There could be a future for the A380—and it’s not what you think

By Scott Hamilton

June 3, 2020, © Leeham News: The conventional wisdom is there is no future for the Airbus A380 after front-line carriers remove the airplane from their fleets.

HiFly is operating its sole Airbus A380 with medical supplies flying on the main deck. Source: HiFly.

Singapore Airlines retired the first of five A380s a few years ago as 10-12 year leases expired. Only one found a new home, with ACMI operator HiFly. Others went to the scrap heap.

The virus crisis prompted several airlines to ground entire A380 fleets—perhaps permanently. Emirates Airline, with 115 in operation before COVID-19 essentially shut down world travel, said it would ground a big portion of its A380s. It took about a week before President Tim Clark said eventually these will return to service.

The A380 doesn’t make a good belly freighter airplane, like the Boeing 747. The lower cargo hold isn’t spacious. The elaborate landing gear takes space away from cargo. The upper deck is positioned a few inches too high to accommodate common containers. Loading cargo onto the upper deck is a logistical challenge.

Yet there is a P2F (passenger to freighter) option that is feasible and affordable. And it is being explored.

COVID sets example

Response to the COVID crisis prompted several airlines across the globe to convert passenger airplanes to cargo-capable airplanes on the main deck.

In some cases, this involved covering passenger seats with protective plastic or similar material and loading boxes into the seats.

In other cases, seats were removed. Boxes were stacked along the cabin. The floors weren’t beefed up, but empty pallets were often installed to serve as cargo net fixtures. The pallets are then fixed to the seat tracks.

Figure 1. Empty PKC pallets serve as the base for cargo nets, strapping the cargo boxes to the required 9G restrain level. Source: Airbus

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There are currently about 1,000 passenger airliners converted by these methods, according to Precision Conversions. About 300 of these are Boeing 777-200ERs/300ERs.

This method omits the high cost of adding a main deck cargo door. It also omits the need to beef up the floors, since in this crisis, cargo is lighter than the usual main-deck freight shipments.

Pallets or roller systems like those in use by FedEx on ATRs may be used.

Boeing, which is developing a system for its 7-Series passenger aircraft, says it is important to respect areas of some of its aircraft—notably at the far forward and aft end of the cabins—which are load-limited.

Lateral symmetrical loading is necessary for weight imbalance. This is most important on twin-aisle aircraft and less so on 737s and 757s.

It is also necessary load cargo properly to avoid sitting the airplane on its tail, a decades-long procedure.

Back to the Past

But today’s Passenger-to-PaxFreighters (P2PF) configuration is only a temporary measure.

If there is to be a future secondary life for the A380, it doesn’t lie in a full-fledged P2F conversion. The cost, underlying design and logistical challenge are huge.

A solution may follow the concept of today’s conversions. A permanent solution for the A380 may lie in going back to the past.

Airborne Express was one of the early small package freight companies, an early competitor to what was then named Federal Express. While FedEx relied mainly on Boeing 727-100s converted from passenger to cargo airplanes with a main-deck door installed, Airborne used passenger airplanes in their original design. Specialized pallets were loaded through the No. 1 passenger door. Rollers allowed the small pallets to move to the rear of the airplane.

Airborne’s fleet over the years included the NAMC YS-11 turboprop, Sud Aviation Caravelle, Douglas DC-8 and DC-9 and Boeing 767-200. In each case, cargo was loaded through the passenger door.

The A380, with doors twice as wide as a DC-8 and wider than a 767, offers more flexibility for larger pallets and, of course, more cargo.

Airbus data for a conversion will be critical, Precision Conversion says. (Precision is not pursuing a conversion program; its plate is full with 757P2F and A321P2F projects.)

Airbus said A Passenger-to-Freighter conversion of the A380 would be technically feasible.

“In a post-COVID environment, we anticipate plentiful availability of feed stock for existing conversion programs, including the EFW A330P2F program,” a spokesman said. “If we see sufficient customer interest in a A380P2F we would investigate this possibility further. On top of that, we are proposing temporary Cargo adaptation for A380 like it has been done for A330/A350 in the post-COVID context and are supporting the return to service.”

A380 Uses

The A380 is not as versatile as the Boeing 747-400F or Boeing 777-200F. But FedEx or UPS might find use for the A380 P2PF concept if the airplane is cheap enough to acquire. Both ordered the pure-freighter A380 when the program was launched. Both canceled their orders when the program ran into industrial delays.

