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Will The A380 Ever Be Profitable? Part 1  
User currently offlinevirgincrew From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 422 posts, RR: 1
Posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 35368 times:

I've just read an article that says for the A380 to be profitable and for Airbus to just break even, they need to sell at least 420 aircraft !

So my question is, will the A380 ever be as profitable as much as, for instance the 747 ??



[Edited 2012-08-09 14:17:38 by srbmod]


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248 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineB777LRF From Luxembourg, joined Nov 2008, 1385 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 35345 times:

You're asking if anybody has a crystal ball that'll see 20+ years into the future? Going to be pretty difficult, at a guess. Another guess, and it can't be anymore than what in engineering terms is called a WAG*, is that the A380 will land more than those 420 orders, and thus become profitable.

Whether or not it'll be more profitable than the 747 is impossible to answer. First of all you'll have to tell us just how profitable the 747 programme has been, and that in itself is going to be a challenge. Unless you're the CFO of Boeing Commercial Aircraft, of course, but if you are that you'd be unlikely to divulge such information on a public forum.





*Wild Arsed Guess



From receips and radials over straight pipes to big fans - been there, done that, got the hearing defects to prove
User currently offlinecol From Malaysia, joined Nov 2003, 2122 posts, RR: 22
Reply 2, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 35317 times:

"The whole A380 issues brings back a flight crew phrase "I ain't going if it ain't Boeing & I hate flying on the ScareBus"

I must admitt I don't think I will ever want to fly on the A380..."

Just thought I would remind you of your previous statements. So I guess this topic is just another round of 380 bashing which appears every week.

Anyway I will answer as a pax who has flown on the 380 (SQ/EK0 and also nearly 300 747's:

Yes the 380 will make money, the number of units to be sold to break even must be above 420 by now, but I am sure she will get there, it is just a superb aeroplane from a PAX point of view.

The 747 came from a different era, if you compare the 747-8i and 380, that should give you an idea. But hey, you probably don't want to hear this.


User currently offlineTdan From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 445 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 35115 times:

In a vaccum, no.

But if you look at technological advances, process improvements, capital expenditures, etc. that eventually benefit other new aircraft such as the A350 and beyond, there is a definite possibility that the A380 can be considered a profitable investment. The original 747 was considered an enormous investment that never seemed like it would make money. 40+ years after it was introduced, there are still new 747s being manufactured and delivered. Sure there were other improvments and expenses along the way, but the same basic design and structure continues to be used which is a huge cost savings for the future variants.



We will ride this thunderbird, silver shadows on the earth, a thousand leagues away our land of birth... -Captain Bruce
User currently onlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31110 posts, RR: 85
Reply 4, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 35065 times:
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Quoting virgincrew (Thread starter):
So my question is, will the A380 ever be as profitable as much as, for instance the 747?

I don't see the total market for the A380 to be as large as the 747, but then I don't know how much money Boeing has made from the 747 program and probably won't know how much money Airbus will make from the A380 program, so I can't make any declarative statement as to whether or not it will be as profitable. The A380 may deliver less planes, but if it makes significantly more profit per delivery, it may very well match or exceed Boeing's profits on the 747 program.


User currently offlineN14AZ From Germany, joined Feb 2007, 2758 posts, RR: 25
Reply 5, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 34973 times:

Quoting virgincrew (Thread starter):
I've just read an article that says for the A380 to be profitable and for Airbus to just break even, they need to sell at least 420 aircraft !

As mentioned by Col above, this seems to be an old number. Airbus stated they will no longer officially discuss the break-even-point.

But let's say the current number is 700 airframes (just to mention a number). The total number of orders is 257 (80 airframes "already" delivered). So less than five years after EIS they already sold more than 30% of the number of airframes required to break even. Unfortunately, I don't have the crystal ball mentioned above by B777LRF but I could imagine there is a fair chance that they will achieve break even.

P.S.: with all due respect but didn't we have a very very similiar if not identical thread just some weeks ago?


User currently onlineMortyman From Norway, joined Aug 2006, 3986 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 34942 times:

The A380 was never ment to sell as many frames as the B747 has. The A380 was made for a different market.

