HOTR: Could airport caps lead to 777X success?

Sept. 6, 2022, © Leeham News: Will Europe’s airport passenger caps ultimately save the Boeing 777X?

Sometimes it’s more important to be lucky than it is to be good.

It may be purely speculative, but Boeing may well be on the verge of being lucky.

Amsterdam and London Heathrow imposed daily caps of 67,000 and 100,000 passengers, respectively. Other airports considered following suit. The caps were imposed because airport operations were melting down. Short staffing across several professions, including passport control, was blamed.

The short-staffing no doubt will be rectified eventually. But some industry observers speculate that the European Union may decide to impose flight capacity restrictions as one way to reduce aviation emissions. This, some think, might result in a sales boost for the slow-selling 777X.

Doubts continue over 777-8P

There are about three dozen orders for the 777-8 passenger model. There are about six dozen orders for the 777-8F, some of which haven’t been firmed up yet. Boeing lists 341 firm orders for all models of the X on its website. ASC 606 adjustments are not subtracted from this figure. (There are 85 orders for the 777 Classic freighter, unadjusted for ASC 606.)

Some key industry officials, including the executive chairman of Air Lease Corp, Steve Udvar-Hazy, doubt the 777-8P will be built, and perhaps the entire program is at risk. LNA doesn’t doubt that the program, including the -8P, will go forward. But we don’t see the demand matching Boeing’s public statements of upward of 1,000 aircraft. LNA long ago concluded the future for the program rests with the 777XF.

Changing environment

To use a double entendre, the changing environment might just be the program’s savior. Although today’s airport caps at Amsterdam and Heathrow are on passengers, once workforce staffing returns to normal, some believe the cap on passengers will be lifted. Instead, caps on airplane operations might be stifled as a means of forcefully reducing carbon emissions at airports. This means bigger airplanes like the 777-9 and the Airbus A350-1000 might be in more demand. Airbus has fewer than 200 orders remaining for the -1000.

This means that to accommodate passenger demand, larger airplanes will be needed. This, of course, was the business case for the Airbus A380 in 2000. More capable twin-aisle, long-range airplanes like the Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 787, Airbus A350, and Airbus 330neo undermined the business case for the A380. The 787, A350 (now with Ultra Long Range options), and even the re-engined Airbus A321LR/XLR and Boeing 737-8 MAX have long-range capabilities that undermined the 777X business case. The 777X business case depends in not an insignificant way on the hub-and-spoke business model. The aforementioned aircraft allow bypassing one hub, operating as a spoke airplane.

Ironically, airport flight capacity caps were the very business model on which the Airbus A380 was based.

The Dutch government announced in July it wants to impose a reduce annual cap on flights at Schiphol from 2023: 440k vs around 500k, a 20% reduction. KLM is obviously fighting back and it is in the hand of the courts now. Keeping the cap will not only help the A350-1000 and 777X, but further screw regional aircraft in favor of larger single-aisles like the A321neo and Boeing 737-10 MAX. If anything, the single-aisle up-gauging is a more powerful phenomenon than the smaller twin-aisle.



100 Comments on “HOTR: Could airport caps lead to 777X success?

  1. “LNA long ago concluded the future for the program rests with the 777XF.”

    If that is truth, the success / failure of the A350F and 777 freighter conversions would be key the 777X program future.

    Future 77W conversions seem to offer a very capable option for cargo airlines. A350-1000 sales could create 77W feedstock in that respect.

  2. I suggest to at least remove the A350ULR and the MAX8 from the undermined 777X business case narrative for obvious reasons

    • the A350-ULR and the 777-8p were in direct competition for the same role.

      the increasing capabilities of the single aisles (both Boeing and Airbus) have undermined the business case for all widebodies, not just the 777.

      • 4700nm (advertised) is a limited long range and hurts payload on the XLR, let alone the MAX. There’s no payload/range alternative to widebodies when it comes to long range networks.