Alibaba, the Chinese equivalent on Amazon, could be a target customer, for example.

The current market value for a 10-year old A380 is $73.07m and lease rate is $555/mo, estimates the appraisal firm ISHKA. A five-year-old model CMV is $117.15m and the monthly lease rate is $847.000 (half-life assumptions).

Loading would require a platform to reach the upper deck passenger door—perhaps something akin to the structures alongside rockets (though hardly as tall), or a docking station of some kind.

Doric Aviation manages the leases on 17 A380s, most with Emirate Airline. It also has the ex-Singapore airplane leased to ACMI operator HiFly.

Sibylle Pähler, managing director with the lessor, said HiFly converted the main deck to freight configuration as others have done. The upper deck is not being used. HiFly operated the planes from Portugal to the Dominican Republic and China.

Converting to an Airborne Express-style freighter is not something Doric is pursuing.

“It’s a remote option,” Pahler said. “It’s not something you can assume on a day-to-day basis. It’s strictly opportunistic.”

Even HiFly doesn’t expect this will be a model that can be pursued, she said, at least not now. It may be in the next 10-12 months.

Pahler said Doric asked Airbus about a full P2F conversion, but the cost was prohibitive. A pure P2F conversion wasn’t pursued for a mixture of technical and cost issues.

63 Comments on “There could be a future for the A380—and it’s not what you think

  1. Hi Scott!
    “It is also necessary load cargo properly to avoid sitting the airplane on its tail, a decades-long procedure.”
    This isn’t right is it?

    • Yes, is true…Planes must be balanced for maximum performance. Also, because they all have a center of gravity and can till if not loaded properly and it affects flight performance if not done right.

      • I think the point Lars might have been trying to make is that read literally, the sentence “It is also necessary load cargo properly to avoid sitting the airplane on its tail, a decades-long procedure,” suggests that to avoid an aircraft sitting on its tail involves a loading procedure that takes decades.

        Southwest pioneered the 10 minute turnaround, Scott Hamilton pioneered the decades-long turnaround. Those are some really tough utilization statistics… 😉

      • Confused to why it would now be an issue, as whether cargo or passenger, it’s the same, in the movie where the Hijacker says everyone to the back of the plane, what they don’t show is the poor going ape shit

      • DC10/MD-10/MD-11 all use a nose tether as back to avoid that.

        747 uses a Tail Stand that indexes into the aircraft hoist system spot to avoid that.

        767 may use Nose Tether as well.

        And yes you not only can (pun) do that but it is done when screw up occurs.

        • The RAF VC10’s had a strict loading procedure that required the first pallet stopping at the wing roots until the second pallet was on the main deck to counter balance it enough to move the first pallet aft. Of course this relied entirely on a loading team being experienced on the procedure.

  2. This architecture can work IF the operator-airline loads the jumbo with underdense payload only , and transports overdense cargo in normal planes only . This still leaves the option to transport passengers , if desired .
    D.H. .😎

  3. I was thinking about it for some time. Maybe A380 Combi?

    Lower deck for cargo, higher spacious deck for post-Covid-19 passengers? Would be feasible technically and cost conversion?

    • I was thinking the same… Double stairs lead to the a330-sized upper deck, so passenger loading not too difficult, leaving the main deck available for low-density cargo.

      Could a pulley system be developed to pull cargo up the stairs (like a wheelchair drop down floor for stairs) to move cargo up to the upper deck on a full cargo version for the Amazon’s and Alibaba’s of the world? Hub-2-hub large volume of lightweight cargo?

      • I would like to see the methodology behind the quoted A380 valuations. Can you obtain and provide it?

        • Yep, I can see the Combi as a very successful huge money looser.

  4. I suppose a Combi could be feasible with one deck for cargo (without major modifications and using the existing doors for an Airborne Express style container) and the other for passengers.

  5. If almost every airline is scrapping the A380 how can the plane be worth $78 million at 10 years?
    Also since nobody is keeping the planes they must have almost no value as parts? I assume the most valuable part is an engine and there cannot be markets for a jet engine if nobody is using the planes.

    • parts and scrap metal….

      it is a real shame that they didn’t try to size the A380 so that the engines could be shared with another program, then at least the engines would be valuable for spares (a-la 767-747) beyond the small and shrinking A-380 market.

