A380 termination good for Airbus, tough on suppliers, analyst says

Airbus A380’s future in doubt. Photo: Airbus.

Feb. 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Terminating the A380 program may be a blessing in disguise for Airbus, writes a US aerospace analyst.

At the same time, it could cause headaches for the supply chain.

Carter Copeland of Melius Research LLC makes a split decision on the future of the A380. There is speculation that retiring Airbus CEO Tom Enders might decide to end the program before he leaves office in April, clearing the decks for his successor, Guillaume Faury.

Blessing in disguise

“The recent A380 news is…a blessing in disguise,” Copeland writes. “An Emirates A380 cancellation and likely shutdown of the A380 in the coming years should have a limited EBIT/cash flow impact, as many observers have already concluded. However, we think the indirect impacts on internal resources (sales, cost reduction, cross-subsidization) are still underestimated, as few appreciate the resources it takes to keep a dying aircraft program on life support. Furthermore, we strongly believe that an end to A380 production end would further rationalize the product portfolio in a way that is accretive to our margin-focused thesis longer-term.”

Or not

On the other hand, Copeland sees a negative impact for the supply chain.

“A380 production cessation is not a positive for everyone,” he writes. “It’s been awhile since we killed a major program outright, and usually the Street (and often industry) underestimates the impact on inventory de-stocking. Watch out for long-lead suppliers (ARNC) and distributors of longer-lead parts (WAIR), as this is where the surprises from violent inventory corrections have historically shown up.”

ARNC is the stock symbol for Arconic, a prime supplier of aluminum. WAIR is the symbol for Wesco Aircraft Holdings, a supply chain management company.

51 Comments on “A380 termination good for Airbus, tough on suppliers, analyst says

  1. Lehay might be right in that the A380 got too old engine technology. The 747-400 sold alot on its range. When the 777-300ER came out it changed alot both for Boing and Airbus. Big engine MRO cost climbed steadily decade after decade bringing a drag on 4 engine aircraft economics. The 777-300ER was so good for its time Airbus had to redo the A350-1000. Very few A380’s have a +615 seat count to really make good money when filling it, some operators are redoing its cabin and increase seat count as they refresh it but not really reaching 600seats until the next warm over in 7-10 years time or buying new A380neos with the latest cabins at that time. More and more airports can host the A380 effectively and it might make it so popular that people choose flying it over 787/777/A350’s (with hard Recaro slimline seats) on the same route.

    • The A380-800 is just a bad aeroplane. The wing is too mismatched to the fuselage for it to be economically competitive with the B777-300ER.

      If Airbus had released the -900 first, or had sized the wing /empennage for the -800, then the seat-mile costs of the A380 would still have been a step beyond the 777 thus ensuring airlines had a big enough carrot to take on the risk of low load factors.

      As it is, benefits of a full A380 are marginal compared to alternatives and accompanying risk far too high.

      • The A380 engines are its biggest drawback compared with the 777-300ER. In hindsight Airbus should have made it smaller, all carbon and optimized for 500pax with SYD-LHR range and a new generation Engines that would stay on wing for 40 000hrs.
        Now Airbus has to wait for the market wanting the A380neo-900 and that is approx 10-15 years from now. It might be that Emirates needs to quickly reconfig A380’s to 4-class 615 pax out of DBX and do another step in capacity 10 years from now to stay at DBX.

  2. “The 777-300ER was so good for its time Airbus had to redo the A350-1000. ”

    I don’t think that was the true motivator as Airbus
    reduced the advantage vs the 77W from 24 to 22% or thereabouts with that change. ( and B instantly gained 2 years of 77W production from the announced delay.)

    You have to look elsewhere for the reason afaics.

    • The 777 became the biggest selling widebody mainly thanks to 777-300ER’s payload/range, flexibility and durability. So the A350-1000 needed to cover all the corners of the 777-300ER envelope and do it after its redesign (we do not know its RR engines durability yet vs the GE90-115B).

  3. I always thought and still do that some airline on a shorter heavily travelled route will put 700 seats in an A380 and run it with discounted seats, kind of like how 747s were used in Japan between major cities. What an interesting paint job on the A380 in this report.

    • It’s the ANA A380 with turtle paint job.
      I believe they will use it on Tokyo – Honolulu.