        Regarding the A350ULR, the tradeoff for its range can only be supported by SIA for some reason

        • The XLR and to a lesser degree the MAX 8 allow smaller cities to receive non-stop service to hubs or even medium-sized cities within range, avoiding connections to the 777X (or A380/747) at a major hub.

          • Those thinner routes are by nature unfitted for 777-like aircraft. I know market segments overlaps happen but the 777X vs XLR/MAX typical mission profile is clear cut.

            Those two vastly different types don’t compete but actually complement each other whitin the same airline or through codeshares

          • @Fabian You’re missing the point. If I can get a direct flight from say HAM to Chicago on a 321XLR, I wont be boarding a 777x connecting through a hub to Chicago. So long haul routes from hubs would experience softening demand and airlines would downgauge to smaller widebodies there.

          • I see the point now Nofly, thanks.
            Was thinking about how the 752 already created similar opportunities but the # of airframes produced doesn’t come close to the XLR projected output

        • Fabian:

          Singapore to NY looks to be the one route you can charge high enough on and run low numbers of PAX. 172 as I recall.

          Other high value cities are close enough that you can run a pay through the nose section and various lower class seats to fill the aircraft. That is more like the Atlantic Ocean Liners. Luxury up top and stuff them in below.

          • Indeed.
            One wonders if SIA will switch from the A350-900ULR to the A350-1000 — which could generate even more revenue on the ULR routes.

            19 ex-Qatar -1000s available at short notice…

  3. The total A350-1000 ordered is 168 with 64 deliveries to date. It has the remaining QATER and IRAN air order to subtract. In fact it is a dismal order book for 16 years.

    • The A350-1000 and 787-10 will benefit alot from more modern and efficinet engines. One day they will come, just like the 747-100 when 747-200 became available with engine options.

    • At least the A350-1000 is certified — which is more than can be said for the 777X. Ask Tim Clark about that 😏

    • Qatars’ order was wiped out today…
      I’m sure they’ll offer mega discounts to ensure they find new homes..
      You listening Air India….!!!

      • They could also be on their way to Emirates and/or Qantas — no extra discounts needed 🤔

  4. The United WB order is a very intressting one. Both need WB orders and the tendency should go to a B787 order.

    The A350 has the engine issue, as Airbus WBs are basically soley depending on RR. Which has an eroding base and is subpar to GE engines.
    That’s Airbus big downfall, that they don’t have acess to the best WB engines on the market.
    The A35K would be an excelent aircraft, but it’s somehow underpowered.

    I don’t belive in the B777x. Airlines fear big planes, unless they run a Emirates model.
    If you cant fill them, they just loose Money to quickly.
    A339, A359 and B789 seem to be the sweet spot. And i guess that will stay for a couple of years also.

    • Sash:

      Offsetting the RR engines on the A350 is the weight advantage. Airbus did a really good job on that and offset Boeing wing advantage.

      I think like always, there is room for large though not as many numbers wise as the small wide body

      I think the 787 is always going to be wider sales, particularly the -9 as you noted. Its the most flexible.

      I don’t think that changes down the road. The 767/A330/787 are the ones that have sold in the largest numbers.

      RR sales on the 787 are probably going to be next to nothing going forward.

      The RR/Airbus and the GE/Boeing on widebody looks to be fixed going forward for the next 15 years.

      • Any data underlining your statments?

        Airbus is used to build excellent wings, i wouldn`t belive a second the first composite wing Boeing ever build beats Airbus.

        Especially not when the wings look so similar and are that close in stats.

        it`s known that RR is a bit behing GE, but the question is how much.
        The A35K could be a superior plane if it had acess to a proper engine.
        But that is a GE engine and it`s Boeing only.

        • Sash:

          Not trying to make excuses but I read hundreds of aviation articles a month. A lot seemed common knowledge and I had not thought to try to put them in folders for access. Often I am not sure how wide spread and at times I find they are one off and can’t find them again. One was on the RR Trent 10 asking for emissions waivers as it could not meet a slice of the flying profile (most of it but one area of climb no).

