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A380 Use On Domestic Routes  
User currently offlineCHRISBA777ER From UK - England, joined Mar 2001, 5964 posts, RR: 62
Posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 4850 times:

I think the cases for the Domestic use of the A380 worldwide are quite different. Here are my thoughts:

Japan

Japan is much smaller than the Indian subcontinent but has seen the 747-400D and 777-300A on domestic routes for some years. The problem is that the Shinkansen trains are not much slower, once the congestion in the air at the heavily slot constrained NRT and HND, and to a lesser extent FUK and KIX, and the traffic getting to and from these places is factored in. It has not always been the case, but generally the bullet train is roughly comparable in terms of journey time for city centre to city centre travel. They are roughly the same in terms of luxury, but the train offers per-head costs that are dramatically lower, and so generally, the plane is more expensive (although this is not always the case). The 777 is about as large as one can get operating the very tight turnarounds that JL and NH have to have if they are to keep breathing space in the schedules and their utilisation rates high. The A380 in a D configuration would be circa 700 pax at least, probably a great deal more than that, indeed some analysts have speculated that it would be likely that they would cram the absolute maximum in that the airframe is certified for which IIRC is 800-odd.

The point is that it is generally held that you cannot legitimately claim to be able to turn around that many pax on a 45 minute turnaround - unloading alone will probably take half an hour even if the ground crew are ready and on top of their game. Nobody is better in the world at turning around large numbers of widebodies very quickly and granted their operations tend to be geared towards this, but many analysts have expressed grave doubts as to whether you can turn around a D-configured A388 in 45 mins and do it consistently all through the day, and I am one of them. If you have ten flights per day with a 45 min turnaround, and half of them have a relatively minor ten minute delay, you are running 50 mins late by the end of the day overrunning the whole allotted turnaround time by five mins - not ideal. Another thing to factor in is that occasionally you will have an A380 going tech - when that happens that is an awful lot of pax to find room for without too much delay. It is a problem they have with the 747s, but an A380 is that much larger and the problem is that much worse.

I think if the A388 was able to offer comparable CASM to the Shinkansen on the trunk routes then I would say JL and NH would have pressured Boeing into building one. The Japanese market is one of the few business sectors in the world where the demand is there immediately to replace a number (note: not all) of 773 and 744 flights one for one with A388s, but there would unquestionably be changes in the schedules required. Will the CASM benefits over the 777/747 combo offset the longer turnaround time and considerable expense in dedicated training and crewing pools? Highly contentious, but I dont think so. If you add the fact that both NH and JL are very unlikely to order Airbus anyway, even though there is no comparable Boeing product, and the fact that some of the stations that they would use the A380 to may not be A380 ready, the case for the A380 in Japan seems bleak. The 777 is roughly on the sweetspot on the capacity vs turnaround time graph and it works nicely for them; so much so, that I can see both JL and NH being all 777/787 airlines for the widebody fleet in future.

India

In India there is no Shinkansen bullet trains, and the country is much, much larger. With such a vast population there is a burgeoning air travel requirement for flights in India. Traditionally the percentage of the population that are economically within the target group for air travel has not been high enough but as the undoubted economic superpower in the region this has changed dramatically. As with Japan, the A380’s main competitor is the train which is far, far cheaper but vastly more time consuming than air travel. I have speculated before that if the A380 is to succeed anywhere on Earth in a domestic role, it would be here.

Unfortunately for A380’s prospects with India’s domestic carriers, the infrastructure simply is not in place for widespread use of the A380 at present. Shuttle services between Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta and Delhi are wonderful in principle but the airport infrastructure in these cities is not geared up for very large scale A380 use at the moment. Gate space, equipment, and passenger facilities allowing three or four lots of 700-odd pax per flight all day every day just is not in place in India. If it were, then the A380 would rule the skies over the region, as there can be little doubt that the aircraft’s CASM advantage would be very hard to beat.

The A380 would probably not be a one class economy shuttle in my opinion, but more than likely have some premium class seating as well. The changes needed to make the A380 viable in India as an alternative to the train are not really that large, but would probably stretch to new terminals if large scale usage is to be contemplated. Utilisation rates are not quite so important in India mainly because turnarounds are much longer as a matter of course, and so in this respect the A380 is more suited than in Japan. Often it is the Indian way to keep using something, often way, way above or more than its intended limit until it breaks (note: this does NOT apply to airlines – they are extremely safe) and it may be that the airports will designate a number of bays to be A380 ready, fit a double-deck jet-bridge, and that will be that – the view could be that the retail/catering/immigration/baggage services will sort themselves out etc.

