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A380F - Is It Really Dead?  
User currently offlinevirginblue4 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 902 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 19938 times:

I went to the Frnborough Airshow last week and Airbus were giving out DVD's and i watched it today, and it has information about all of their passenger and freighter aircraft. There is very recent footage (from 2010) on there, so they have only just made the DVD, but on the freighter aircraft there is a whole section on the A380F with pictures etc.

So is it completely dead? Are they going to restart it?

Jordan


The amazing tale of flight.
74 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6372 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 19900 times:

In the "coulda, woulda, shoulda" department:

Airbus could have avoided a whole heap of trouble had they converted the first production line slots to freighters delivered the A380F's for Fedex and UPS first...no passenger compartment to re-wire   Maybe Singapore would have felt a little put off at not being able to be the launch customer, but A380's could have been plying the skies in the meantime while the wiring issues for passenger birds were sorted out   



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineAirportugal310 From Palau, joined Apr 2004, 3626 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 19890 times:

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 1):
Maybe Singapore would have felt a little put off at not being able to be the launch customer

Nothing a little money and a phone call couldn't fix  



I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
User currently offlineDl767captain From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2539 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 19857 times:

They may restart it at some point but it seems like the main customers for the A380F have ordered different jets, FedEx ordered 777s, UPS ordered 744s, and a lot of others ordered the 748F. I think the big deal with the 748 compared to the A380 was the ability to load through the nose. I just don't see the A380 as a freighter right now. Give it some time and maybe we'll see it as a converted freighter down the line.

User currently offlinegdg9 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 631 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 19675 times:

Once FedEx and UPS abandoned their orders and went 777, 744 etc... what big outfit is left to order A380Fs? DHL? Unlikely. I can't think of too many other freight operators with the kind of volume that requires a huge plane, and how many smaller ones would order even just one or two?

I agree with Dl767captain, the lack of nose loading ability is big. I wouldn't say the A380F is dead, but it is in a long term coma.


User currently offlineRJ111 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 19634 times:

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 1):
Airbus could have avoided a whole heap of trouble had they converted the first production line slots to freighters delivered the A380F's for Fedex and UPS first...no passenger compartment to re-wire  Maybe Singapore would have felt a little put off at not being able to be the launch customer, but A380's could have been plying the skies in the meantime while the wiring issues for passenger birds were sorted out   

Not really because the A388F had higher weights and other changes (no windows) and i imagine would have needed a different certification. Something which wouldn't be happening in the timeframe.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6372 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 19563 times:

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 5):
Not really because the A388F had higher weights and other changes (no windows) and i imagine would have needed a different certification. Something which wouldn't be happening in the timeframe.

As I understand it, though, the engineering work for the freighter was complete before MSN001 took to the skies... (maybe not the certification work, though!   ).



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlinebrendows From Norway, joined Apr 2006, 1020 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 19531 times:

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 5):

Not really because the A388F had higher weights and other changes (no windows) and i imagine would have needed a different certification. Something which wouldn't be happening in the timeframe.

And so much more too. The roof below the upper floor was moved up, floors strengthened, material changes to the fuselage (more GLARE), a bulkhead in front of the cargo compartment, strengthening the structure to cope with the higher weights and much more.

I'm afraid that something quite drastic have to happen in order to bring the A380F back. It better have an increased payload weight compared to what was offered, and there isn't enough interest for a freighter like the A380F out there at the moment. That may of course change, but at the moment it doesn't seem very likely I'm afraid.


User currently offlineprebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6434 posts, RR: 54
Reply 8, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 19473 times:

The A380F isn't more dead than the B777F and the A330F were ten years ago. It can be relaunched in 2015, 2025, 2035 or whenever.

That said, I have serious doubts about the 380F. That triple bubble fuselage is a lot less flexible for many cargo operators than the single bubble design on its competitors.

Also the low cockpit gives a better view than the high cockpit on the 747, but for all practical things it prohibits a front loading door as is a valueable option on the B747.

With the two floors as a necessary part of the fuselage main structure the A380 will always have pretty low cieling on all decks. That could still make it interesting for very large scale parcel haulers, but the majority of them seem to have chosen their strategy for the next few decades without involving the A380.

There is also an economic risk for A380F customers. If they for some reason have to shrink the fleet, then it could be very hard to find takers of such a big an inflexible plane, while there will always be a stiff market for more flexible, good, second hand B747F.