  4. Its not the airports hosting it, its the Airlines not buying it.

    The comment have alwyas been, its great as long as you can fill it.

    Adding more seats makes filling it that much harder. No help if you can’t fill those same seats.

    MA spun theirs off (and that is going to fail, they could not sell them) Qantas not takign theirs, AF giving some back as they go off lease.

    I did love this part:

    “would further rationalize the product portfolio in a way that is accretive to our margin-focused thesis longer-term.”

    Phew, talk about mumbo jumbo cross treking spin speach.

    • Malaysian had some crashes that impacted its brand , and there traffic forecast back in early 2000’s when ordered the 380 didnt account for the Middle East 3 taking their passengers on routes from Europe to Asia- sometimes on 380s.
      Qantas indicated more than 5 years ago its wasnt going to be taking up its final orders – the formal cancellation tells me that its not chosen the A350-900 or derivative for its ultra long haul but has gone to Boeing instead.

      • I would not assume anything from Qantas official cancellation. They have A320s they can trade that one.

        Regardless, it no longer works for Qantas in higher numbers than what they have and it was not working for MA all the brand issues and competition aside.

        The MA 6 are highly desirable (if any are) as they are latter builds.

        So Qantas and MA made mistakes on what they could do and fill.

        AF as well. Though in their case they are subtracting.

        No single item is a smoking gun , the Dr. Peters were early build though BA would seem to have interest due to the engines.

        But we also have Emirate who as part of the discussion said they could not get concurrence with RR on the engines. They already has issues.

        TK had said the RRs would be 5% better than the GP (which was 2% better) . That was a 7% jump which is impossible with a CEO and a PIP. Even given it was 5% that is impossible (lucky to get 1%)

        GP had to be looking at each other and thinking, really? Ours is better and you are giving up solid for unproven and already problems?

        In other words Emirate wanted an NEO off the CEO and that is not going to happen.

        What happens when AFs come off lease will be definitive though I think we are there.

  5. With the ramp up of the 737 and A320, A220 and the Chinese and Russian builds (low level) as well as Embraer, the large product (aluminum) is going to be taken up.

    Its not like they are selling hundreds and the rest of the components are going to have a major impact.

    To consider is that it may save those source companies resources themselves that are going into one off product for the A380 that they can put into the current builds. Free up space that otherwise would have to expand.

  6. Every 787/777/350/330 sold is chipping away at A380 market. I don’t know how AB didn’t analyze the other market before making this 380. First of all the airports that AB were saying are at capacity- didn’t AB think those airports would up gage narrow body airplanes first to open up slots. Two 737/320 can be replaced by one smaller wide body. Secondary airports taking up traffic and more direct flight. Before 380 was designed most airlines were replacing 747 with 777. Didn’t airbus see this when they were doing market research. 380 sold in numbers it did because of M3 mainly Emirates. M3 thrived on hub to hub now they too will faint away like the 380. GE is busy ramping Leap and PW with GTF. There is no interest or big money for them to get GP going. RR has engine that Emirates doesn’t want. All resources tied up on 380 will be used else where. Would have loved to see GTF on 380 but I think that is not happening.

    • @Tom: As we’ve written in the past, when the A380 was launched in 2000, only the 777-200ER, mid-range A330, 767-300ER existed.

      The 777-300ER, long-range A330, A350 and 787 all came later.

      • Agree but didn’t AB see longer range derivative coming. It was only natural for 777 to go long just like 747, 737 and pretty much all models to evolve in to higher capacity or longer range product.

        • “Agree but didn’t AB see longer range derivative coming.”

          As well by 2000 the Twin Etops limit was 180 min + 15% reserve. Now its around 370 min for a small number of flights/aircraft.
          It would seem GE didnt make its plans for its ‘new’ version of the GE90 , exclusive for the 777-300ER as the testing before EIS had Boeing doing 330 mins.

      • Tom: When you drive your decisions based on feeling inferior because you don’t have the biggest airplane in the sky (passenger) then you make a bad decision.

        Boeing did that with the 747-8 (it did not cost as much as the A380 though – not sure if they will get money back or break even?)

        People believe the blarney by businesses that its all about the financials.