      • Engines could have use for converting to power generators – some (if not many) “gas fired” peaking plants use certain aero engines coupled to generators.

    • Misunderstandings abound here..a few airlines are retiring plane from fleet, others are parking the planes during market down turn. Along with hundreds of other types.
      Are British Airways, Singapore Emirates etc scrapping planes?…
      Low fuel prices changes everything…..when traffic returns..
      Who knows ,maybe passengers want more SPACE now, because…

  6. um $550-899/ month lease….$73 million valuation… what reality are thes people living in… if i lease for thirty years the cost will be less than $360k… clearly childlike accounting going on somewhere.

      • And don’t forget that FMV Leases like this still leave a residual balance on the back end. at 500k/mo for 10 years, you are talking about total payments of 60MM. the residual value (scrap and parts) seems fairly reasonable to me.

  7. Another route forwards must surely be using the larger cabins to improve passenger separation? Has no-one thought of this? The first airline to offer ‘separated’ seating with wider seat spacing and thin shielding like they use at supermarket checkouts will surely clean up the post-viral passenger traffic.

    • Hello Geoff,

      Re:”Another route forwards must surely be using the larger cabins to improve passenger separation? Has no-one thought of this?”

      According the the excerpt below from the 6-1-20 Gulf Business article at the link after the excerpt, Emirates President Tim Clark has thought of this, and doesn’t like the idea.

      “However, speaking during the opening session of the virtual Arabian Travel Market (ATM), Clark said it was essential to be “consistent with social distancing”.

      “You can’t just keep the seat next to you vacant – the person behind you may also sneeze,” he said.

      “Following the [right social distancing measures] will mean taking 50 per cent of economy seats out – it doesn’t stack up for anybody to do that.”

      The current airline business models thrive on low margins and high volumes, he explained.”

      Flying half-empty planes is also not environmentally-friendly, added Clark.

      To manage the current situation, airlines will have to ensure thorough sanitisation of their aircraft and maintain hygiene measures on board.

      “We have introduced a number of protocols to ensure inflight hygiene,” said Clark.

      “We also have cabin crew attendants who sterilise and clean the toilets onboard every 30 minutes at minimum. They are constantly sterilising the place. Our crew wear PPE suits and we also provide all passengers with masks, gloves and sanitisers so that they can clean their space,” he said.

      Emirates’ air filtration systems also ensure that the air onboard is recycled regularly.

      “The air onboard the aircraft is very clean,” said Clark.

      Measure such as these should help travellers adjust to the situation.

      “I think we will find a way – mankind can adapt very quickly and move on. We have to make these adjustments. The next six to nine months are going to be tough.”

      Recovery will depend on finding a vaccine for the virus, opined Clark.”

      • Maybe the time is right to utilise the space as cabins? As on a train.
        Some radical thinking is required.

    • I believe DL are stopping use of centre seats for this purpose on certain routes.

      • Hello Vincent Paul,

        Re: “I believe DL are stopping use of centre seats for this purpose on certain routes.”

        Delta is blocking middle seats through 9-30-20. United and American are not booking middle seats in advance but will assign them at boarding time if they run out of aisle and window seats, Southwest has maintained its open seating policy, but is placing cap on the number of seats sold for each flight. Below are some excerpts from a recent “The Points Guy” article at the link after the excerpts.

        “Delta Air Lines is in no hurry to lift social distancing rules on its flights during the coronavirus pandemic, extending a cap on the number of passengers on any given flight through September.

        The Atlanta-based carrier will limit the number of travelers on its planes at 60% of economy seats, 50% of first class seats and 75% of Delta One suites through Sept. 30, Delta said on Wednesday. The caps allow Delta to block all middle seats on its flights.”

        “Airlines are taking different approaches to problem of how to keep travelers and crew safe from the coronavirus onboard planes. American Airlines and United Airlines are not assigning middle seats at booking but will fill them with flyers if a flight is full. On the other hand, Southwest Airlines that offers open seating on all of is flights has capped the number of travelers that can be booked on any given flight.

        “You can’t be six feet apart on an airplane, middle seat or not,” United CEO Scott Kirby said at an investor conference on May 28. “What makes an airplane safe is HEPA air filters, wearing a mask onboard an airplane, cleaning an airplane — those are the things that make an airplane safe.”