While the B747 from the very beginning was designed as the perfect "combi", then the A380 was designed with 100% priority as a pax plane. And then if somebody wanted it to haul cargo, then it could be an extra bonus.

I will be surprised to see it relaunched, at least during the first ten years. But then, I have been surprised before.

If I had to bet on which freighter was first to be relaunched, the A380F or a modernized An-124, then I would put my money on Antonov.



Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30922 posts, RR: 87
Reply 9, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 19198 times:
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I remain of the opinion the A380-800F will never receive a renewed Authority to Offer from the EADS board.

User currently offlineFLALEFTY From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 466 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 19049 times:

Airbus has the basic engineering pretty much done on the A380F, but to proceed, they will need new customers to commit to 50 or more to make the line potentially profitable.

The original design worked well for the big package operators, UPS and FedEx, because the A380 gave big volume for their generally-light, but bulky cargo loads. But new customers will be looking for more uplift, and that might be the stumbling point. Meanwhile, even if FedEx and UPS returned, I don't think they would want to buy more than the 20 or so frames they originally ordered.


User currently offlinepnwtraveler From Canada, joined Jun 2007, 2235 posts, RR: 12
Reply 11, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 18953 times:

For now as dead as Elvis. And you know there are still sightings of him. Seriously though I think converted A380 at a much later future date could serve the large package markets from highly congested airports. However, I see the need for those to be pretty limited due to the fact that packages don't care what airport they travel from. Shippers will always go to the cheapest alternatives and the busiest airports tend to be the most expensive.

User currently offlineBlythy From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2010, 27 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 1 month 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 18947 times:

The nose loading is probably not the main issue. Granted it's handy, but you can fit bigger packages (e.g. jet engines) through the rear door. The upper deck part of the 747F creates a low ceiling in the nose area. Also, you're restricted to removing 1 pallet at a time through the nose door. A side door allows you to unload 2 pallets at a time.


View Large View Medium
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Photo © André Minatowicz



The biggest problem for the A380F? The 747-8F, and the huge amounts of old 747-400 that will come onto the market in the next 10 years as pax airlines get rid of them in favour of newer aircraft.


User currently offlineJerseyFlyer From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 640 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 1 month 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 18500 times:

I think we may see a P2F conversion in 10 years or so, as the first deliveries are replaced by more capable pax versions.

User currently offlinerheinwaldner From Switzerland, joined Jan 2008, 2223 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (4 years 1 month 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 17356 times:

The A380 probably has the lowest cost per carried volume unit. That makes it very interesting for the largest air freight market sector. No current or future twin (that is on the radar) is as cost efficient for Fedex, UPS and the likes as the A380F would be.

And there is no widebody that did not end up as freighter (except the A340). Why should the A380 eventually be an exception? Whether it will be conversions I don't know.


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 30922 posts, RR: 87
Reply 15, posted (4 years 1 month 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 17265 times:
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Quoting JerseyFlyer (Reply 13):
I think we may see a P2F conversion in 10 years or so, as the first deliveries are replaced by more capable pax versions.

I'm more inclined to see them transfer to new operators, or possibly other existing operators in place of new top-up orders from Airbus.

FX did note during their original order that they expected to add A380P2F's to their fleet, and they may yet do so, but I expect it will be 20 years out or more.


User currently offlinecygnuschicago From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 758 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (4 years 1 month 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 17148 times:

Quoting virginblue4 (Thread starter):
So is it completely dead? Are they going to restart it?

Depends who you ask. Not too long ago, a of folks on this board were predicting that by now all the delivered frames would have been converted to freighters  

Personally, I don't see a market for the freighter soon. A market requires supply and demand. The demand side is pretty clear and the 748F is clearly the preferred solution, and the A380F is only likely to be a solution for demand left unmet by 748F supply constraints.

On the supply side, the 748F is clearly not under significant supply constraints, while the A380F is, given the A388 backlog.



If you cannot do the math, your opinion means squat!
User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6899 posts, RR: 46
Reply 17, posted (4 years 1 month 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 17102 times:

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 1):
Airbus could have avoided a whole heap of trouble had they converted the first production line slots to freighters delivered the A380F's for Fedex and UPS first...

But, as others have noted, the A380F had many fundamental construction differences. It wouldn't have worked.

Quoting prebennorholm (Reply 8):
While the B747 from the very beginning was designed as the perfect "combi", then the A380 was designed with 100% priority as a pax plane. And then if somebody wanted it to haul cargo, then it could be an extra bonus.