          In the wider scope, in theory a 3 shaft (RB211) returns efficiency for a more costly overhaul. That was true early on but GE has flipped that around. GE in direct competition gets better SFC and its lower overhaul costs as well as meeting or exceeding RR on wing time in the 787 and the A380 (though that is a GE/PW engine)

          Tim Clark made a fool of himself when he claimed the upgraded Trent 900 would exceed the GP7000 by 5 % (reports are it was about 3% behind in fuel burn).

          There were hints of blade issues with the upgraded Trent 900. As those were for Emirates it was kept quiet. Emirates was unhappy with the Trent 900+ per some public comments.

          It goes to prove that you do not magically upgrade an engine and have a huge efficient improvement. If you can get 2% you are doing good.

          And in the case of the Trent 1000 you had sudden engine failures all over the place that put people at risk. RR was way late in understanding the blade cracking and its fixes did not work because they did not (harmonics). That was on top of corrosion issues on the blades.

          ANA and NZ both gave up on it.

          RR answer was to abandon the Trent 1000 and come out with a almost all new engine (75%). Which still had issues as they used the problem core. I can’t think of a jet engine that was abandoned like that let alone its replacement and the huge cost of that and have it repeat. Covid saved it sort of as they had time to get the fixes in.

          Its not that engines don’t have issues, GE, PW (Safran and the biz jet Sivercrest debacle that is an abandoned conecpt). GE was susepial to icing issues on the 787 (some fixes and a non issue but a bad thing to happen). RR did not have that issue due to desing differences. RR is reported to ahve a fuel heater freeze up issue on the 787 like they did on the 777. That sort of thing is so rare as to not have design understanding and there are easy fixes.

          What we no longer have is a direct comparison on the A330NEO or the A350 as those are exclusive to Airbus.

          And Airlines generally won’t squawk as they have no choice and will work with RR to correct. Boeing customers seem to be more willing to talk publicly though I don’t know in the case of the 747/777/777X they will.

          On the 787 we know neither RR or GE met SFC. Both had upgrades. GE was ahead as it was closer and it then met and exceeded by a small amount. RR never did even with the Trent 10 it was still a bit behind.

          RR clearly had major issues, we don’t know what the XWB has really done though it has not had the failures that the Trent 1000 did.

          The Trent 7000 was held up by the Trent 10 so we can assume it had the same issues, but with low flying times that may be worked out and fixed before it became a problem.

          What happens with the Ultra Fan we don’t know, RR started from scratch and they don’t have PW on wing time and experience.

    • “The A35K … somehow underpowered.”

      Doesn’t it have a better thrust to weight ratio than B787-9/10??

  5. The Dutch government cap is on Amsterdam/Schiphol airport — not on the country as a whole. The intention was/is that Schiphol would become a “longhaul”/feeder airport and that non-feeder shorthaul would be moved to another airport: this was slated to be Lelystad, but — in practice — will probably be Rotterdam/Eindhoven, which are only a relatively short train/bus ride from Amsterdam.

    So, in practice, the number of longhaul slots at Schiphol will remain, or even increase; accordingly, there’s no need to switch to larger widebodies.

    Incidentally: the cap on Schiphol is for noise and particulates reasons — not for CO2.

  6. People keep saying that the A350 has an issue because of the RR engines
    How many XWB engines have failed? Out MAY be that Airbus may be encouraged to build a 350-2000?

    • HarriM:

      The XWB engine is a warmed over Trent RB211. Keeping in mind the 787 was 5 years into service before we saw the issues start on the Trent 1000.

      What I see is that GE is making more efficient engines. So far the XWB has at least publicly shown to have issues. It could still have those. It took RR a long time to figure out the Trent 1000 issues and those core issues transferred into the Trent 10 and 7000 (they may have had time to sort that out on the A330NEO.

