A380 cost improvements limited to seating, for now: Bregier

  • MOM airplane doesn’t make sense.
  • A new MOM should have new technology and it’s not available until 2030.

June 9, 2015, c. Leeham Co. Cost improvements for the A380 will be limited for now to

Fabrice Bregier, CEO of Airbus. Image from The Telegraphy via Google images.

increasing seating capacity, the president and chief executive office of Airbus told Leeham News and Comment in an interview today.

Aside from taking weight out of the airplane, which is already being done, Fabrice Bregier said Performance Improvement Packages (PIPs), such as aerodynamic improvements and adjustments to the wingtips, would wait until–or if–Airbus re-engines the airplane. And Bregier said Airbus is in no hurry to make a decision about this, despite pressure from the largest A380 customer, Emirates Airline, to launch the neo.

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We want engine choice, say airlines at IATA

Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways, says sole-sourcing the engine on the 747-8 cost Boeing an order. BA bought the Airbus A380 instead. Photo source: SI.WSJ.net via Google images.

June 9, 2015, c. Leeham Co. Airlines want engine choices, not sole-source on airplanes, airlines said at the International Air Transport Assn. (IATA) Annual General Meeting in Miami Beach (FL).

Sole-sourcing cost Boeing a major order for the slow-selling 747-8, said Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways. Relations at the time between British and GE Aviation, the sole engine provider on the 747-8, were so poor BA decided instead to order the Airbus A380, where a choice between the Engine Alliance GP7200 and the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 was possible GE is a JV partner in Engine Alliance with Pratt & Whitney. BA bought Rolls.

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Emirates A350/787 bake-off remains wide open

Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline. Photo: Skift.com via Google images.

June 9, 2015, c. Leeham Co. Competition between Airbus and Boeing remains wide open between the A350-900 and the 787-10, says the president of Emirates Airline despite an Internet report that the carrier has tilted toward Boeing.

“No, I don’t know where that’s coming from,” Clark today told Leeham News and Comment on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Assn. Annual General Meeting in Miami Beach. “If anything, the 10 is not coming up with the thrust requirements that we need. We’re working with Boeing on that, whereas the A350-900 has got bags of thrust.

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IATA: Lufthansa welcomes US carriers to Mid-East dispute

Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa Group

June 7, 2015: The chief executive officer of Lutfhansa Airlines said he welcomes the Big Three US airliners to the dispute over whether the Big Three Middle Eastern carriers are unfairly competing against legacy airlines.

Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa Group, told a press conference on the opening day of the IATA Annual General Meeting that LH has long been complaining about Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways and their aggressive expansion, first in Europe and now the US.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are challenging open skies and subsidies to the ME3.

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Widebody sales prospects this year

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June 3, 2015, c. Leeham Co. Sales of widebody jets have slowed going into the Paris Air Show in under two weeks. Airbus sold six A330-200s, four A330-200Fs and

Boeing hopes to make a sale to Emirates Airlines later this year for the 787-10, giving a boost to this program and acing out Airbus in the process.

25 A330-900s, or 35 widebodies. No A350s. No A380s. Boeing sold three 747-8s, one 767, 25 777 Classics and (net) 34 787s, or 63 widebodies.

But we expect sales to pick up for the second half of the year, propelled by what appears to be enticing hints by Airbus that it may have finally achieved sales from China for its long-stalled A330ceo Regional airliner.

But the big prize, the Emirates Airlines order for 50-100 Airbus A350s or Boeing 787-10s (the number varies), is likely a late-in-the-year deal. There are a couple of others of decent size being competed as well.

And then there is the prospect of the launch of the Airbus A380neo.


  • Airbus looks to Air Show to boost orders
  • Boeing continues to hope 777F will save the day on the Classic
  • Deals by year-end hoped for.
  • Next big opportunity: the Dubai Air Show.

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Pontifications: re-engining airliners and the A380

Hamilton (5)

By Scott Hamilton

June 1, 2015, c. Leeham Co. The Paris Air Show begins in two weeks. One thing that won’t happen is the launch of the Airbus A380neo.

We still think it will happen, though at a later date.