        Blocked middle seats have, effectively, become a COVID-19 marketing tool that airlines are using to try and encourage wary travelers to take to the skies again.”

        • If Delta wanted to return its pre-COVID-19 profit margins with the above described policy in place of booking only 60% of economy seats, 50% of first class seats, and 75% of Delta One Suites, it would have to increase economy ticket prices by a factor of 1/0.6 = 1.7, first class ticket priced by a factor of 1/0.5 = 2.0, and Delta One Ticket Prices by a factor of 1/0.75 = 1.3. How many customers would be willing to pay these higher prices?

  8. Re: ” Emirates Airline, with 115 in operation before COVID-19 essentially shut down world travel, said it would ground a big portion of its A380s. It took about a week before President Tim Clark said eventually these will return to service.”

    The excerpts below from the 6-2-20 Arabian Business News at the link after the excerpt, quote Emirates President Tim Clark as saying that Emirates’ entire A380 fleet is currently grounded.

    “Clark revealed that the company has been using 85 of the 777-300 ER, which are essentially passenger aircraft, but have a large cargo door at the back of the aircraft with the ability to fit in 14 palettes in the hold below decks – around 40 tonnes. They have also taken seats out and filled up the hat racks.”

    “Emirates have also been using 11 freighters, utilising 96 in total of the 153, 777 aircraft in its fleet.

    Clark said: “That’s not going to deal with the loss of passenger income but it certainly keeps the wolf from the cash door, which is the real bugbear of the airline industry at the moment. We’re trying to mitigate the effects of having the whole A380 fleet on the ground, which is 115 aircraft.”

    • If Emirates converted all their A380s to freight, they’d suddenly have a lot of freight capacity and a nicely central long haul hub..

      Regarding conversion, I can’t imagine Airbus standing in the way of it.

      Scrappage options? Well, the engines are quite powerful and might make good gas generators for other applications (containerised power generation?). I’ve no idea if such a conversion is worthwhile. Quite a lot those seem to be quite happily based on smaller engines, so perhaps they’re overkill. Also I guess that the compressor inlet is optimised for 500+knot air rushing in at 30,000+ft air pressure, so perhaps it wouldn’t be very efficient as a ground based gas generator.

      Despite the current situation, I really hope that the A380 can be retained in passenger service. It’s very nice to fly on, and it would be a shame if it was dispensed with.

    • Meanwhile, while the entire Emirates fleet of A380’s sits parked on the ground, customers are fighting in the US courts over who gets to take delivery of new build 747 and 777 freighters. Apparently it is not presently a good time to be late on any payments for 747 or 777 freighters that you have on order.

      “The lawsuit, filed in a Washington district court, centres on the delivery of one Boeing 747-8F and three B777Fs that Volga-Dnepr had ordered from the airframer and were due to be delivered this year.

      The aircraft never made it into the Volga-Dnepr Group’s fleet, but the two companies are in dispute over the status of the contracts and whether they had been fully cancelled.

      Volga-Dnepr is hoping to stop Boeing from finalising the sale of the aircraft to other parties and is also seeking damages for alleged lost earnings and advanced payments.”

  9. I am not sure that qualifies as a “not what you think” option. Without an Airbus sponsored P2F STC it is the only option other than pax operations and as Pahler at Doric said opportunistic not long term. The Combi idea suggested could be good if technically feasible, but given the fire and smoke safety requirements for combis now it could be problematic.
    The “and it’s not what you think” option must surely be boutique airport hotels.

    • @Stephen: Note Airbus said it is studying this option.

    • Not gonna happen. Cost of operating 4 engine aircraft are gone. 747 can make it work as after market support, parts and engine availability is not an issue yet. Also 747 is smaller and can fill quickly. GP and RR will charge you arm and a leg for parts and engine overhaul as volume is not there. Same reason DC 10 was more successful as freighter then L1011 will be true for a380 compared to 747. There is too much baggage that comes with a380, bigger landing fee, limited airport access compared to smaller 777 and 747. OEM support and if A350 is made into freighter ( which i think it was discussed here) then forgot cheap AB support. The only future for a380 is beer and pop cans and dog tags. Harsh but the reality is scrap yard.

      • Yes, and to make matters worse, there are also a lot of old A330 available for the P2F market now. I guess everybody would buy/fly two of these, instead of an A380.