      But GE has proven to be more efficient on the 787 as well and the GP7000 was more efficient than the Trent 900. Also lower cost on overhaul and reliable.

      With the cover up on the A350 paint and mesh problem being kept hidden for some time, do they see wear issues on the XWB ?

      GE has better engines these days.

      • “GE has better engines these days.”

        Well, Tim Clark keeps asking for performance data on the GE90, but doesn’t receive it…one can only wonder why.
        @Frank told us recently about shop talk indicating that the engine has a vortex problem…

        • B787 fuselage: 5.77 x 5.94 w x h
          A350: 5.96 x 6.09
          Boeing trades passenger comfort for F.E. (@17.5 in. seat width vs. 18 in.)

          Outside the alt-world, LEAP engine has repeated episodes of manufactured defects and FAA has to rush out remedies …

          • All engines have problems and all new engines do.

            Its the general progression of those problems that is important.

            GP7000 found a cold stress embitterment issue (AF over Greenland blow up) that no one knew about and could not design around.

            The question is a problem here or there or a basic design issue that you just got wrong. That is RR problem.

            PW had a series of issues on the GTF and some of them were extremely serious. Those were not a deep design issue, it was issue with components like the seals. the one seal re-desing was even worse.

            Not meeting SFC is a key issue though usually they would be close enough that they could do so with some upgrades.

            RR was not doing that on the 787.

            And engines are an overall cost item. If a 3 shaft gets you better SFC that makes up for the higher engine cost, weight penalty and the overhaul costs. If it does not, then you are paying more for less.

            ANA and NZ did not give up on RR because it failed on the fixes, they gave up because it was going to cost them more money everywhere in the engine costs and have less return than GE engines.

          • Scott wrote that GE’s engine for 87-10 is inadequate, forcing EK’s choice.

          • Looks more like a manufacturing defect:

            -> In August 2019, the BEA announced that a part from the fan hub recovered from Greenland had been examined by the manufacturer Engine Alliance under BEA supervision. Metallurgical examination of the recovered titanium fan hub fragment identified a subsurface fatigue crack origin. The fracture was initiated in a microtextured area approximately in the middle of the slot bottom.

  7. In the unlikely circumstances that the Leeham News readership hasn’t already seen it, here’s a link to Tim Clark’s interview on CNN:

    Basically, it’s the same old plea from Emirates to Airbus to do a new A380. And it’s easy to see why; they’re already running a lot of A380s with no empty seats, and there’s no sign of that slowing down… Reductions in the number of flights landing at key airports may seriously boost the 2nd value of A380s; Emirates might buy them up and hoard them, preserving them like unreplaceable classic cars.

    Assuming market growth does pick up, we are going to be forced to return eventually to the thorny problem of, who is going to build a monster aircraft for the one / few airliners that really, really need them and nothing else will do. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. Eventually, I suspect Airbus will cave in and will update the A380, even if that is just for Emirates.

    The Middle East might end up as the very last hub / spoke left in the world, with it’s geographical position practically guaranteeing that it will remain so for a very long time to come. I don’t think the regional-to-regional model scales at all well. It’s fine if the journey is a single flight. However, to change to another onwards flight means that the intermediary airport has to cater specifically for transit, and onward flights need to be at a good time. It just doesn’t sound plausible to upgrade enough regional airports to act as additional hub capacity.

    • Is the size of the plane the only factor, or are passengers specifically attracted by the unique Emirates A380 experience?
      Emirates has 124 777-300ERs in addition to its 101 A380s — and, yet, the A380s generate 85% of Emirates profit. From that, one can deduce that a 777X-sized plane doesn’t have the “wow factor” that Emirates aspires to.

      • There is a world of difference being jammed into a 777-300ER 10 across than to be in an A380 10 across in a decent seat. I have been there.

        • Yes: see Tim Clark’s recent comment below about running 6 A380s per day into LHR and not having an empty seat on them since October 2021.

