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Old 14th February 2019, 11:01   #76
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Default Re: Days may be numbered for world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380

It's happening!

Quote:
Airbus SE scrapped the slow-selling A380 superjumbo model that was once its flagship program after just a dozen years in service.

The European planemaker will cease deliveries of the double-decker jet in 2021 after Mideast carrier Emirates, the only remaining major buyer, cut its orderbook by 39 aircraft, it said in a statement Thursday.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...tes-cuts-order
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Old 14th February 2019, 20:57   #77
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Default Re: Days may be numbered for world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380

Four-engined passenger airlines ‎

Despite being a fan of the A380 I must reconcile that the inevitable is happening. Alas. Sigh. A technological marvel, a gentle giant and a heroic business gamble by Airbus. ‎

The first 4-engined jet airliner, in the late 1940s, the Comet did not enjoy the success it deserved but the world learnt a lot about metal stress that made the skies safer for all. It's developer de Havilland deserves praise for its pioneering courage.

Between 1959 and 1967 four new 4-engined airliners, which were giants of their times, followed - the American Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8, the British Vickers VC-10 and the Russian Ilyushin IL-62. Till this point the three leading nations of the day could each afford to make their own products.*‎Boeing bet more than its networth in the early & mid-1950s to develop the 707 on the expectation that the US military will buy several tanker-transport versions and recce versions. Their bet proved right. Today it has been forgotten that prior to 1960 for a quarter century the dominant airliner name was Douglas. More passengers flew in a Douglas plane before 1960 than had ever flown collectively in all other aircraft types of all countries since the Wright brothers in 1903!*

In round one the production figures were*Boeing 707, 1017; Douglas DC-8, ‎556; Vickers VC-10, 54; Ilyushin, *IL-62 262. The Boeing figures do not include production of military variants. These birds were typically configured for ~150 to 165 passengers in two classes. Today the A321 and Boeing 737-800 carry ~220 and are considered medium capacity airliners.

In round two, over the late 1960s to early 1990s, cost of developing these birds became so prohibitive that *the Europeans collaborated to build Airbus, the Americans still had the muscle to go it alone and the Russians struggled with their gradually weakening economy. Out came the Boeing 747 family, the Ilyushin IL-86 and the Airbus A340 family. These were configured typically for 250 to 375 in two or three classes. The definition of high capacity had changed. Production numbers were Boeing 747, 1537; Airbus A340 family, 277; IL-86 & 96, 136.
*‎
Up to this point four engines were needed for long over water stretches. From an aerodynamic and kinetic energy point of view 2 more powerful engines are more efficient than 4 smaller ones; and just one is the best! ‎

The Airbus A380 may be the last big 4-engined airliner we'll see. Today with extended range twin engine ‎operations permitting flying on a single engine for 6 hours the need for a 4-spooler is dying out. From the excitement of having airliners with two, three and four power plants we shall very soon come to almost all having only two and in some ways boringly looking like each other.*‎

The airliner that gave us many highs will bow out of its 800 metre long assembly hall in two years. 234 A380s have been built with a few more to be delivered. Only the Antonov An-225 is bigger in weight & engine thrust but of that only one was ever built. In wingspan, that primary metric of any flying creature, only Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose was greater and of that too only a single example was made and it flew but once! From the pantheon of production aircraft the A380 has to its credit - *highest normal take off weight - 575 tonnes; widest wing span - 80 metres; highest number of passengers - 825 in all economy seating; highest power plant thrust - * a staggering 145,000 kgf; largest galley; longest wiring - ~515 kms; *‎largest wing area - 9100 sq feet *; tallest tail fin - 24 metres;

For the time being passenger aircraft size seems to have maxxed out. But the increasing traffic density at the world's busiest 25 airports means the need for fewer flights with bigger aircrafts is still there and the need may revive in 10 years time. Who knows a A380 Nouvelle Generation may come or a cargo version revived to ship all those Amazon parcels! ‎

PS: I have ignored the supersonic Concorde and Tu-144.
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Old 14th February 2019, 21:53   #78
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There is one other four engine aircraft still very much in use today. It rarely gets mentioned with the heavy metal as it does short haul. I am referring to the BAe 146, derived from the Avro RJ.

Neat little four jet engine plane. One of the few planes certified for very steep approaches such a London City.

A little Anorak fact: it is the most successful British jet airliner.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Aerospace_146


Jeroen
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Old 15th February 2019, 12:26   #79
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Default Re: Days may be numbered for world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380

Airbus could never get the American airlines to buy a single A380. They simply had no use for it. When an aviation market that big doesn't need you, you are severely restricted. Add to it development of competing airports, each with their pet airline meant that traffic got split and was opposite of what the A380 needed.
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Old 15th February 2019, 13:04   #80
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Default Re: Days may be numbered for world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380

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Originally Posted by Malyaj View Post
Airbus could never get the American airlines to buy a single A380. They simply had no use for it. When an aviation market that big doesn't need you, you are severely restricted. Add to it development of competing airports, each with their pet airline meant that traffic got split and was opposite of what the A380 needed.
Add China & India to it and that meant the fate of A380 was already sealed.