        Each CEO wants to make a name for themselves so they cook the books to suit whatever it takes. Human nature. Boards are supposed to stop that but those are corrupted as well.

        As long as a CEO can escapee with the big bucks they don’t care (unless its the founder)

        Tends to be more prevalent in high profile industry.

        • The thinking at that time was that Boeing made so much Money on the 747-400 that it drove the discounts given on the 737/757/767. So Airbus wanted to stop that by making a sucessor to the 747 and take over its routes between the major hubs and drive down the 747 prices. Instead the long range twins with ETOPS took over as Boeing analytics predicted.

        • Isn’t touting something the worlds biggest whatnot a decidedly American cultural feature? ( even if that “world” is nothing more than the locally biggest.
          Same for the misuse of “international” 🙂

          Another cultural feature is getting real irate when others have something bigger and/or better.
          Quite often Sabotage is then used to “fix” that.

          I do wonder how much money Boeing aligned interests have dumped into badmouthing the A380 and Airbus in general.

      • Scott, the B777-300 was also availaible, with 11.000km of range.
        The B777 programm did really take off as they put the B777-200LR wing on the B777-300 and extended the MTOW to gain almost 14.000km range with the B777-300 ER. The B77W was flying first in Feb. 03, delivered in Q1 04 and has been discussed when Airbus was starting the construction of the A380 in 2001.
        If you take a look at the A340 next gen (500, 600) Airbus was making pretty bad decisions at that time market wise.

        And then they got steamrolled by the B787 which was launched Dez. 2003, so just shortly after the A380.
        If Airbus would have waited just a few more years, the A380 propably would have had the newer engine tech and more composite.

  7. Should there be a wish to cease production, think it will need the agreement of four governments who are busy at the moment and who may also want to offer ways around the engine impasse.

    • I think Airbus has its house in control they can do that.

      Of course all that so called Launch aid will not get paid back.

      That is the document we need to see, how many did Airbus say they would build before they started paying back?

      Curiosity, no one will care, old history and the aviation world has gotten much worse since.

      • „Launch Aid“ is still being payed back by Airbus for A330 and A320 because it wasn’t just a cheap credit. In my opinion it’s more like a bet that paid of very well for several European countries which still receive royalties.

  8. In every other aircraft model we see the size being pushed up on each new variant. The world passenger traffic is growing by about 6% per year, with even the total meltdown in 2008 being very short lived.

    Wikipedia reports that in 2015, 44 million seats were offered on the transatlantic routes, and from Heathrow alone 231,532 weekly seats.

    How can an aircraft with a mere 500 to 600 seats be too big to fill, especially when the 777-9 will carry 414 passengers – so is that going to be too big as well ?

    Of course one critical number is CASM, but that needs to be compared like for like. It seems that most A380 have not been fitted for optimum seat count.
    They still give more space and comfort than competing aircraft. Count me as one of the people who would gladly wait for an extra hour if I could board an A380 compared to anything else, particularly for any flight over 6 hours.

    • The problem is that only few city pairs can support 500-600 pax a flight capacity daily and to top it off some only need for peek time. Also more pax on 380 the less space for their luggage. You might fit 600 pax but where are you going to put all their checked bags. With 599 other pax you might have to rethink of flying in 380. At that capacity it will take longer to board, disembark, bigger line to get your luggage, customs/security etc. 380 doesn’t work for most market. Airlines rather have large twin full to max with some pax left behind then flying 380 with 1/3 empty seats. Fact that first couple 380 is getting parted out and Malaysia is unable to sell also scares any possible buyer and leaseing companies to invest in airplane that has very little market.

      • It also a matter of timing.

        You have to get 600 people to want to leave at 8. If they want to leave at 9, then a 767 will do fine.

        It also lacks flexibility. If your 767 flight to Madrid is AOA, you can’t sub in an A380.

        You should seek AK Airlines. Sometimes as many as 4 flight leave ANC to SEA within 30 minutes (single aisle)

        It would seem that AK would get a 767. What happens to those 4 flights when they hit Seattle?

        One goes to Phoenix, one to LA, another to Washington, another one to Salt Lake.

        Its a non intuitive business. Have to be gobs of people in rubber rooms trying to figure it out.