Exactly. The A380, in spite of its tremendous capability, makes a poor freighter. It only makes sense for package carriers, and there aren't enough of them to make it worthwhile to make a separate version.

Quoting FLALEFTY (Reply 10):
Airbus has the basic engineering pretty much done on the A380F, but to proceed, they will need new customers to commit to 50 or more to make the line potentially profitable.

And I don't think they will find them. By the time they have the time and money to do this, there will be airframes available for P2F conversion.

Quoting JerseyFlyer (Reply 13):
I think we may see a P2F conversion in 10 years or so, as the first deliveries are replaced by more capable pax versions.

This is the most likely scenario.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlinekeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (4 years 1 month 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 15055 times:

I think the biggest restriction for relaunch is market demand. As said in this decade the market will be flooded by capable and cheaply (China) converted and overhauled 747-400s. As 744s reach 100.000 hrs and Asia economies expand further I think the A380F will resurface, with an up to date specification. Newer engines, increased payload range, second thoughts on the cargo decks etc. 2018?

http://boeingblogs.com/randy/images/747-replacement_ip.jpg

Just add 8-10 yrs ontop of Randy's 20 yrs in service.


User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6899 posts, RR: 46
Reply 19, posted (4 years 1 month 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 14760 times:

Quoting keesje (Reply 18):
I think the biggest restriction for relaunch is market demand.

This is the key for any aircraft. But I don't see the demand for factory built freighters that are density limited being enough to justify it. Unless the payload can be increased enough to equal other freighters density capability (747, 777, A330) the A380 will be attractive primarily to package carriers, and I think there will be enough airframes available for conversion to satisfy them. Even if the density problem can be overcome there is still the problem of infrastructure for loading the second deck; this will require substantial investment as well.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlinefrmrCapCadet From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1714 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (4 years 1 month 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 14597 times:

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 1):

Airbus could have avoided a whole heap of trouble had they converted the first production line slots to freighters delivered the A380F's for Fedex and UPS first

I wonder if they even considered it

Quoting prebennorholm (Reply 8):
The A380F isn't more dead than the B777F and the A330F were ten years ago

LOL, When we use dead as a metaphor indeed somethings are deader than other dead things

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 17):
But, as others have noted, the A380F had many fundamental construction differences. It wouldn't have worked.

But in retrospect I wonder if a quick and dirty conversion would really have been more expensive than what they did. And getting planes into (any kind of) service a year or two earlier would have had a number of benefits.



Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
User currently offlinerheinwaldner From Switzerland, joined Jan 2008, 2223 posts, RR: 5
Reply 21, posted (4 years 1 month 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 14530 times:

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 19):
I think there will be enough airframes available for conversion to satisfy them.

I wonder why there are always enough low-density-types available for conversions (for the largest customer base) but for the higher-density carriers (smaller customer base) new built 747's, A330F's, 767F's, A300F's or 777F's are warranted.

I say if there are "enough airframes available for conversion to satisfy them" then even more for those interested in the other cargo planes. Which evidently does not happen because their fleets are mixed...


User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6899 posts, RR: 46
Reply 22, posted (4 years 1 month 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 14132 times:

Quoting frmrCapCadet (Reply 20):
But in retrospect I wonder if a quick and dirty conversion would really have been more expensive than what they did. And getting planes into (any kind of) service a year or two earlier would have had a number of benefits.

They would have had to in effect design and certify the P2F conversion before the P was even in service; they also would have had even more delays (another year, probably) for the passenger customers, who would not have taken it well. On top of that, they would not have delivered FedEx and UPS the planes that they had ordered.

Quoting rheinwaldner (Reply 21):
I wonder why there are always enough low-density-types available for conversions (for the largest customer base) but for the higher-density carriers (smaller customer base) new built 747's, A330F's, 767F's, A300F's or 777F's are warranted.

The low density carriers are the package carriers; the high density carriers are the general freight carriers. I suspect that the latter far outnumber the former, and use more planes. At most airports I have been at there will be a couple of FedEx and UPS planes, but quite a few more generic freighters. And the generic freighters are usually bigger.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineBlueFlyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 3972 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (4 years 1 month 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 11809 times:
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Quoting FLALEFTY (Reply 10):
Airbus has the basic engineering pretty much done on the A380F, but to proceed, they will need new customers to commit to 50 or more to make the line potentially profitable.

By the time Airbus gets around to finding customers for 50+ aircraft, how much re-engineering will be needed (new engine?) to bring it up to date with whatever the most efficient specs of that time are?