Ironically, the Indian subcontinent may well be the A380s saving grace, as Emirates, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, and probably Etihad as well, likely to use the type into Indian airports at some stage, such is the massive growth shown on these routes. Were British Airways to order the type it seems likely that it would seek to deploy the A380 to India. It seems unlikely therefore that we will not see the A380 in India, but probably equally unlikely that we will see it outside of Mumbai and Delhi for the time being. In the medium/long term, once improvements in infrastructure and transport links are made, the A380 may be a formidable competitor on the Indian shuttle routes, but one suspects even larger variants such as the proposed -900 series, or maybe a competing Boeing design will be in service by then.

China

Once domestic traffic keeps on improving as it surely will, then the A380 is very likely to be seen in Chinese skies on domestic routes, and much sooner than say, India. All three of the Chinese majors will probably end up ordering a VLA at some point and it seems likely that the A380 will get a good market share; indeed China Southern have already ordered five. In the medium/long term the hub centres of Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing and also Hong Kong will easily be able to accommodate A380-sized traffic on trunk routes amongst each other.

USA

Aside from the fact that none of the US majors (CO, DL, AA, UA, NW, US) are likely to order the A380, it is extremely doubtful whether the A380 will ever be used domestically. The reason for this is that the US market has shown much more of a leaning towards frequency as one of the main market drivers in recent years and of the above airlines only two operate anything larger than the 777-200ER for this very reason. In the past it was quite common to see large widebodies such as the Tristar, DC10, and 747 Classic on domestic routes but as the market has fragmented we have seen city pairs that previously had one 757 or 767 rotation per day now getting three Regional Jet departures as airlines have determined that the US consumer wants convenience of a choice of departures. The associated costs of this strategy caused what analysts refer to as the “RJ Boom” in the US, and in my opinion was one of the key reasons behind the slew of major Chapter XI filings since 2001. Although some have noted an apparent change in some airline’s strategies in this respect, the US market continues to be overwhelmingly dominated by narrowbodies and regional jets and this will probably not change anytime soon. Does the A380 have a chance as a sort of Wal-Mart 700-seat LAX-HNL or JFK-LAX/SFO/IAH shuttle? Unlikely in my opinion. If the advantages of a far superior CASM over the fewer frequencies offered were so compelling, we would see far larger aircraft being used domestically in the US.

Europe

Europe boasts the largest concentration of A380-ready airports in the world, a very large percentage of the population who fly regularly, de-regulated Open Skies legislation in place, and in the case of FRA, CDG, and LHR, unarguably the region’s three largest and most important hubs, serious slot constraint issues. This should, on paper, make it the most logical choice for A380 use domestically. It has not been discussed at length really yet but I feel that it is quite likely.

Granted, it is unlikely that any airline is going to order the A380 purely for domestic use, but Air France and Lufthansa are two airlines that do use their 747 fleets on domestic routes (Corsica and Berlin are two that spring to mind) in between long-haul sectors which does wonders for utilisation rates. If Iberia were to order the type it would almost certainly use it to connect Madrid to the Canary Islands which could at a stretch be considered to be domestic use. This will be the case in the Middle East with Emirates more than likely.

In the ultimate form, could a European LoCo shuttle service work with the A380? Probably not, as turnaround time is vital and narrowbodies are less risky, but are the city-pairs there? It is difficult to envisage them, to be honest. To get the kind of traffic figures a domestically configured A380 would need (at a decent yield) to be profitable, you would have to go for the leisure markets which mean very seasonal business and rock-bottom yields. In-flight retail and catering services are good money earners for the European LoCos, but is there time to offer these services to that many people on a one hour sector? No, of course not. For the moment then, only the legacies upping utilisation rates with short cargo-heavy domestic sectors are the likely to be using the A380 domestically.


What do you mean you dont have any bourbon? Do you know how far it is to Houston? What kind of airline is this???
16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6924 posts, RR: 46
Reply 1, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 4778 times:

Interesting analysis. I don't see A380's being used much for any short-haul routes for several reasons; the first is turn-around time. It could easily get to the point where loading, unloading and baggage retrieval takes far longer than the actual flight. Another reason is capital utilization; with the capital cost of the A380 the airline will want to keep it in the air as much as possible, and short-haul is not the way to do it. Also, the life of the plane is dictated as much by cycles as by hours, and the large planes are generally designed for low cycles and high hours, so using it for short haul would drastically shorten its economical life span.