        • the traveling salesman problem is classed as NP-Hard – i.e. it can’t be solved in polynomial time. that basically means that for any large network it is infeasible to calculate an optimum resource allocation.

          given that, ensuring redundancy of resources and maximum commonality (the Southwest model) is the easiest to get near optimum results WRT delivering the promised service on the promised schedule.

          Southwest stuck to a pure 737-700 sized fleet for a long time to maintain this advantage (at the cost of lower CASM). introducing the 800s complicated their network management calculations greatly.

  9. I guess terminating is good news for the 77X, you will have to replace A380’s with something at some stage.

    Could this trigger/accelerate BA to develop the 77X-10 and AB an A350-1000 plus?

    In 10-20 years from now airlines might need aircraft with 500-600 seats, but the market will remain small (less than 500 units). So the next frontier will be improvements at airports and controlling of air traffic.

    We could potentially also see that the 250-300 seat market shifting to 300-350 seats due airport and and air space limitations which will be good for the A350 family.

    Was wondering what percentage of airspace (U)LCC’s use in Europe? Again this pressure might increase the requirement for larger single aisle aircraft and aircraft such as the NMA/797.

    • Yes, it is a chance that one of the new 797 versions will be the natural step up in capacity from the 737-8/-10 and A321neo unless Airbus offers a competetive alternative.
      Most 737 operators would like its crews to fly both the 737-8 and 797-6. It might be done with a 737-8 button on the 797 display computers to make its fly by wire and systems look, feel and smell like a 737 during rush hour flying when gates are full and A321’s are too small.
      Then off peak hours fill the gates with normal 737’s while the 797 do trans Continental/Atlantic flying.

      • Most 737 operators would like its crews to fly both the 737-8 and 797-6. It might be done with a 737-8 button on the 797 display computers to make its fly by wire and systems look, feel and smell like a 737 …

        I think what you are describing may happen with the successor to the 737 MAX, let’s call it the 808. The 797(NMA)/808(NSA) could share a common type rating, should Boeing decide it’s worth the effort. As for the 737, it’s Boeing’s clunky great grandfather that strains to perform missions that were meant for 757s and previously 727s. Let’s give 737 guppies a nice and sunny retirement in the U.S. Southwest they deserve.

        • You might be right, but a new narrowbody will take time as it would require a new Engine 10-15% better than the LEAP or PW1100G.
          Both PWA and CFMI produce their new narrowbody engines at a loss right now I think and probably will start to make a small profit by Paris Air show on shipped engines, so they like to produce them at good profits for 5-10 years and pay to fix issues on the fleet out there before collecting Money enough to design a new core Engine unless “given” one from the latest military core engines. Especially if they both need to invest $5-12bn on a new 797 Engine family starting this year.

          • hbi72:

            I gather you are not impressed with the endless update of the 737? Sadly its still competitive. Clearly its extremely difficult to get advances in structures that make much difference.

          • @TW – it isn’t that the advances in structures & aero aren’t there to be had, it is that implementing them and delivering an aircraft that takes full advantage of them within the current ICAO gate standards is cost prohibitive compared to the very cheap to build current gen.

            it is only when you get up to the already very expensive large twin aisles that you have the cost margins to push the envelope

          • The 737 that gets new wings and Engines at regular intervals and manages to stay competetive is a sign that wings and Engines makes a major impact on performance and it is hard to get similar improvements from the rest. Starting with a narrow and light weight fuselage and it gets even harder to beat. It would be interesting to see the MC-21 vs 737-8 comparison as the MC-21 gets a wider but latest technology fuselage if it really can outperform the 737-8 with its older alu fuselage and systems (I think it will be really hard even with its bigger fan Engines )

    • Anton: It may not be good news for the 777x.

      Just because you are last man standing at the shootout, does not mean the sniper won’t get you next.

      What we are seeing is an era of uncertainty. We know the 787/A330 size is a solid market (outstanding)

      A350-900 area looks to be good and maybe really good.

      But the A350-1000 and derivatives as well as the 777x may be too big as well.

      A very small area drove the peaks for the 777-200/300 though its a good world wide aircraft.

      777x as well as A380 is very uncomfortably over committed to the ME3.

      Its going to be interesting. By definition the 747-8 pax should have a future as well and that is not happening except for some discrete airlines it fits in for.