It will be interesting to see if both Airbus and Boeing would re-look at jumbos a decade later and post new generation wings introduction.
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Old 15th February 2019, 15:47   #81
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Default Re: Days may be numbered for world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380

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Add China & India to it and that meant the fate of A380 was already sealed.

It will be interesting to see if both Airbus and Boeing would re-look at jumbos a decade later and post new generation wings introduction.
Yes China too. I am not sure why the A380 never really took off there. One airline, not sure which, did operate a few. I think China's case is similar to that of the US market - huge intra country traffic but no real transshipment hub. It's Asian rivals such as Hong Kong, Singapore and KL are too well entrenched in the transshipment business.

India was never a serious market for this sort of aircraft. The A380 has always needed an anchor airline in a region and I did not see any airline in India flirting with that kind of investment. The most successful of our airlines - Indigo is the exact antithesis of what an A380 aspires to be.
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Old 15th February 2019, 16:28   #82
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Default Re: Days may be numbered for world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
There is one other four engine aircraft still very much in use today. It rarely gets mentioned with the heavy metal as it does short haul. I am referring to the BAe 146, derived from the Avro RJ.

Neat little four jet engine plane. One of the few planes certified for very steep approaches such a London City.

A little Anorak fact: it is the most successful British jet airliner.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Aerospace_146


Jeroen
It was in fact the Avro RJ which was derived from the BAe 146. The notable change was the use of improved ALF 507 engines manufactured by Allied Signal who had acquired the production line of existing ALF 502 series from Lycoming. Allied Signal itself later merged with Honeywell, which now supports this engine type.

I am surprised at how many of these were built. One would assume that a small aircraft such as this gunning on 4 engines would have prohibitive operating costs per seat per mile.

Sorry for back to back posts. Mods please merge

Last edited by Malyaj : 15th February 2019 at 16:28. Reason: Back to back posts
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Old 15th February 2019, 16:31   #83
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Default Re: Days may be numbered for world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380

I think the A380 failure is the result of Airbus reading the airline market just a tiny bit incorrectly.
Airbus assumed that the hub-and-spoke model of air travel would prevail and designed the A380 with that model in mind. The A380 serves as an excellent long-distance carrier and is probably the best in business at it.
But unfortunately for Airbus, the hub-and-spoke model was fading as traveler priorities were changing. As more and more people were taking to the skies, most travelers wanted to avoid the hassles of multi-leg journeys that the hub-and-spoke model entailed. Direct flights between the origin and destinations were always preferred considering less fatigue on the traveler.
For the airlines this would mean a mid-size aircraft that can land at most airports and not just large airports while also being able to fly long distances.

Boeing read this correctly and designed the 787 to be mid-sized while making it light and efficient and thus have great range.
Thus the 787 saw good success. Airbus was a little late to the party but eventually came up with the A350 which is the competitor to 787.

The aircraft was a technological marvel no doubt but it simply was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
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Old 15th February 2019, 18:34   #84
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Default Re: Days may be numbered for world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380

This will be a loss for passengers. The cheapest USA-IND flight that I ever traveled was in an Emirates A380 (NYC-DXB-BLR) , the fare was 30% less than the usual fare, even on a summer vacation. The sheet seating capacity may have made this possible.
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Old 15th February 2019, 19:27   #85
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Default Re: Days may be numbered for world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
Who knows a A380 Nouvelle Generation may come or a cargo version revived to ship all those Amazon parcels! ‎
Its unlikely a cargo version would come out as it maxes out due to weight before the whole volume is occupied:

Consider a comparison with the Boeing 747-400F, a popular air freighter. The 747 has a maximum take-off weight of 448,000 kilograms to the A380’s 575,000. In addition, the 747 has a cargo capacity of 710 m3 to the hypothetical A380-F’s 1134 m3. The A380-F would be able to carry 60% more volume than the 747, but only 28% more weight. It wouldn’t be fully loaded at typical levels of air cargo density, or at least nothing close to what can be supported by the thrust capacity of the 747.

https://www.flexport.com/blog/airbus...rgo-equivalent


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Originally Posted by Malyaj View Post

India was never a serious market for this sort of aircraft. The A380 has always needed an anchor airline in a region and I did not see any airline in India flirting with that kind of investment. The most successful of our airlines - Indigo is the exact antithesis of what an A380 aspires to be.
Kingfisher Airlines did order 10 A380s back in 2008 but.....

https://www.livemint.com/Companies/u...ers-to-10.html

Article above is from 2008, even back then Kingfisher's plans were risky and predictions turned out to be true:

"Another expert saw the move fraught with risks. “Kingfisher was bold in ordering five A380s. It will be even bolder if it increases the order to 10. (This is) a risky move with large upside if everything “goes right" for the airline and equally large downside if things do not go right," saidCraig Jenks, president of Airline/Aircraft Projects Inc., a leading New York-based air transport consulting and advisory services firm, in an email.