The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineStylo777 From Germany, joined Feb 2006, 2978 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 4599 times:

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Thread starter):
Lufthansa are two airlines that do use their 747 fleets on domestic routes

this is not correct! LH uses a lot of A300's between FRA and TXL, but never a B747. Occasionally they use a A340 between FRA and MUC, but this is very exceptional.

There is no need for domestic or continental configurated A380's within Europe. Most airlines uses bigger equipment for example FRA-LHR LH with A300 (almost 280pax) and BA with B767 (almost 240pax) and that's really enough.


User currently offlineJayinKitsap From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 769 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 4549 times:

The 744D and its predecessors had specific modifications/upgrades to handle the high cycles of a domestic shuttle. Even so the trend has been to go smaller. I actually think that Airbus would serve the short haul WB market with a 330D or 350D. Boeing did create the 783 for this area where a lot of weight was taken out of the plane so the rigors of frequent landings can be handled by the standard gear. So far it has only seen orders from the Japan market.

I think the 380 is too big both in OEW and the ability to turn around quickly to effectively penetrate the short haul market.


User currently offlineCHRISBA777ER From UK - England, joined Mar 2001, 5964 posts, RR: 62
Reply 4, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 4532 times:

Quoting Stylo777 (Reply 3):
Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Thread starter):
Lufthansa are two airlines that do use their 747 fleets on domestic routes

this is not correct! LH uses a lot of A300's between FRA and TXL, but never a B747. Occasionally they use a A340 between FRA and MUC, but this is very exceptional.

There is no need for domestic or continental configurated A380's within Europe. Most airlines uses bigger equipment for example FRA-LHR LH with A300 (almost 280pax) and BA with B767 (almost 240pax) and that's really enough

I understood they use the 747 sometimes on the FRA-TXL routes for the cargo uplift. Cant remember where I read it, but im sure it was on here. Either way, thanks for setting me straight.



What do you mean you dont have any bourbon? Do you know how far it is to Houston? What kind of airline is this???
User currently offlineAlphascan From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 937 posts, RR: 13
Reply 5, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 4452 times:

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Thread starter):
The associated costs of this strategy caused what analysts refer to as the “RJ Boom” in the US, and in my opinion was one of the key reasons behind the slew of major Chapter XI filings since 2001.

If RJs were a contributor to the airline slump of the early 00's, especially the Chapter 11 filings of UA, US, DL and NW, I can think of several other contributors which played a much larger role:

1. The transparency of pricing brought by the internet and the sea change in methods of distribution.

2. The price of fuel, especially in '03 and '04.

3. Productivity levels.

4. 9/11

5. Food Costs

6. Pillows

7. Hot towels

8. RJs


#5 thru 7 are tongue in cheek. Considering the least efficeient RJs are just now beginning to be taken out of the US domestic market, I don't think they were a major contributor to the lean times of the early 00s.



"To he who only has a hammer in his toolbelt, every problem looks like a nail."
User currently offlineBoomBoom From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 4426 times:

Quote:
“A380 has the capability to carry 850 people on board in an all-economy configuration — which is 100 more passengers than what the Radhani Express carries — at per seat cost which is less than train cost,” said Mr Leahy. Typically, the flight time for connecting metros will be anywhere between two to three hours, as compared to at least 18 hours through Rajdhani Express.

Incidentally, Air Deccan managing director G R Gopinath, who was on board the flight from Toulouse to Delhi on Sunday, has shown interest in acquiring an A380 and fly it on domestic destinations, said Mr Leahy. “We are sure some smart airline operator would see value in the proposition,” he added.

However, one hitch for prospective A380 customers in India would be the delivery schedule. The earliest that Airbus would be able to deliver aircraft on new orders would be 2012-13. “Our production lines are booked for the next five years,” said Mr Leahy.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...w_aircraft/articleshow/2009455.cms


User currently offlineStylo777 From Germany, joined Feb 2006, 2978 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 4314 times:

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 5):

I understood they use the 747 sometimes on the FRA-TXL routes for the cargo uplift. Cant remember where I read it, but im sure it was on here. Either way, thanks for setting me straight.

the only time TXL saw a B747 was during special charter operations for example World Cup...


User currently offlineGemuser From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 5682 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 4088 times:

What about Oz?

You will certainly see QF A380 operating between SYD & MEL on international tags. SYD/MEL-PER is also likely once the aircraft has been in service a few years. A SYD or MEL-BNE tag is also possible if the A380 gets on BNE-LAX, which has to be about even money at the moment. International tag do carry domestic pax, even if they operate from international terminals.