    • @Anton:
      “I guess terminating is good news for the 77X.”
      Kind of good news for now. However over the longer term(e.g. 10yrs & beyond), I foresee 779 will eventually see a similar fate as today’s 380 in terms of sales trend.

      “…you will have to replace A380’s with something at some stage”
      Which is exactly a key justification/motivation behind SQ’s order for 779. They’re clearly uncertain about the future of the 380 program and therefore hedging their bet on 779…..for SQ, I don’t think the 779 order is about up-gauging from 77W.

      Historically, SQ is famous for truly long-term fleet planning(i.e. looking way ahead into its future fleet).

      “Could this trigger/accelerate BA to develop the 77X-10 and AB an A350-1000 plus?”
      On the contrary, I don’t think 777-10 nor 350-1000+ will ever be launched. Fundamentally, these 2 concepts are about getting as close to 380/748i seat capacity level as possible with 2 engines. Meanwhile @ the top end of the widebody mkt, customers hv been increasingly moving towards the opposite direction for well over a decade….getting away from 380/748i to smaller gauge….all these despite growth in the overall global longhaul traffic volume over the same period.

      “In 10-20 years from now airlines might need aircraft with 500-600 seats”
      I’m predicting the opposite: In 10-20 yrs from now, the bulk of the longhaul mkt will further fragment and seek a new gen type to launch that can carry no more than 200-250seats(in modern J+PY+Y 3 class layout) but has similar range(i.e. minimum 15hrs sector duration)+fuel burn per seat as today’s 789/359…..imagine a 797 on steroid. Such tech does not exist for such small gauge(i.e. 788, 338 size) today and that will be the true new frontier in terms of civil aerospace.

      “We could potentially also see that the 250-300 seat market shifting to 300-350 seats due airport and and air space limitations which will be good for the A350 family”
      If airport and air space limitations really become issues in the future as U claim(I’m personally uncertain about this in the context of longhaul mkt thx mainly to longhaul mkt fragmentation i.e. more longhaul city pairs than we see today…..airspace congestion will likely impact shorthaul mkt but not the far less frequent longhaul usage), then equal potential to see today’s 300-350 seat market(primarily in the form of 77W) shifting to 350-400 seats mkt which will supposed to be also good for the 77X family.

      • Thanks for the comments FLX. If you just look at the number of A320’s/737’s on order it will add large numbers of additional aircraft to the sky and airports. The larger aircraft (787/330 and larger) has a lesser impact except the number of passengers to be handled, that includes transport to and from airports.

        Just got a feeling the bubble must burst at same stage on the increase in air travel from a logistics point of view?

  10. I agree with the analyst in their of simplification of the AB product line, and boxing the a380 – it’s a drag [resources and endless negative media on it’s doom].
    a220-100/300 [and 500 – to replace/part-replace the a318/319/320]
    a320/321 [and 322/XLR etc. – moving larger and potentially rewinging]
    a330 – let the market decide – great aircraft – fingers crossed.
    a350-900/100o [ULRs and 2000 if needed/wanted – seems to have plenty of optimization/growth potential]

    Use the a380 hangars and staff to ramp-up and expand, and/or if brexit is a disaster – maybe a new wing plant???

    • Maybe we live in times where the VLA’s will get smaller and single aisles bigger. The market is shifting form 747’s to 779’s, the 75-100 seat single aisles is moving up to 100-150 seats (A220’s)

      My “pet-aircraft” is an A320+(325) but an A321+ (322) optimized for shorter haul, 15-25 more pax, range 2000-2500Nm, 2 access doors in front of the wing, relatively low MTOW (airport fees, etc.) that could also operate from shorter strips/(smaller airports) is maybe where the market will be for such an aircraft. The 321XLR will be good for what could be a relatively limited market.

      Routes such a Transatlantic could see the use of larger aircraft (789/330’s, etc vs current 757/767’s). The NMA may find its place/market actually place in the “B797-7” with 260-280 seats and range of 3000-3500Nm for the use on “domestic” and Intra-continental routes. An ~230 seat “797-6” could become a niche aircraft with range of 4500-5000Nm?

      • AB’s airframes seem to have the legs to be paper-derated, lengthed, strengthened; they tend to be wider inside, have good cargo space, seem to be higher from the ground for neo’ing – so AB have the flexibility to do more with what they have.