Quoting JerseyFlyer (Reply 13):
I think we may see a P2F conversion in 10 years or so, as the first deliveries are replaced by more capable pax versions.

How viable can a conversion be when there are so many structural differences between the full-freighter and passenger versions on current specs?

Quoting rheinwaldner (Reply 21):

I wonder why there are always enough low-density-types available for conversions (for the largest customer base) but for the higher-density carriers (smaller customer base) new built 747's, A330F's, 767F's, A300F's or 777F's are warranted.

First off, converting passenger aircraft to "low-density-type" freighters is easier because payload is less of an issue since they tend to bulk out first (read max out on volume before payload). That gives a broader pool of aircraft to start from and lower costs of conversion since there's less need to for structural strengthening.
Secondly, I think it is an inaccurate generalization to state that new aircraft are warranted for "higher-density carriers." Granted, there are cargo airlines that clearly prefer an all-new fleet (Singapore, Lufthansa, etc...) but there are just as many that are perfectly happy to operate converted aircraft or a mixed fleet (Atlas, Cathay, Southern, etc...).

The decision to convert or buy new is usually driven by economics and availability of aircraft. Cargo carriers with fleet of converted 742s and 743s acquired newly-built 744s because Boeing started pushing the model harder once interest in the passenger 744 wanted, but many also topped up their fleet with converted 744s because they couldn't wait for Boeing to deliver an all-new fleet or didn't need the operating efficiencies of a new model across their entire network. Integrators converting A300s bought new models too because they couldn't convert enough passenger versions fast enough for their needs...



I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlineMortyman From Norway, joined Aug 2006, 3897 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (4 years 1 month 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10712 times:

Quoting Dl767captain (Reply 3):
ability to load through the nose

Would it be possible to make a version where both the nose and cockpit can be on hinges and raised / removed so as to load through the front or would this be technically impossible ?