          • Probably kicking himself for cancelling all those a380’s leading to the demise of the program.!!!
            No one to blame but yourself Sir Tim !!!

          • @TC

            “Tricked” by the snake oil salesman who can’t deliver … the X!?!

    • Matthew:

      The A380 is out of production and will stay out of production. The cost to bring it back would be insane and repeat of the no profits (break even is not a profit)

      If Emirates wanted more A380s there are a lot of used ones on the market. Including TC and his favorite engine aka the Trent 900.

      • ‘(break even is not a profit)’

        There are many ways to look at that. If Airbus did actually break even on the A380, then it’s a win;

        1) Technology benefits
        2) Employed workforce
        3) Strengthen ties in the community
        4) After sales service revenues
        5) Gobble up market share, which would have been all BA’s

        Maybe, if they went to Emirates and said “Hey – this is what an A380Neo is going to cost us to make. If you want it, we can make it exclusively for you, but you have to cover every penny PLUS a 10% margin.”

        We’ll see how bad they want it, then…

        • Frank:

          Break even was where the cost of mfg is met and you are no longer loosing money.

          At that point if you continue production, you can start to eek out returns.

          A380 was reported at break even and then started loosing money again as production was paired back in the hope orders would come in latter which there were not enough of.

          • Are we talking about bringing 747-8 back into production?
            Try kicking Boeing out of your head once in a while.

          • “Try kicking Boeing out of your head once in a while.”

            It’s like watching The Normandie slowly burning and sinking in New York Harbor — it has a mesmerizing effect.
            It’s not every day that one gets to witness a large and powerful corporation flushing itself down the toilet.

          • Haha, how many 787 have BA sold and delivered? How much has BA recorded as brought forward loss???
            BTW didn’t BA also write off multi billions on its 777X program even before it EIS?

      • “The A380 is out of production and will stay out of production”

        The 777X is uncertified and will stay uncertified.

        Life is full of twists and turns.

        • Even if we would assume the 777X non-existant for a moment – that wouldnt create a business case for restarting production of the A380.
          The most Emirates can hope for is a further stretch of the A350. But even for the A350-1000 the demand is not really there (yet?).
          Emirates still has the option to change their op model and retain their A380s till the certified end of life limits, or even pick up used A380s.

          • Things change.
            Any manufacturer will sit up and listen if there’s a sufficiently big order involved.

          • RIA is coming …
            Is it going to follow EK’s model of success or the other two big M.E. guys’ path??

          • @ Pedro
            It will be interesting to see what OEM(s) RIA decides to use: at present, Saudi-US relations are abysmal, and Saudi-EU relations are weak. The UK and France have relatively good relations with Saudi Arabia, which might tilt the scales in favor of Airbus. If the CR929 were up and running, RIA would probably order that instead.

            Just goes to show how there’s definitely a market for a third big OEM. Plenty of other countries fit into a similar mold.

    • That`s out of question.

      There`s still no sutiable engine that`s better than the existing.
      A A380neo would not fit a single problem the A380 had technology and business wise. Though i`m wrong there, it would solve the subpar engine problem.

      But it is out of production, the line is gone.
      The plane is still to heavy.
      It`s to large for most airlines to fill it on daily basis.
      Customers prefer to have two planes going instead a large one.
      Slots are not that limited as one my think.
      And airlines are putting 300 pax in B789s these days, why would you need a 10m longer double PAX deck A380, if even the larger A35K and B779 see only very few sales?

      You would need to redo the A380 with a composite fuselage, way lighter, and propably without 4 engines.

      It won`t happen. That story is told.

      • It does seem to be out of the question for now, but one wonders for how long.

        There is a price at which Airbus / RR would make an A380neo for Emirates, we just don’t know what that price is. Nor do we know when it will become “affordable”, or even “business-critical”, to Emirates, if at all. If Emirates’ market does continue to grow, where’s the breaking point? At what point does the sovereign wealth fund of Dubai buy a big stake in Airbus, as a way of financing it / driving it through, underwriting the program? Cash up front, rather than cash on delivery?