Re-engining the A380 is highly controversial. The A380 is the plane critics love to hate. You can argue whether it should have been built in the first place. You can argue whether it was 10 years too soon. You can argue whether Airbus misjudged the size of the market. You can even argue its passenger appeal. I haven’t flown on the A380 yet, so I can’t speak from personal experience on the latter. I’ve previously discussed the other points.

You can argue whether the airplane should be re-engined. Leeham News concluded in January 2014 Airbus really had no choice but to re-engine the A380 if it wants to continue offering the model. If done inexpensively (a relative term, to be sure), it makes sense given the arrival around 2020 of the Boeing 777-9. It’s when design creep happens that trouble arises. Just ask Boeing on the 747-8.

Emirates Airlines says it will buy up to 200 A380neos if Airbus proceeds. Qatar Airways expresses interest. Lufthansa Airlines said a neo is needed to keep the A380 viable in the future, though it hasn’t taken the next step of saying it will buy more.

Re-engining is hardly new. Let’s take a look. Read more

Paris Air Show: Qatar and others

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June 1, 2015, c. Leeham Co. It could be called the Qatar Airways Air Show.

Qatar Airways plans to have five airliners on display at the Paris Air Show in two weeks: the Airbus A319, A320, A350, A380 and the Boeing 787. The carrier hasn’t announced whether it will provide an aerial display as it has at previous air shows, but Qatar may well have more airliners there than Airbus or Boeing.

As for manufacturers other than Airbus and Boeing, we don’t expect anything of consequence from these.


  • Irkut, COMAC, Mitsubishi, Sukoi and ATR are other major aircraft producers that will be at the Paris Air Show.
  • Engine makers CFM International, GE Aviation, Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney and Engine Alliance will also be there.
  • An update on Airbus expectations.

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Paris Air Show Preview: Airbus

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May 3, 2015, c. Leeham Co. The Paris Air Show is June 15-19 for the trade/industrial portion. Beginning this week, Leeham News and Comment will provide our Airbus_logo_3D_BlueMarket Assessment and insight about what to expect. We begin this weekly exercise by looking at Airbus. Future posts will look at Boeing, Bombardier, Embraer and other major players at the PAS.


  • First, an overarching look at what to expect;
  • What to expect for Airbus at the show;
  • The future of the A380neo;
  • Outlook for the A330ceo/neo; and
  • Outlook for the A321LR.

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Can PIPs bring the A380 what Emirates Airlines wants?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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26 April 2015, C. Leeham Co: With Emirates Airlines deciding for Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines for its 50 new A380s and admitting that it would accept that this could be for all of them if Airbus does not proceed with an A380neo, the time has come to look at how much incremental improvements can be brought on the present A380.

Our proprietary aircraft model is particularly suited for such studies as we can change any parameter and read the result off the efficiency scale. We can also play with the aircraft’s configuration and see what effect it will have. Based on Emirates’ new configuration of A380s equipped with the Trent 900 engine, we have checked what incremental improvements are doable and what would they bring.


  • Our deep analysis of 18 Dec. 2014 showed that the present A380 is the most economical aircraft one can operate if one can fill it to normal load factors.
  • Emirates COO Tim Clark complements this fact with the statement, “It is Emirates’ most profitable aircraft” in the press conference in London last week when announcing the Trent 900 deal with Rolls-Royce.
  • Clark’s statement also covers the fact the passengers prefer A380 over other aircraft if they have a choice, it operates with higher load-factors then Emirates other aircraft.
  • The A380 is a rather special design and its characteristics make Product Improvement Packages, PIPs, possible in a number of areas. We discuss which they would be and model their effect on overall performance.
  • While the sought-after 10%-13% improvement would not be in there, incremental changes can cover up to half of that with more or less plausible business cases. Airbus is right now deciding which of these they see as worthwhile and introducing them.

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Rolls-Royce displaces Engine Alliance for Emirates A380 order

Rolls-Royce, in a major upset, won the Emirates Airlines order to power 50 Airbus A380s ordered in November 2013. The win displaces Engine Alliance, which to now has been the sole-source provider for EK’s A380s.

Two sources confirmed the RR win. RR and Airbus did not comment on the win. EK and RR have not made any announcement. EA also did not comment.

According to one source, EK determined the RR Trent 900 was determined to be up to 4% more efficient than EA. But it’s unclear if there were other factors involved. Read more