  10. And don’t forget that FMV Leases like this still leave a residual balance on the back end. at 500k/mo for 10 years, you are talking about total payments of 60MM. the residual value (scrap and parts) seems fairly reasonable to me.

  11. This is all non tech foo fallah about nothing. Short term use at best and all the rest is hype.

    3 firms in the world bulk out before they weight out (FedEx, UPS and DHL). Amazon may be in the up-coming mix.

    All 3 bit operators are committed to their respective choices. Two (FedEx and UPS) dumped the A380F. If they had wanted it they could have done the same thing as the floor loading was not an issue.

    They all use cans, if it can’t take a can its useless (emergency no one cares, but costs are a huge issue when its competitive). An A380 is not competitive.

    It also does not have the loader infrastructure needed. So all that for a flash in the pan? Homey don’t think so.

    UPS uses 747-8F and is going to order more (buying the Volger-Dnepr drops)

    FedEx is committed to 777F and has options and with the 777-200 etc drops, feed-stock for the 777-BCF to replace the MD-11.

    FedEx and UPS both use the MD-11 currently heavily. Both deep into 767 use.

    DHL has a leased mix that includes 747-8F and 767 an committed to contractors fort years ahead.

    • FedEx and UPS dumped A380F idea because Airbus dumped the idea in the same more less time. Then a price for A380 was a deal breaker. Now secondary A380s are very cheap. So maybe. Or maybe not, as well.

  12. Topic for another post, perhaps, but the $73mm figure for the value of an A380 seems completely unrealistic.

    Even pre-Covid it was hard to find uses for an A380 once the original operator was done with it. Large numbers of these are headed for the desert, and then to scrap – this is not only an orphan airframe, but also orphan engines. There are minimal, if any, parts of this aircraft that have alternative uses other than outright scrap.

    On the one hand, appraisers have a really tough job right now (because of Covid) in putting valuations on aircraft. Lessors and lenders have every incentive right now to “extend and pretend” and, so long as the numbers remain small, keep aircraft off the market rather than transacting leases or sales at rates they think reflect a temporary market dislocation.

    But then you see a valuation like that on the A380 and, to me at least, it makes me look at the whole appraisal process with an enhanced degree of skepticism. Show me a purchaser or lender willing to take that number at face value.

    • Valid points on the engines. Nothing else uses them and split between two mfgs. Emirates might buy some cheap as they made a dumb decision and split their engine choices (running up their costs and more grief maint wise with the Trents)

      Right now everyone is doing temporary conversions to wannabe Pax F types, that is not going to last.

      No future in it.

    • The only market is spare parts for Emirates, maybe

      Worth more as scrap aluminum.

      • Gee, all those self taught epidemiology experts have suddenly pivoted to aircraft valuations…..
        “it doesn’t make sense”, as though anything about aircraft pricing is obvious to a lay person…..

  13. That sounds like a great idea. Finally the a380 can still be alive although I was hoping for the a380-1000 and 900
    The a380 neo, a380 stretch and freight because I heard that a German cargo airline is interested in the a380 freight.

    • Have to love those rumors.

      Ain’t happening sans a publicity stunt.

      A380 success is always around the corner.

      Sheer lack of any other news is the driver here.

      • The indicator to watch is fuel prices …they are what will Make A380 Great Again.
        By this time next year Emirates will be flying at least half its A380 fleet if fuel prices stay at this level.

  14. You’re right, it’s not what I was thinking.
    Plus it got me thinking some out there ideas too, like…
    Mobile emergency or aid hospital, (needs big airports).
    Fire bombing (also needs big airports and water supply).
    Large troop mover, but most potential customers have this sorted.
    As for cargo mods how about an on board lift to move and load cargo on all 3 decks, loading through the current baggage/freight access? Centrally located it could facilitate balanced loading to avoid the up-ending risk while loading. Central locating being the strongest part of the aircraft for such a mod and would minimise the challenge.
    They have small lifts on them already, don’t they?
    So that is what I was thinking.

    • I like the firefighting one!

      C5 carries a measly 100 troops when the bay is full, you could carry an Infantry Brigade with a full pack A380PTC (pax troop conversions) !

      • I wonder if QANTAS will park one up out at Longreach on display next to it’s 747.

