forget max cabin width for this type is near the floor, not @ armrest height), 787/350 in 9abreast and 777/77X in 10abreast are all within 1 inch diff fm each other as U move up in fuselage diameter. 1 inch diff is not gonna help your elbow room during meals…..only PY @ 22in max possible width or more can. By 2020s, 90%~95% of all widebodies in service will hv 1 of these 5 cabin diameters.

            380 in 10abreast is the only 1 stood out with 22in max possible seat width(but this time @ near eye level due to its unusual cross section shape) before armrest width.

  29. As said a day or two ago, potential orders from FlyDubia’s could be a possible carrot being dangled in the 380 saga?

    EK could roll over some older 380’s to them making it the first LCC operating 380’s, impressive.

  30. One aspect missing here, when it says DUBAI is demanding.

    So much for Emirates being an independent operation!

    • @Anton:
      “Not sure if AB will attend tonight’s EK gala evening?”
      U are not sure probably because once again, U forgot Airbus still hv 380 x40+ to deliver to EK under existing contract. On the other hand, RR definitely will be there basically to sell @ least T1000TEN x80…

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