        I’m very keen to see the a320/31/322 [in whatever guise/nomenclature] get new wings so fuel can be carried, it can cruise more efficiently, and they can fly 1-8+hrs comfortably… and in turn see what can be done to expand the a22o into a 3-pronged family that can fly 1-7hrs. Airline want 100% full aircraft – I’d prefer to not have enough seats that have too many – airlines like airframers are cyclical.

        The a350 seems to be a stellar frame that still has legs, and has already been improved in just a few years without anything major being done.

        787 is a beauty… but appears quiet low to the ground, and has a disadvantage of the 9-abreast [choice] being used as the std. economy.

        That said… a380 is ‘ruining the story’ at AB and will never a ‘huge success’ financially – so – box it – move on – use those huge hangars to expand a tighter and more desired line… and reduce financial overheads [ad risk]… and endless ‘death of…’ stories.

        BUT… send out a clear cattle call to airlines… We’re having a closing down sale… you want a few??… last orders at the bar… ding ding [and sell them off at cost for posterity and to help their vendors].

        • Many disagree with this view but I do agree with that. Say 5 more years of production (50 aircraft?) and put it out on tender/auction if EK doesn’t want to take it up?

          If an airline can pick-up an A380 at 75% percent of an 779 why not, the engine supplier/s that want to participate will have to collaborate because those 4 engines are a major cost.

          That will soften the blow to the supply chain and smoothing out the exit process.

          • Oh I think they should insist they are going to produce ‘whatever’ number of aircraft airlines order [or have on order – or actually want] as quickly as possible – that is – as a rate that suits AB and it’s suppliers – and when they’re built – AB is done and will repurpose the hangars, tooling, and staff. Allow airlines to swap to others if they want.

            In essence – get it all out of the way and move on asap.

  11. The B747 is 4 different aircraft sharing the same name.
    It has had snob value, range and flag waving to help BA move the metal.

    Only with the benefit of hindsight can it be seen that it was a bit of an ego trip for all concerned. It sold in a much less mature and simpler time than the A380 currently faces.

    Consequently the A380 has a future but AB need to work as hard as BA have over the life of the B747.

    Engines must have a 10% efficiency improvement in them. The mythical stretch needs to become reality. Then there is the diet that needs to be worked hard.

    The original A380 was a Big Aero land grab.

    BA is now giving it a field to play in — B777 NG Crush-a-pleb up the back will turn flag carriers into low rent Ryanair clones.

    The pips will squeak and the elastic will snap.
    However the A380 scares BA fartless — the never ending campaign to do it down is evidence of that.

    • FBC: Well that certainly is one of your better ones, I would vote for the top 1.

      I have to agree Boeing hit the sweet spot with the 747, luck of hate draw, visions, amazing engineering and management all on the top of the learning curve of B-52/ B-47 and 707 (which in tern were leapfrogged off the B-17 and B-29)

      However, I have to bust a bubble. Rhetoric does not replace reality (though I know it seems like it at times)

      Its a well know way to loose money, buy a boat or build an aircraft.

      Its not a matter of effort, its a matter of pouring money into the black hole and watch it disappear.

      Even UK/France/German/Spain are not going to put money into that effort.

      The reality is that its already too big not too small. Emirates can have their fancy suites, cattle class pays the bills. Not enough cattle wanting to go from A to B at the same time the A380 does.

    • You are right.

      My question is if the 4 engine passenger aircraft will be buried with the 747 and 380? There are several (niche) routes where an 4-engine aircraft can take “short-cut” and reduce traveling times and route costs.

      Also, can’t see a single deck aircraft being stretch much more than a hypothetical 77X-10, and how much bigger/heavier can the jet engine goes than the Ge9X?

      Heaven forbids that it never ever happens but if a large twin goes down due to engine related issues on an 300+ minute ETOPS route will it change things?

      • In my opinion future aircraft will have far more than just 4 fans. Maybe far more than 100. Im not so sure about the amount of generators. At least 2 I would guess but maybe 4 or 6 smaller ones are more efficient to shoot down 4 out of 6 during cruise.