        Those would be strange ways in which an aircraft program might get going, but we’re in for some strange times in aviation. Airport slot limitations have been a fact of life for some years, but tightening of those limits? Never thought we’d see that. Will we see more of that? Governments could simply say “that’s as big as the aviation market is allowed to get, no more growth”. Some of what could happen over the next decade could force some re-evaluation of what is presently sacrosanct or unthinkable, for airlines and manufacturers.

        • Quit dreaming about resurrecting the great white whale that is the 380. It’s dead and it’s not coming back.

          • It may well have a comeback some day when the plug is finally pulled on the stillborn 777X…

          • @Bryce the neccessary big halls for the A380 are being repurposed for other production lines. That ship has sailed.

            Cancelling the 777X might justify building a further stretch of the A350 some day. But for now order numbers barely sustain production of the slightly smaller A350-1000.

          • @ nofly
            All VLAs are currently in a precarious situation — and, yes, that includes the A350-1000. That’s why the writing is on the wall for the 777X.

            Halls can be built and re-purposed at any time, according to need. If Emirates says at a future date that it wants 400 new A380s with different engines on them, it may be hard for AB to resist. Just view it as being a bespoke ACJ project.

  8. ‘Although today’s airport caps at Amsterdam and Heathrow are on passengers, once workforce staffing returns to normal, some believe the cap on passengers will be lifted. Instead, caps on airplane operations might be stifled as a means of forcefully reducing carbon emissions at airports.’

    Ironically, if caps remained on pax – this would increase the number of flights as carriers would use aircraft with long and skinny capabilities, to fill them as much as possible – and serve as many destinations as possible.

    On a side note:

    I wonder how those carriers, who paid many millions of pounds for their slots at Heathrow – like to be told that it is pax limited?

    “So sorry, can’t have you flying in today – we’ve reached our max for the day, Try again tomorrow…”

  9. I am not sure but there might be some thinking among airlines at the moment that smaller is better.

    Many routes are completely messed up at the moment due to post-COVID problems. Capacity overall is down a lot but demand is up. Europe to Australia is a prime example. The result is that for many long distance routes the fares reach stratospheric levels. For example I was looking at September fares SIN-LHR and the fares are absolutely absurd. Most days there are no seats available and if you can get a seat on SQ it is SGD$10,000+/USD$7,000+ economy class fare. SIN-LHR on QF is SGD$16,000/US$11,000 business class while it was around US$4000 pre-covid. QF overall is in a mess, but their income for the last quarter reported was fantastic. BA is also through the roof in pricing. I expect the next quarter to be announced by SQ to be by far the best in their history since being founded (the previous quarter was their second best in history and fares on long distance almost doubled since then).

    I have seen it with SQ before: they have gone from 77W to A359 on routes and average fares went up a lot (and that was pre-covid). Airlines are learning that yield management is a lot more profitable than capacity management. The A359 and 787-9 have a bright future as the biggest profit makers for airlines.

  10. “observers speculate that the European Union may decide to impose flight capacity restrictions as one way to reduce aviation emissions”

    This is far and away the greatest threat to the 777 programme and others too. As part of their justification for CBDC’s the EU has as a core component the ability to allocate to citizens a carbon score and through the mechanisms afforded by the CBDC limit the purchase of carbon at an individual level.

    In practice, you will have a limit on the number of air-miles you are permitted to purchase. If any.

    Only this morning I read that Israel Airports Authority has announced that from March 31, 2023, a ban will be imposed on regular flights of four-engine jet aircraft to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv on “environmental grounds”.

    Already, there are retail banks who refuse to finance ICE auto mobiles and some institutional lenders prohibited from allocating funds to (alleged) carbon intensive industries such as aviation. The imminent imposition of CDBC’s will take these decisions out of their hands.