User currently offlineEPA001 From Netherlands, joined Sep 2006, 4802 posts, RR: 40
Reply 7, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 34921 times:
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Quoting N14AZ (Reply 5):
P.S.: with all due respect but didn't we have a very very similar if not identical thread just some weeks ago?

I guess we have seen at least 35 of these threads over the years.  

Nobody knows the break-even number. And it is not important anyway since Airbus already took all the losses up-front. So every delivery now is good for Airbus and making money.  .

Quoting col (Reply 2):
Just thought I would remind you of your previous statements. So I guess this topic is just another round of 380 bashing which appears every week.

I guess it is.

[Edited 2012-08-09 08:27:47]

User currently offlinebrilondon From Canada, joined Aug 2005, 4300 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 34873 times:

This topic seems to come up every once and awhile. My standard answer is that it depends on the price that airlines pay for the aircraft obviously. There is probably a figure out there for their break even but it is a moving target. If they need to sell x number of aircraft to break even there must be time frame for the number of aircraft to be sold by. The number may be 420 but if they sell only 420 over say 30 years than is that going to break even for them? I don't know the answer to that as I don't have information regarding their financials and don't know how their back accounts are looking to bankroll this aircraft. The 747 on the other hand has obviously had a successful run and makes Boeing money so I don't see why the A380 won't make Airbus money.


Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
User currently offlinespink From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 318 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 34850 times:

Quoting virgincrew (Thread starter):
So my question is, will the A380 ever be as profitable as much as, for instance the 747 ??

I think more than anything it will come down to production rate. At their current production rate, it will take 13 more years until they hit 420 frames. With current production rate, it will take them ~7 years just to clear out the backlog. Also the 420 number may be low because AFAIK that number is from Airbus in 2006 and I believe that they expected to make significantly more deliveries by now than they actually have. Depending on what their actual interest rates are/were, the break even number could now be significantly higher.

The A380 is a good plane but it is unlikely that they'll hit break even on it, if ever, at the current production rates. Now, discounting sunk costs, they are obviously making a profit on the planes they deliver (or they would simply not make them), but it will take a long time to make up the R&D costs, if ever.

[Edited 2012-08-09 08:37:48]

User currently offlinemax550 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 1154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 34816 times:

These threads come up every so often and I can't help but wonder why it matters to anyone at this point. Airbus decided to build a VLA that would be the largest pax aircraft available, they followed through with it, and it will be available to airlines for a long time to come.
The only concern for Airbus at this point is whether or not they continue receiving enough orders to keep the line open beyond the next 7 or 8 years. As long as they can keep the line running it no longer matters whether they break even on the project as a whole.

I'd also suggest you look into the company history at Airbus. In the mid-nineties when they started working on the A3XX they had never delivered more than 160 or so aircraft per year. They're now up to 500+ deliveries per year and have become a global giant on the level that Boeing and McDonnell Douglas were in the 90's. While there are plenty of other factors it's impossible to discount the A380's role in that success. They never would have reached that level of success by conceding the VLA market to Boeing.

Bottom line is that Airbus is a larger and better company than they were before they created the A380, regardless of whether the A380 project as a whole breaks even or not.


User currently offlinespink From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 318 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 34779 times:

Quoting max550 (Reply 10):
Bottom line is that Airbus is a larger and better company than they were before they created the A380, regardless of whether the A380 project as a whole breaks even or not.

While true, that doesn't mean they wouldn't of been an even larger and better company if they had instead invested in other planes instead.


User currently offlinepeterinlisbon From Portugal, joined Jan 2006, 551 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 34763 times:

That old chestnut again: "If it aint Boeing I aint going" . When I was 7 years old I used to think that anything that rhymes is obviously full of wisdom, but then I grew up. Maybe some of you should also consider doing that. I find it strange that so many armchair experts that are supposedly interested in aviation would choose only to fly on one type of plane and not want to experience all the interesting varieties of aircraft that are out there. Come on, live a little, don't turn into a grumpy old man already that doesn't want to experience anything new. If they were that dangerous I don't think that have the airlines in the world would be flying them. Yeah - maybe the A380 will be profitible one day, that depends on how many they sell and if any more expensive problems come up, the world economy, the price of fuel, airport expansion.... a lot of factors.