    • It’s all about the mythical subsidies that the other side of the pond keep talking about. The A380 is proof that they don’t exist. The A380 cost $15billion. That’s been paid for by profits on the A320/A330. Airbus won’t get it back. Airbus have also spent $15 billion on the A350. They will get it back and make lots and lots of profit.

      Airbus know they can stretch the A350 again. The wing is good for it.

      As I said before, Airbus have spent $30billion on composites. Time to cash in. They will mature the A350 using Qantas Project Sunrise as the motive. Then NEO it together with a stretch using an engine base lined at 90,000lb. Then the big money. They will spend $15billion on a new A321.

      It’s a pity about the A380. It was simply 30 years too early. I was in favour of keeping it going. So yes a NEO, but a NEO needed to be on the back of a much bigger programme. So with regard to RR Ultrafan/Advance, Ultrafan/Advanve on a much bigger programme would make an A380 NEO possible

      • I agree.

        Just for Qantas, the B777-8 seems to be such a great fit.

        The A380 will be done. There won’t be a neo, how?
        And why?

        You cant stop the production and just restart. You don’t have customers now, where should the demand come from?
        The idea the A380 is 10 years to early, I have heard this 1000 times. They said it in 2005. in 2007. In 2010.
        So where are the orders in 2015, 2017, this year?

        The A380 was not to early, it was simply a bad decision to built a to big to uneffficent, to heavy and to expensive airplane.

        Airbus did make some pretty bad decisions this time, remember the next gen of the A340, the A380 and the first concept of the A350?
        There has been a methodical issue in building airplanes the market didn’t want.

        Boeing did – the B787 and the B77W. They just failed with the B748.

        • The 777-8 is a great fit for Qantas? The numbers suggest that Airbus can do it for far less. But we will see?

    • Yes, @Transworld, I’ve noticed the same thing – seems like the volume of replies/readers’ comments often is not quite as robust as it used to be!

      Obviously, since the quality of the analysis has always been exceptional that can’t account for the fewer replies/reader comments.

      Perhaps this is due to there being just so much time available to keep up with so many outlets offering news (alas, many not nearly as reliable and sophisticated in their analysis as LNA is), along with social media – especially Twitter where (for better or for worse) a great many, myself included, now must include as part of their sources of news (even if it’s not always reliable), as well as being where ideas are exchanged more quickly and in “real time”.

      That, plus the need to either Tweet practically relentlessly 24/7/365 to retain/build followers for page views, impressions and interactions if one is an author/blogger – or if one simply seeks to participate in a forum/“conversation” with others whom share an interest in airlines/aviation/aerospace/travel in more of a broader universe allowing for “one-stop shopping” versus a more specialized, or niche, format/forum (as LNA, or other individual forums like this would be).

      So, whether it is due to there’s just so much time available to root around for information and waaaayyy too many individual channels to choose from (or I guess an ocean of information to choose between that itself can be overwhelming) and/or the ease and convenience of having more/all of ones’ interests “filtered” into an easier to use and also (a seemingly) more “efficient” (even if it really isn’t after allowing for the many distractions and time spent scrolling up/down looking for the content one needs) medium to view everything one is looking for, my guess is that the diminishing volume of readers’ comments is likely attributable to people shifting their allocation of screen time to social media (and especially Twitter as I know I have after finally accepting the reality that even if there’s only so many adorable puppies or kittens one can ever hope to see 😉 and the quality of the information requires much more intensive screening and filtering for accuracy, reliability and usefulness ⚠️), the fact remains that social media is here to stay and more often than not, that’s where the action is – and that’s where the eyeballs are.

      Don’t get me wrong; I’m NOT saying this is necessarily “better”.

      But, it is what it is – like it or not.

      That, plus it’s mostly free (in terms of upfront cash expense, that is, since time is money and let’s face it, between the volume/flow of information that one must view in order to build their own pile of followers that’s not exactly applicable to their own work and in my case to keep up with breaking news and information that is part of the research I do, while one may not be paying in cash for information gleaned via social media feeds, there is a question of how much time is spent, or even wasted, which is a “cost” itself [just not viewed as it might be when reviewing ones bank statements] viewing other content be it content one wants to view or not…)

      Lastly, and I could be dead wrong (so apologies in advance if this is so), but apart from the awesome Friday “classes” covering in greater detail things like drag and other “science-y” aspects that makes for the miracle of flying for humanity – and make no mistake this is one of humankind’s greatest achievements – but to me, at least, there have been periods where it has seemed like most of the links arriving in my email box have been abstracts/ teasers for content behind the paywall, so that, too, and again this is for me, sometimes that has resulted in LNA’s emails being shifted to the “B” list of emails to read instead of being among the first reads of the day (since they typically arrive overnight around 3am NYC time) as they used to be.