    Of course, the environmental argument is specious. Timid industry executives and media pundits choose to ignore this existential threat, look the other way or simply go along with it. Shame on them.

    • A lot of the EU’s (and other countries’) far-reaching environmental plans have had to take a back seat, now that the current energy crisis has come to the fore. It’s a bit hard to be preaching about emissions reduction when one is concurrently forced to revert to coal burning — even if only temporarily. The Green Movement must be utterly shocked by the growing list of countries that are (re-)considering nuclear power.

      Caps on air traffic will have a significant negative effect on economies — hardly a viable undertaking in the middle of an inflation-triggered economic downturn.

  11. Saying GE has better engines than RR five times, doesn’t make it truth. Maybe on social media but not with the airlines.

    I know RR beat GE & PW on the A330, got half the A380s and a lot of 787s. It seems the ultrafan is aimed at the A350 in size & thrust.

    RR went for the A350, GE for the 777x. I’m not sure if the judge is still out who made the right choice.

    737 MAX, 787 and 777 output has had challenges in recent years. GE executives must be scratching their heads now and then on strategy.

    • Strange that the claimed better RR Trent 1000 has only a 38% share against the GEnx.

      It`s true RR has a 50% market share with the A380, but the opponents were not modern powerplants but the old GP7200 which is basically a fusion of the GE90 core with a Pratt fan.
      That`s simply a generation ago.

      RR didn`t get any of the new B777 versions, it`s GE exclusive and it wasn`t a great base to start from.

      It`s known that the A35k suffers from lack of thrust and that the Trent architecture is at some limit.
      Trents have done very well but GE seems to have a little better now, you`ll see it with the B787 and on the A350 where a bit of power and efficency is missing. It seems that GE really nailed the GE90 and made mad profits with the B777.

      RR is moving ahead, I`m excited to see when and how they get the advanced going and their Ultrafan up.
      That should be a major step in WB engine tech, and i hope to see it soon.
      But if i see one thing, than it`s the unholy partnership of RR and Airbus that harms it, beause it seems only one OEM and one engine manufacture partner up.

  12. Why is the A380 brought up when people discuss the 777X that is much smaller than the 737-400?

    • Because Emirates is delighted by one and exasperated by the other 😏

      Other than that: they’re both VLAs, with meager order books.

      • Is Emirates delighted by the A380?
        They have been idling a third of their A380 since more than 18 months.

        • Every airline was idling various aircraft during the pandemic.

          The A380 earned 85% of Emirates profits pre-pandemic…and Tim Clark wants a neo.

          • In the case of the A380, you are not dealing with an in production aircraft but a terminated one.

            At best you are talking about 50% and as a number of airlines are grounding their, not that. RR offered the Trent 900+ but would not make TC a new engine. Ergo, A380 termination.

            All TC did was shoot Emirate in the foot by going with a sub fleet of Trent 900 that were not as good as the GP7000.

            The 787 would be a candidate for NEO at some point with a GTF (RR or PW) but that is a ways ahead.

            The A380 was designed as a 900 for maximum benefit and the only operation that said they wold buy it was Emirates. It was a much as the other airlines could handle as the 800 and even then it was very limited route wise.

            I find it impossible to believe Emirates got any ROI on the Edinburgh A380 route. They had too many and were putting them into loosing markets.

            Keep in mind its an aircraft overall performance and the A380 has no capacity for belly freight as pax luggage takes up all the space.

            A 7770300ER makes money on passengers as well as freight. So does a 787.

          • @TW

            “A 7770300ER makes money on passengers as well as freight. So does a 787.”

            They don’t make as much money as an Emirates A380, due to:
            – Lower load factors (no “wow factor”);
            – Lower premium seat count, and diminished premium experience.

            Tim Clark to CNN:
            “…We started flying the A380 into Heathrow six times a day in October of last year, and we haven’t had a [free] seat on any of them since,” Clark explained to CNN Travel.”