User currently offlinemax550 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 1154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 34659 times:

Quoting spink (Reply 11):
While true, that doesn't mean they wouldn't of been an even larger and better company if they had instead invested in other planes instead.

No doubt, they still could have been larger and better through other investments, but I truly believe the A380 was their best bet at the time. I don't think any other (realistic) project would have garnered the same kind of publicity the A380 got over its 15-20 years of development.


User currently onlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31110 posts, RR: 85
Reply 14, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 34612 times:
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Quoting spink (Reply 11):
While true, that doesn't mean they wouldn't of been an even larger and better company if they had instead invested in other planes instead.

At the time they started serious work on the A3XX program, there was nothing else for them to invest in. The A320 program handled the sub-200 seat market and the A330 and A340 programs covered the 200-300 seat market. The only area they didn't have a plane was the 300+ seat market, which was owned exclusively by the 747-400.

To those that say Airbus should have developed a large twin to compete with the 777, the A3XX and 777 programs were both designed around the same time. And Boeing developing the 777 was in no small part due to the threat of the A330-300, A340-300 and MD-11 programs to the 747-400 on shorter-range missions.


User currently offlineScottB From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 6793 posts, RR: 32
Reply 15, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 34575 times:

Quoting Mortyman (Reply 6):
The A380 was never ment to sell as many frames as the B747 has. The A380 was made for a different market.

Untrue. The original production plans for the A380 envisioned a rate of 48 aircraft/year. Assuming a production lifetime of 30 years for the A380, this would work out to 1440 aircraft -- nearly as many as the 747 has sold over its 40+ years of service. In 2001, Airbus predicted a VLA market of 1138 frames (this does include the 747) from 2001 to 2020 -- and it's reasonable to assume they expected the lion's share of that market by offering the newer product in the market segment. And it is virtually certain that Airbus expected to pick up many orders from airlines retiring 747's -- we're not talking about "a different market."

Quoting col (Reply 2):
Yes the 380 will make money, the number of units to be sold to break even must be above 420 by now, but I am sure she will get there, it is just a superb aeroplane from a PAX point of view.

Extrapolating future profitability based on the quality of the on-board experience is a non sequitur. I find the 717 to offer a very pleasant customer experience, and yet Boeing likely lost a large sum on the program. The A380 will make money if enough airlines come to the conclusion that the A380 will be a profitable proposition for their fleets and place orders.

Quoting N14AZ (Reply 5):
As mentioned by Col above, this seems to be an old number. Airbus stated they will no longer officially discuss the break-even-point.

Whether or not the A380 makes it to break-even, it is unlikely to ever achieve a commercially acceptable return on invested capital.


User currently offlineebj1248650 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1932 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 34323 times:

I've mentioned this before and it bears repeating. Boeing initially thought the total production of 747s would be something on the order of 500 to 600 airplanes. They didn't expect the airplane to do as well as it has done. Could the A380 suprise its developers as well. Time will tell. The airplane appears to have great passenger appeal and that's a huge plus for an airline that's considering buying the plane. There's no doubt in my mind that Airbus will work to improve the airplane and it wouldn't come as a surprise that newer versions, perhaps beyond the anticipated A380-900, will be created and offered to airlines. At this point it's fair to say it's just too soon to try to determine whether the airplane will be profitable.


Dare to dream; dream big!
User currently offlinen729pa From UK - England, joined Jan 2011, 423 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 34189 times:

I think it will, and I think it will sell 500+ frames or more in time.

Similar questions were probably asked in the early 70s about the 747, at the time there were a number of US carriers who had bought it and were probably thinking we made a mistake,and with the fuel crisis and economic gloom then, who would have thought come the late 70s orders would be back to what they were on launch. It's worth remembering that the 747 gained a lot of new customers from 1975 onwards....ME, RJ, IR, IA, KU, SV, CX, NZ, NH, TG, MS, CV, PK, PR, GA, CI, CA, UT of the top of my head and that's before we mention the 2nd or 3rd wave of orders from some of the launch customers.