25 Post contains links and images keesje : Many cargo 747 don't have nose doors, they converted passenger aircraft. Even on those that have they are often not used, you need extra equipment and
26 kanban : the only way to make an A380 an efficient cargo plane will be to add a swing tail and remove the upper deck floor structure.. or relocate the cockpit
27 SEPilot : The only thing the 747 got from the C-5 competition was the concept of high-bypass engines. Nobody important on the C-5 design team worked on the 747
28 Post contains images Stitch : This is what Boeing's CX-HLS proposal looked like: As you can see, it doesn't share a great deal with the 747-100 and Lockheed's L-500 could gain no t
29 kanban : there is always a difference between the "official" stories and the word in the trenches as the process is going on... Yes I agree the two entities a
30 WingedMigrator : The upper deck floor of the A380 is as integral to its structure as, say, its wing spars. If the freighter ever is revived, I would expect it to be d
31 2175301 : Given the need for custom loading equipment to deal with the double decks.... The A380F can only be used at airports with such custom equipment. Any f
32 Post contains images Revelation : The A380F is bleedin' demised!
33 747classic : Also the future A388 P-F conversion will be a dead bird, only capable of transporting feathers (of the dead bird). So optimal fitted for very low dens
34 Post contains images PanHAM : Somebody beat me on the dead parrot. Cargolux' decision to go for the 748F was the final nail in the coffin for the A380F and that decison was amongst
35 Stitch : The A380-900 might very well use the 590t MTOW of the A380-800F. And the A380-800F's MZFW was 402t, 30t higher than that of the WV001 spec passenger
36 Post contains links and images keesje : Didn't the A380F have an internal cargo lift internally between the main & upper deck & usd the same highloaders as the 747? I think the canc
37 Post contains images Stitch : I've never heard of an internal lift and I can't see Airbus adding one - too much weight and if it failed between the decks, you're plane just went t
38 CMB56 : There was no internal elevator system. The loaders used by ground service would have to reach all the way to the top deck. The upper deck had lower we
39 trex8 : I recall some Airbus literature saying that the average density of cargo carried by the vast majority of freight operators was within the A380s capab
40 Stitch : I would think they'd need to make the entire second deck floor a fire-barrier plus isolate the fire suppression (which I am guessing is Halon) from t
41 kanban : If an A380 freighter comes into being, it will be a conversion job on a passenger plane.. (probably one of units 4 through 20). and it will probably b
42 PanHAM : never heard of it either and the reasons given already by stitch and others. The development of high loaders for the upper deck had been stopped when
43 Post contains images astuteman : Cutting through all the other reasons, for me, it's easy to see that the A380F, despite its bigger size, only carried about 10% more payload than the
44 Burkhard : The A380F is the ideal aircraft for transpporting LOTS of packages. So it depends on the following market organization, I use as example for consumer
45 PanHAM : Jeans are made in Romania, Marocco, in the carroibbean, in Mexico etc.. Even for internet orders the logistics would not work the way you sggest. Only
46 Baroque : Don't forget that one explanation was that the parrot was only resting. Cannot think that pining for the fjords is the explanation however. But "rest
47 SEPilot : This certainly would be economically viable; however I do think that Airbus engineering will be fully involved for some time to come, first with the
48 Post contains links keesje : An A380-800XRF with new Trent XWB based engines of 92 klbs, payload of 170 tonnes, meeting the most stringent night noise restrictions and having the
49 Post contains images PanHAM : well, didn't you see it moved? which, in fact we will see that Airbus keeps coming up with new plans for a freighter version. The options potential A
50 Post contains images astuteman : Agreed with all of that, my friend Rgds
51 Post contains images Revelation : Ahh, so the A380F is merely resting? I think timing has certainly worked against the A380F. Unfortunately for Airbus, the market has shown that the a
52 rheinwaldner : But the A380F is not average. It is poor for high density and mind-blowing for low density. There is no better plane to serve one of the largest frei
53 SEPilot : Then why did it get only 20 orders from two carriers when it was offfered? I think your market analysis does not reflect reality.
54 Baroque : Indeed there are two views on the NB. Some think it has passed on but, in thes case of the A380F (if not the NB), the proprietor will have the last s
55 Post contains links and images Revelation : Yes, but the question is whether there is a mind-blowing market for expensive low density high range cargo aircraft. Not that much? Ref: http://www.a
56 kanban : If Airbus goes the A380F route, count on Boeing bringing out a blended wing freighter that will morph in a passenger plane after the public is used to
57 keesje : The opportunities to make a blendedwing body cabin light, comfortable and safe must be there. I just haven't seen the technology. (and neither have t
58 Post contains images rheinwaldner : You mean the market does not reflect my analysis of the aircraft? It seems so. But we must not forget that: - 20 sounds like nothing, but the short t
59 SEPilot : The first orders were placed for the A380F in 2001; the orders were not all canceled until 2007 (per Wikipedia). That is not exactly a short window i
60 Revelation : A design was made and a few long-lead parts were fabricated. It was far along but also far from complete. We do know that A380 is making great stride
61 Stitch : I really don't believe a lack of payload weight was a problem for the A380-800F. It could haul 142t (inclusive of tare weight) 10,400km while the 747-
62 kanban : this may be a simplification however I see there are four categories of freight.. Bulk general cargo - 777F/747F/A330F/DC10/MD11 Dedicated Package -
63 keesje : Relevant cargo service providers would order loaders that can also do A380 UD, next to main deck, 747, 777, MD1 etc., lets not dramatize The A380 can
64 SEPilot : I doubt it; it seems that comparatively few freight operators are willing to buy new-build aircraft. It is hard enough for the airframe manufacturers
65 kanban : As observed the 747-8F lead the 747-8i into test and production... it is my belief that any radical design change like the MIT study or Blended Wing
66 Post contains images Stitch : But if that resulted in even more empty space when carrying dense cargo, I can't see how it would have fared any better. But the fact is that with th
67 Revelation : Given that I'm dubious whenever someone uses the average to represent the central tendency of bimodal numbers, I'd say it's a desired deception, not
68 zeke : I think another factors you are missing is cost and production slots. Whilst the A380F would lift more than anything else, it also costs more than an
69 Stitch : That is true now, but Airbus did spend the time and money to both develop and offer the freighter model simultaneously with the passenger model at le
70 AustrianZRH : What I always miss in the A380-800F threads is the situation when they launched it: at that time there was no vastly superior Boeing 747-8F, the only
71 Stitch : And yet carriers continued to order 747-400 family freighters even after the A380-800 freighter was offered for sale. 5X, for example, ordered both t
72 keesje : Why could this loader not be used on any other freighter aircraft. I think they were version of existing loaders modified to also do the UD. I think
73 Revelation : It's strange how some members here argue that there is a market for short range airliners that don't cover a large part of the operator's network and
74 Post contains images XaraB : You know, that might be one of the bigger drawbacks of using the A380F. It is designed to carry more (either weight or volume, depending on who buys
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