The key to filling up an A380 is being able to operate on busy routes, Jenks said. “Carriers such as Emirates and Singapore Airlines have ordered whole fleets (of the A380), but they have very large, very successful hubs, with huge amounts of connecting traffic. Indian airports do not have that hubbing potential due to infrastructure issues," he said."

Last edited by Foxbat : 15th February 2019 at 19:32.
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Old 15th February 2019, 21:23   #86
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Default Re: Days may be numbered for world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380

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Kingfisher Airlines did order 10 A380s back in 2008 but...
My bad. What I intended to write was "I do not see.." and instead I typed "I did not see..."

Yes, who can forget that Kingfisher announcement for A380s. I am not saying this with the benefit of hindsight, but believed firmly even back then that we are never going to see any A380 in the livery of any Indian airline, least of all Kingfisher. Their hub in India was Bangalore which was not capable of handling 380s. Their acquisition of that time - Air Deccan too was based at Bangalore and was plagued by chronic operational problems. It was a marriage between a glossy (on the surface) airline and a rusty (inside out) airline. With their combined incompetence and inherently different cultures there was no way they could execute what they were aiming for.

I even believed (though without any facts to support) that the order was all optics and bombast by a person notorious for it.
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Old 16th February 2019, 10:59   #87
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Default Re: Days may be numbered for world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380

With most Airports refusing to accept them the 'bird' is doomed. I do not hear of any airports changing their views of late. Hard luck AB380.
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Old 16th February 2019, 15:33   #88
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With most Airports refusing to accept them the 'bird' is doomed. I do not hear of any airports changing their views of late. Hard luck AB380.

Its not so much refusing as simply not being able to accommodate these giants. A lot of infrastructure will need to be adapted. From gates, parking slots to taxiways, luggage handling etc.

Still, it is shame. Nothing rivals the business class on a 380.

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Old 17th February 2019, 11:07   #89
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Default Re: Days may be numbered for world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380

Just so we have the right perspective. Only production of the A380 is coming to an end in 2021 as further orders are not likely. The bid birds will be flying in full airline service for several more years. Retiring these giants will only start in earnest from the early 2030s. My assessment is that ultimately the pressure on the worlds top 30 busiest airport city pairs will bring back the need for a giant passenger transport.
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Old 17th February 2019, 12:46   #90
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Default Re: Days may be numbered for world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380

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Just so we have the right perspective. Only production of the A380 is coming to an end in 2021 as further orders are not likely. The bid birds will be flying in full airline service for several more years. Retiring these giants will only start in earnest from the early 2030s.
That is very likely. first couple of A380’s were already scrapped last year. That is within 10 years of them being build. There is already one in a museum too.

Many airliners from the past became freighters towards the end of their useful life and soldiered on for at least a decade after the last passenger version made its final touch down. That is very unlikely to happen with the A380. There would be a massive cost to convert this plane, re-certify it and too few of them to make it economically feasible. And none of the other problems the passenger version has would go away either. Is there a market for such a huge freight version, upgrade to infrastructure at airports etc.


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My assessment is that ultimately the pressure on the worlds top 30 busiest airport city pairs will bring back the need for a giant passenger transport.
Part of what fuelled the initial expectation on the A380 was the believe in the hub/spoke airport concept over the point to point. Yes, we do have hub/spoke arrangements, but at the same time, twin engine planes are extremely good in doing the point to point routes as well. I can fly direct to most American large cities even from the Netherlands!

Even so, more passengers will mean the system is in need for some major changes. In all major European cities with major busy airports the discussion is not necessarily about expanding the current airport, but adding more airports. Everybody wants to fly, but nobody wants to live close to an airport for all the (environment, noise, pollution etc) reasons.

We have seen a massive pubic outcry over possible extension of the number of slots at Amsterdam airport. Different alternatives are expanding at Lelystad, Eindhoven or build a couple of runways of the coast into the North Sea. But just adding more capacity to an existing very very busy hub, might simply not be an appropiate answer going forward.

There is an emerging self awareness with people on what aviation does to the environment. A new generation in Europe is about to take off travelling for leisure, but they might not take to the sky. Certainly for travel within Europe. They will just as happily take the train or other means. My daughter and husband on principle grounds will never take a flight under two hours as they believe the environmental toll is just to high.

The environment in which aviation will need to prove itself and will need to operate is likely to change rapidly in the coming decades. Certainly in Europe at least. Which is likely to see very different rationale and different consideration being considered than what we have seen in the past.

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