  15. We all know that any reconfiguration of the A380 will incur massive costs. So, converting it to a freighter will be similarly expensive. Dead end solution!

  16. The A380’s development time was too long and technology moved on. One day Emirates and RR might decide to be friends and reengine the A380 with the RR Ultrafan making it more flexible and economical plus making Australia Europe non-stop flights with full payload possible.
    Maybe RR could sell the full QEC’d Ultrafan engines for $10M ea if the customer promise to run them for 10 years..
    The 747 have had many engines on its wings thru the years from 4-5 different JT9D’s to PW4000; CF6-50 to -80C2 and GEnX; RB211 in some versions including the “GTI” even the DC-8 got new engines after production was halted.

    • Claes: You miss the point, the A380 is not worth an NEO as the costs are huge and its still a route restricted dinosaur.

      777-X is iffy looking.

      The A350-900 may well be the inheritor of that whole segment.

      • Route restricted ?
        Major international cities are where the passengers come and go from.
        Emirates alone had 60 destinations for its A380s.
        That would cover most of the world long haul international traffic. Its not a good comparison for lots of reasons but then the same was for ‘route restricted’

  17. Why can’t they be turned into a hotel with the cabin in the two decks this has be done to a Boeing to a 747 Jumbo and is in the Airport in Stockholm.
    The same could be done to a A380 as a apartments a nother is to convert into a hospital in developing countries and funded by donations or other sources.

    • Because you have to spend huge bucks to make a bad form (oval) where an efficient (90 deg corner floor and walls)

      The only thing it is good for is huddling in (sans Covd) in during a rainstorm.

      As a PR thing it works, as a hotel or hospital its a dismal failure on so many (pun intended) levels. Water, power, getting to location ad nausea.

  18. Below is a list, according to FlightAware, of all widebody commercial aircraft in the air at about 7 AM US Mountain time on 6-4-20. Aircraft types are listed from highest to lowest number of aircraft in the air. At mid-day instead of 7 AM US MT, I would guess that there would be more passenger types and fewer freighter types in the air. At 7 AM US MT, many US domestic FedEx and UPS flights are probably still in the air, at mid-day it is likely that far fewer FedEx and UPS aircraft would be flying. See the very end of the list for the A380.

    777-300ER: 114
    767-300 or 300ER or 300F: 96
    787-9: 79
    747-400 or 400M or 400F: 75
    777-200LR or F: 62
    A330-300: 47
    MD-11: 38
    A300F4-600: 36
    777-200 or 200ER: 35
    747-8I or 8F: 33
    A350-900: 30
    A330 – Unspecified Type: 20
    787-8: 20
    767-200: 11
    DC-10: 9
    A350-1000: 7
    A300F4-200: 5
    777-300: 5
    747 Freighter – Unspecified Type: 4
    An-124: 2
    A310: 2
    A340-300: 2
    767 –Unspecified Type: 1
    787 – Unspecified Type: 1
    A339-900: 1
    A340-500: 1
    A340-600: 1
    767-400ER: 1
    747-LCF: 1
    A380: Zero

    • Interesting the dominance of Boeing aircraft. Probably due to being mostly freight, as you said. It would be interesting to see the numbers at a more pax-centric time, and including narrow-body as well. Might shift things the other way.

      • Hello Rob,
        Re: “It would be interesting to see the numbers at a more pax-centric time ..”
        I was curious about this also, so I re-ran the search at 2 additional times. Of course, peak passenger times will vary as one moves through time zones around the globe.

        Here are the three approximate times I checked.
        7:00 AM US MT = 2:00 PM in London = 9:00 PM in Beijing.
        2:30 AM US MT = 9:30 AM in London = 4:30 PM in Beijing.
        1:30 PM US MT = 8:30 PM in London = 3:30 AM in Beijing