I think as airports get more congested, more green taxes applied and stuff, the A380 will represent the most cost effective way of moving people about. As the world population grows, the demand will continue to grow in time, and places like LHR, LAX, JFK or AMS etc get more congested what is the answer? Most Western populations will not put up with a large airport becoming even larger on their doorstep, less of a problem in the Far East, they tend to just do regardless, so if you can't make the airports bigger or increase the number of flights, what else can you do......make the planes bigger. That's a slightly simplistic way of putting it I know, but you will hopefully see the point I'm making IMO.

I can seriously still see people like CX taking it on, either NH or JL, TK, 9W, maybe Asiana, maybe even KLM who knows. I'm sure there are several carriers out there who will in the next decade take on the A380, that today we wouldn't even conceive them doing it, in the same way that in 1972 say, we wouldn't have associated Thai or Cathay or ANA with the 747 another 10 years further on. Who knows if Iran for example comes in from the Cold, Vietnam becomes the hottest spot to visit in SE Asia or KLM take it on (what are they going to replace their 744s with?)....exciting times I think.


User currently onlinerotating14 From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 685 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 34033 times:

Quoting virgincrew (Thread starter):

Can you provide this link you speak of ??


User currently offlinemax550 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 1154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 33995 times:

Quoting n729pa (Reply 17):
I think it will, and I think it will sell 500+ frames or more in time.

It's also worth noting that by the time the 747 had been in-service for 5 years (about where the A380 is now) Boeing had 252 orders for it. So to judge the A380 already is a bit premature.


User currently offlinespink From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 318 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 33985 times:

Quoting n729pa (Reply 17):
Similar questions were probably asked in the early 70s about the 747, at the time there were a number of US carriers who had bought it and were probably thinking we made a mistake,and with the fuel crisis and economic gloom then, who would have thought come the late 70s orders would be back to what they were on launch. It's worth remembering that the 747 gained a lot of new customers from 1975 onwards....ME, RJ, IR, IA, KU, SV, CX, NZ, NH, TG, MS, CV, PK, PR, GA, CI, CA, UT of the top of my head and that's before we mention the 2nd or 3rd wave of orders from some of the launch customers.

One thing that is important to remember about the 747, when it was released, was that not only was it a significantly larger plane but it also was a significant increase in range which likely contributed to its sales.


User currently offlineN14AZ From Germany, joined Feb 2007, 2758 posts, RR: 25
Reply 21, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 33802 times:

Quoting n729pa (Reply 17):
hat in 1972 say, we wouldn't have associated Thai or Cathay or ANA with the 747 another 10 years further on

Well spoken. Or that a Russian airline others than SU would order some brand new 747s

Quoting n729pa (Reply 17):
ASIANA

Just for the records, they already placed a firm order for 6 aiframes.


User currently offlinegoosebayguy From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2009, 406 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 33243 times:

Back in the '70's Boeing had a break even of 400 for the 747. Seems pretty similar to the 380? Boeing looked to be falling short when the fuel crisis hit. 40 years later its a great success and I see no reason for the 380 to do the same. China will probably take some high density internal routes and use the 380. Emirates have been the first airline to see the potential and I think we will see many others following their lead. British airways could use 50 easily in the next decade.

User currently onlineASA From Bangladesh, joined Dec 2010, 748 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 33193 times:

Quoting max550 (Reply 19):
It's also worth noting that by the time the 747 had been in-service for 5 years (about where the A380 is now) Boeing had 252 orders for it. So to judge the A380 already is a bit premature.

Well said!   


User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6953 posts, RR: 46
Reply 24, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 32531 times:

Quoting max550 (Reply 19):

It's also worth noting that by the time the 747 had been in-service for 5 years (about where the A380 is now) Boeing had 252 orders for it. So to judge the A380 already is a bit premature.