I suppose that SYD/MEL-PER wll be the only "domestic only" domestic route. QF have used B742/743 & 744 on this route at peak times for many years and is now useing B743s quite consistantly.

Gemuser



DC23468910;B72172273373G73873H74374475275376377L77W;A319 320321332333343;BAe146;C402;DHC6;F27;L188;MD80MD85
User currently offlineBohica From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2705 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3995 times:

The only domestic use I can see of an A380 is a tag-on to an international flight or a reposition to/from a maintenance base.

User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23074 posts, RR: 20
Reply 10, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3929 times:

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Thread starter):
Granted, it is unlikely that any airline is going to order the A380 purely for domestic use, but Air France and Lufthansa are two airlines that do use their 747 fleets on domestic routes

A LH flight FRA-MUC strictly for positioning is not out of the question. If SA were ever to get some, a similar argument might be made for JNB-CPT. And who knows, QF might too if they have a bird that would sit on the ground for 4 or 5 hours at SYD otherwise.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineFlyDreamliner From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2759 posts, RR: 15
Reply 11, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3898 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 10):
Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Thread starter):
Granted, it is unlikely that any airline is going to order the A380 purely for domestic use, but Air France and Lufthansa are two airlines that do use their 747 fleets on domestic routes

A LH flight FRA-MUC strictly for positioning is not out of the question. If SA were ever to get some, a similar argument might be made for JNB-CPT. And who knows, QF might too if they have a bird that would sit on the ground for 4 or 5 hours at SYD otherwise.

It is very unlikely you will see an LH A380 do a domestic, even for repositioning. LH positions specific fleets to specific bases. The 747-400s only operate out of FRA while a higher concentration of A340-600s run from MUC. It is almost inconcievable to me that they will operate the A380 out of MUC, which has tended to use smaller long-haul aircraft. My guess is that the A380 fleet will be operated entirely out of FRA and won't be run domestically. Perhaps they may split up the 747-8i's between FRA and MUC like they have the A340-600s, but they could very easily station them all at one or the other.

They like to keep their fleets to their respective bases - as it keeps things running much more smoothly.



"Let the world change you, and you can change the world"
User currently offlineYULWinterSkies From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 2180 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3858 times:

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Thread starter):
Air France and Lufthansa are two airlines that do use their 747 fleets on domestic routes (Corsica and Berlin are two that spring to mind)

Exceptional (seasonal only I think) on AF too, and I believe it's out of ORY, ie the 744s which used to operate to the overseas french departments, so if Corsica gets widebody service again in the future, it will more likely be on the 77W high-density seating.



When I doubt... go running!
User currently offlineBeaucaire From Syria, joined Sep 2003, 5252 posts, RR: 25
Reply 13, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3796 times:

Wouldn't be surprised to see one day an A380 doing Doha -Dubaï...
QR are currently operation 8 flights/day on that route,and knowing the explosion of business in the region,it would not surprise me at all.
Some of the current flights use already A330-20à aircraft.



Please respect animals - don't eat them...
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23074 posts, RR: 20
Reply 14, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3583 times:

Quoting FlyDreamliner (Reply 11):
It is very unlikely you will see an LH A380 do a domestic, even for repositioning. LH positions specific fleets to specific bases.

You say that, but then if there's that one flight they want to run on the 380 from MUC, it has to get there somehow (of course, it could also be routed FRA-XXX-MUC-XXX-FRA). The 380 and 744 aren't that much different in terms of capacity, where the 380 adds nearly 100 seats to the 744's capacity.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineFlyDreamliner From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2759 posts, RR: 15
Reply 15, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3547 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 14):
You say that, but then if there's that one flight they want to run on the 380 from MUC, it has to get there somehow (of course, it could also be routed FRA-XXX-MUC-XXX-FRA). The 380 and 744 aren't that much different in terms of capacity, where the 380 adds nearly 100 seats to the 744's capacity.

And that's just the thing, LH has found it to be not cost effective to operate just one of a given type from a given hub, so based on the fact they have a relatively small A380 fleet, my guess is that they'll all be out of FRA. You don't see 747-400s shuttling between MUC and FRA, I doubt you'll see A380s do it either. Esp. given the frequencies of UA flights into LH hubs, I just don't know if there is even a route where the A380 would be that useful out of MUC...



"Let the world change you, and you can change the world"
User currently offlineHMan From Germany, joined Jul 2006, 58 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (7 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3505 times:

Quoting Stylo777 (Reply 7):
the only time TXL saw a B747 was during special charter operations for example World Cup...

That's not true. It has been here on a FRA flight instead of the regular A300 once or twice, just like the A340s and A330s.


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