          • @Bryce

            Proof that there’re things more valuable than freight (pre-covid/post-covid reopening): room, space, luxury, freedom, status symbol etc. How much does EK charge for first class, business and prem. economy??

          • @ Pedro
            Even regular economy on Emirates is a luxury experience — the seat, the food, the IFE, the ambiance. No wonder people go out of their way for the experience — Tim Clark knows what he’s doing.

          • Bryce:

            First this would not be the first time that TC flat out lied. He did so during the A380 discussions and what RR was going to do with the Trent 900 claiming a 7% SFC improvement over the GP7000.

            Then the problems began and you never heard another peep out of TC how wonderful the Trent 900+ was (because it wasn’t). Obviously he offered RR the slot on the A380s and wishful thinking that RR in turn would make him a new engine (and Airbus would come out with the 900).

            Its still the same hype though who he thinks is going to bite is beyond me.

            And by the way, TC was the first one to squawk about the A380 and lack of freight capability. That too went quiet fast as he realized he was shooting himself in the foot for his other spin.

            Get an independent audit of Emirates and see where what costs are shifted to first. Then you can compare.

          • @dude,

            >A new engine for an aircraft that is out of production?

            Leeham News previously pointed to RR’s test engines for UltraFan, noted that they’re about the right size for A380s, mused on the possibility of just slapping 4 of those on an A380 and calling it a NEO.

            One feels that the tech is about there or thereabouts, it’s mostly going to be down to the time / resources within RR and Airbus to do it for real.

            If TC catches them at a moment when the relevant engineering teams are a bit idle, and he’s offering them the money that allows them to keep those teams together and gainfully employed whilst everyone waits to see what happens to the aviation market, it could end up being something RR and Airbus want to do.

          • @TW
            I you’d ever been on an Emirates A380, you’d know that TC has no need to lie: the plane is a money spinner for him. Unlike carriers such as AF and LH, Emirates ensured that its A380s became icons of comfort and luxury: people go out of their way to book on them — and that rakes in the cash.

        • EK is in the process of adding back more and more A380 as the world opens up and they have the crew ready.

    • ” … when people discuss the 777X that is much smaller than the 737-400″ ???

      • The 777-9 is smaller than the 747-400 and the 747-400 is much smaller than the A380.
        Why do people bring up the A380 every time they discuss the 777X?

        • Capacity wise the 777-9 is very close to the 747-400 though its 10 across seating will be a little tighter than on the 747. It’s also much lighter and burns much less fuel.

          The 777-9 IS significantly smaller than the 747-8i which IS significantly smaller than an A380-800.

  13. As set forth above, the primary purpose of currently proposed airport traffic caps is the reduction of noise and particulates for those living near the airport. In the event that this morphs into a CO2 emissions discussion, the airline industry in Europe is taking a first (modest) step toward direct carbon capture:

    “Yocova: Airbus gathers European airlines into direct air carbon capture fold”

  14. On the subject of continuing, ill-conceived efforts by the Dutch government to curtail commercial aviation:

    “Ryanair CEO lashes out at Dutch government plans to nearly triple air passenger tax”

    P.s. The ruling coalition needs the support of left-wing / green members of the Senate in order to get bills passed — and this type of measure is the price that’s exacted…

  15. Here’s some low-hanging fruit for anti-aviation environmental activists to tackle — might be a good exercise in prioritization:

    “In the EU, trucks clocked up so-called “deadhead” distances of around 34 billion kilometers (21 billion miles) in 2021, according to European Commission data. This equates to more than a fifth (21.2%) of the total distance traveled by road freight in the bloc last year, up from 20% in 2020.”

    “In the U.S., meanwhile, the distances driven by empty trucks decreased from 20.6% in 2020 to 14.8% in 2021, according to the American Transportation Research Institute. “Under the pressure of rising fuel prices, carriers achieved some of the lowest deadhead mileage in years,” it stated in an August report.”

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