But as a percentage of the total airliner market that was a lot more, and a much greater proportion of those ordered had been delivered. In any case, I'm quite sure that not only is Airbus way behind where they expected to be in terms of production, they are way behind where they expected to be in terms of orders. The projections Airbus released when they launched the A380 would have them making at least 50 per year by now; they are not close to that (and production rate has a very big effect on cost per unit, and . And quality has nothing to do with profitability; look how many quality car companies have gone out of business (Packard, for example.) I cannot see how with present rates of orders and deliveries that the A380 can ever be profitable. It is being carried by the success of the A320 and A330; and as long as Airbus does have successful lines and makes an overall profit there is no real problem with that. The question will be how long they can keep the line open and how many improvements they can afford to make on it. I do think the A380 will get the lion's share of VLA pax orders for the foreseeable future, but the question is how big that market will be. So far it has been very disappointing, and if the economics of the 787, 777, and A350 continue to be improved it is unlikely that Airbus will be able to afford to keep the A380 apace with them. It HAS to offer significantly better CASM than anything else or there is no business case for an airline to buy it. And if it cannot sell enough to be profitable Airbus will have a very hard time justifying putting more money into it. It doesn't matter how much passengers may love it; they loved the Concorde as well, but that did not save it.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
25 ikramerica : Airbus's only goal at this point is to make the A380 cash-flow positive as each aircraft is delivered. Whether it will ever return it's investment mon
26 TheSonntag : With the A380, Airbus killed the monopoly Boeing hat in the VLA area. It was at this point Airbus finally became a full-scale manufacturer. So while t
27 Post contains images astuteman : One inevitably goes with the other of course. They predicted they would sell 750 in 20 years which is c. 38 per year (that is what the business case
28 WingedMigrator : That's precisely it, you see? The A320 and A330 are carrying Airbus 15 to 20 years after EIS. Ten or 15 years from now it will be the A380's turn to
29 SWALUV : There was a post earlier called, Future of The A380? that should help! You might have to search for it.
30 SEPilot : Airbus became a full-scale manufacturer with the A330/A340. By the time they launched the A380 sales of the 747 had slowed to a trickle; the A340 and
31 Post contains images EPA001 : They had a sound business case when they launched the A380 with a break-even on 250 copies. That the production had some very major setbacks was of c
32 rotating14 : I think a lot of the A380's future is dependent of what the market wants. Right now the market calls for the A380 but if the "trend" of smaller twin j
33 SEPilot : This is exactly my point, and you have made it better than I did. When the A380 was launched Airbus was predicting a rosy future for it, but Boeing (
34 rara : Let's not forget that the 747 was, for the longest time of its history, an aircraft without a competitor. Any manufacturer that's worth its money wil
35 Stitch : A 2011 delivery A380-800 is worth around $200 million and SQ's first A380-800 is worth about $170 million. If LH wanted to flip their two 747-8s righ
36 WingedMigrator : That is not only a vague statement, but it is flat out wrong. Today the A320 delivers at a rate of ~400 frames a year, but the first 400 took SIX YEA
37 FLALEFTY : The A380 is a fine plane and will still be in production beyond 2020. However, the business case for the 748 is weak and getting weaker. I see the 748
38 glideslope : Mathematically impossible. Even after they redesign the wing spars.
39 Post contains images cmf : The predicted the VLA market to be bigger. They did not predict to have 100% of it. Of course, but how many sales do you think are needed to justify
40 777atech : The idea behind the A380 was pretty basic; build a state of the art airplane that can carry loads of people, more economical and comfortable than anyt
41 Post contains images NWAROOSTER : The repairs and rework of the main wings on the A380 is going to add a few more aircraft to the break even point. It also may scare away a few more sa
42 thegeek : I would say that the A330NG was CLEARLY, with the benefit of hindsight, something they should have invested in. They just misread the market. They di
43 Stitch : I think the A380-800 was one of the reasons why the 747-400 sales ended and the 747-8 not making much headway.
44 thegeek : I think the 777-300ER had a lot to do with it too. If there was no A380-800, the former plane would still have ended the 747-400 in the pax market IMO
45 Stitch : Between the 777-300ER and A340-600, I do agree the 747-400 was only going to sell on capacity if there was no A380-800.