      Of course, there’s only so much “free content” freeloaders (like me) should “expect” since Scott and the experts that have been added in recent years offer some of the BEST commentary and analysis – BAR NONE – on the airline industry and aerospace OEMs that I know of, and were I only so fortunate to be able to afford a fully paid subscription at this point in time for LNA, I would love to be able to do that since back in the day when I was regularly writing for PlaneBussiness Banter and also providing specialized research to several airlines and others with facilities at JFK and LaGuardia Airports in NYC, I viewed Scott’s original publication, Conmercial Aviation Report, as not just one of many sources of information on the industry I covered regularly – but as absolutely indispensable (not to mention easily among my favorite reads that I would devour (glossy) cover to (glossy) cover whenever it would show up in my mailbox (with the letter carrier knowing that any delivery delays or torn apart copies would NOT be a good thing come Christmas 😉 hehehe)

      Alas, as at this time my own commentaries, analyses, or of course, “rants” (as sometimes they may in fact be!) seen here, several other industry focused spaces, on my LinkedIn page (which is not nearly as content filled as it should – and will be in the coming months – or of course my Twitter page which is content rich, but NOT for the faint of heart (or those with closed minds whom think our country’s “Greatest Days” are when it spent more time and effort seeking to exclude everyone except its wealthiest landowners limited to a specific “preferred” class defined by race, religion, gender, property ownership, ethnicity [etc.] and promoting hate than when truly embracing our unique history of offering the opportunity of a better life for anyone who’s willing to work hard regardless of whom they are – but alas, I digress 😉).

      In any event, Scott certainly is NOT obligated to offer “free content” as freely as it seems like he used to to freeloaders (again, like me – but in my case that’s due to limited resources available as were that NOT a consideration I’d leap at any opportunity to peek behind the paywall at content I KNOW from past experience is second to none), so perhaps he spoiled us freeloaders for too long anyway and now that partly explains the atrophy in readers’ comments I’ve noticed, too.

      So, that’s my “best guess” anyway.

      Maybe I’m wrong – but for sure I do know from personal experience and even reflection long before @Transworld noted above that I haven’t spent nearly as much time reading and commenting in this space as I used to.

      And that’s a shame – because I LOVE the spirited/passionate debates that very often took place here that stretched on for weeks, months and several page loads among many of the industries’ covered best and brightest (that alas, is not necessarily seen as consistently in social media…)

      And I miss that, too, as I know I learned an awful lot from others be it when they disagreed with things Scott wrote, or any of us reader guests (squatters, too, as we freeloaders are – hehehe) that Scott opened the doors to his “house” and invited so many of us FREE of charge, to join him, and equally important, participate in, a discussion forum where one was free to express their opinions free from character or length limitations, and for me, at least, so much was, and still is, learned…


  12. In my opinion that’s rather good news.

    It’s time to move on, and at the rate of 8 or 6 Airbus is not gaining anything.
    The A380 is just costing sales effort, bounds capital and doesn’t deliver anything to the company but a bit of fame for having the biggest (airplane of course).

    Meanwhile Airbus can just use the cappacity bound in the A380 for more profitable and future proof projects.
    Get a bit more out of the A350 design, stretch it another 4-6m as close to the 80m you can get. It will eliminate the seat count advantage of the B779x and leave Boeing with the same reaction the had to do with the B737 max 9 – stretch it even further to not loose sales.

    Also, Airbus has the chance of pimping up the CS /A220 series with the A220-500 and attack the A320neo and B737 max 8 with about 170 seats.
    They can push the A321 design further stretching it another 4-5m close to 50m, pimp the wing and mtow to deliver the 200 pax MOM airplane Boeing is talking about.

    So Airbus roadmap:
    Stretch A220 and develop a -500
    Stretch A321 and develop the A322
    Stretch / pimp the A35k to a 78m A35K1

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