        Type / # in air 6-4, 7 AM MT / # in air 6-5, 2:30 AM MT / # in-air 6-5, 1:30 PM MT
        777-300ER: 114 / 114 / 141 / Average = 123
        767-300 or 300ER or 300F: 96 / 87 / 53 / Average = 78.7
        787-9: 79 / 80 / 90 / Average = 83.0
        747-400 or 400M or 400F: 75 / 74 / 56 / Average = 68.3
        777-200LR or F: 62 / 57 / 47 / Average = 55.3
        A330-300: 47 / 57 / 31 / Average = 45.0
        MD-11: 38 / 27 / 18 / Average = 27.7
        A300F4-600: 36 / 36 / 8 / Average = 26.7
        777-200 or 200ER: 35 / 31 / 35 / Average = 33.7
        747-8I or 8F: 33 / 25 / 26 / Average = 28.0
        A330-200: 31 / 21 / 32 / Average = 28.0
        A350-900: 30 / 45 / 32 / Average = 35.7
        A330 – Unspecified Type: 20 / 21 / 5 / Average = 15.3
        787-8: 20 / 29 / 23 / Average = 24.0
        767-200: 11 / 6 / 19 / Average = 12.0
        DC-10: 9 / 5 / 1 / Average = 15.0
        787-10: 8 / 4 / 12 / Average = 8.0
        A350-1000: 7 / 10 / 15 / Average = 10.7
        747-8F: 7 / 4 / 10 / Average = 7.0 (See also 747-8I or 8F above)
        A300F4-200: 5 / 1 / 0 / Average = 2.0
        777-300: 5 / 10 / 7 / Average = 7.3
        747 Freighter – Unspecified Type: 4 / 0 / 2 / Average = 2.0
        An-124: 2 / 0 / 2 / Average = 1.3
        A310: 2 / 1 / 3 / Average = 2.0
        A340-300: 2 / 7 / 5 / Average = 4.7
        767 –Unspecified Type: 1 / 3 / 0 / Average = 1.3
        787 – Unspecified Type: 1 / 7 / 6 / Average = 4.7
        A339-900: 1 / 2 / 1 / Average = 1.3
        A340-500: 1 / 0 / 0 / Average = 0.3
        A340-600: 1 / 1 / 2 / Average = 1.3
        767-400ER: 1 / 0 / 0 / Average = 0.3
        747-LCF: 1 / 0 / 1 / Average = 0.7
        A380: 0 / 1 / 2 / Average = 1.0
        747-200: 0 / 1 / 1 / Average = 0.7
        777-9: 0 / 0 / 1 / Average = 0.3 (Test Flight)

        Averaged over all 3 times, the top 6 were as follows.
        777-300ER: Average # in air = 123
        787-9: Average # in air = 83.0
        767-300 or 300ER or 300F: Average # in air = 78.7
        747-400 or 400M or 400F: Average # in air = 68.3
        777-200LR or F: Average # in air = 55.3
        A330-300: Average = 45.0

      • Hello Rob,

        Re: ” It would be interesting to see the numbers at a more pax-centric time, and including narrow-body as well. ”

        Top 7 narrow body jet airliners types by number enroute on a flight, according to Flight Aware at approximately 7 AM US Mountain Time on 6-4-20.

        A320: 463 enroute
        737-800: 458 enroute
        A321: 177 enroute
        A319: 116 enroute
        737-700: 86 enroute
        737 – Unspecified Type : 60 enroute
        757-200: 45 enroute

        Top 7 narrow body jet airliners types by number enroute on a flight, according to Flight Aware at approximately 2:30 AM US Mountain Time on 6-5-20.

        A320: 507 enroute
        737-800: 493 enroute
        A321: 167 enroute
        737 – Unspecified Type: 90 enroute
        A319: 84 enroute
        E190 : 62 enroute
        757-200: 49 enroute

        Top 7 narrow body jet airliners types by number enroute on a flight, according to Flight Aware at approximately 1:30 PM US Mountain Time on 6-5-20.

        737-800: 273 enroute
        A320: 181 enroute
        737-700: 121 enroute
        A319: 113 enroute
        A321: 81 enroute
        737 – 900 or 9ooER: 56 enroute
        CRJ700: 44 enroute

      • AP_Robert, thanks for doing all this work. It gives a good snapshot of current air travel. With narrow body and pax-time included, things are much more balanced as to manufacturer. Also good to see that traffic may be increasing from the low point of the crisis.

    • I was just looking through the Flight Aware printout that my “widebodies in the air” post above was based on, and I realized that when I was typing that post I missed a line for the A330-200, which should have been as follows.

      A330-200: 31

      I just did another aircraft type search, and at 2:30 AM US Mountain Time on 6-5-20 there was one, and only one , A380 in the air, namely China Sothern Flight 304 from London Heathrow to Guangzhou, China.

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