46 Post contains images redflyer : "Profitable investment" in your example is in hindsight only. That is not what the underlying investment benefit was when the project was originally
47 kanban : and with their manufacturing process, those will be only those a/c already on the books today.. The 8F wi needed, the 'I" is just a spoiler. From a c
48 goosebayguy : The 747 had very hard times back in the 70's. As we all know it was the military division that kept the civilian side of Boeing going. Airbus are work
49 astuteman : Indeed Which is true for any improvement. The A380 has already been improved, and so have its power plants. They absolutely didn't Correct I claimed
50 Post contains images solnabo : This is the A model of the 380 program, in 10-20 years we might see -900, Freighter, -R etc. Cheers
51 gigneil : Show your work. NS
52 airportugal310 : Man oh man... With all the expert analysis here, I can't imagine why none of you are actually employed with Airbus or Boeing! Send in your resumes, qu
53 ricknroll : I think that will change. The globalisation of the airline business is going ahead, the number of airlines will fall as economies of scale dictate th
54 Post contains images bmacleod : But it will make more money than Boeing's latest VLA gamble...the 747-8i.
55 Stitch : Boeing did not have much of a military side in the 1970s...or 1980s...or 1990s, for that matter. One of the main reasons for all the mergers and acqu
56 Tdan : Not really. With all of the research and development that was required for the A380, these investments are now considered sunk costs and any insights
57 max550 : Excellent points and it is comparing apples to oranges, but in the same time frame the DC-10 had 208 orders (even with the L-1011 directly competing)
58 ricknroll : Is the CASM a function of the seating density? So far, the seating has been surprisingly low density, with much planning done when the world economy
59 Stitch : Yes. The more seats you have, the lower the CASM, since it's Cost per Available Seat Miles. So more seats means more Available Seat Miles. Many carri
60 Post contains images EPA001 : It's CASM is significantly better than the next best thing available. All operators are stating that. And according to Airbus not even the A350-1000
61 XT6Wagon : Nope, They didn't. They had a pie in the sky business case. They sold the various boards, banks and governments that they would sell more A380s than
62 Stitch : I was under the impression that the A380 FAL structures were designed around a production rate of over 40 frames per year?[Edited 2012-08-10 12:22:58
63 Post contains links SQ22 : Found this A380 research report from 2006. Quite interesting. http://web.archive.org/web/201107231...am.net/filelib/A380DEBATEFINAL.pdf Sometimes its
64 Post contains images EPA001 : Yes, they did. They had a break-even number of 250 copies in their business case. Which now due to the production problems has been raised to an unkn
65 Post contains images Stitch : Ah yes, I remember that paper. Who would have thought in 2006 that Richard Aboulafia's prediction of 200 A380-800 deliveries by 2015 would turn out t
66 spink : They are also running low density configuration because they likely fear they cannot fill higher density configurations as well. Lets not forget that
67 Post contains images Stitch : They're running low-density configurations because they can do so profitably and maximize customer comfort, especially in premium cabins. As such, th
68 SSTeve : I'm sure that like the lounges in the 747, any low density in the 380 that's not coupled with an astronomical fare class will eventually disappear wh
69 thegeek : That's a very negative angle. Maybe they are running low density because they see a high demand for premium seats, therefore more revenue potential i
70 DLPMMM : The A380 will be very profitable...for some airlines. For Airbus...probably not profitable as an individual product line, but maybe as a part of being
71 FLALEFTY : Air France - 516 China Southern - 506 Emirates - 489 | 517 Lufthansa - 525 Qantas - 450 Malaysian Airlines - 494 The advantage for the A380 is its abi
72 SLCPilot : Back to A-380 production totals....at some point in the past, I offered $100 cash to the person that come closest to guessing the A-380 total producti
73 art : Not sure that you only assemble an airframe if it costs less to produce than the buyer pays. It might be that the first 50 or 100 lose money (high li
74 kanban : The initial question pertained to whether or not the A380 would be profitable for Airbus.. the thing I continually notice is even if the FAL was desi
75 spink : If you look at the layouts for the 380, there is generally a large amount of "wasted" space from a RASM/CASM perspective, very similar to what we onc
76 Stitch : Most of that "wasted" space is dedicated to First Class and Business Class seating so it's bringing in a revenue premium.
77 Post contains links SLCPilot : Here's the old thread....it is fun to read now, and it's been only six years! Total A-380 Production (be On Record Here!) (by SLCPilot Oct 23 2006 in
78 JayinKitsap : I looked up the 747 annual orders on one of those earlier "will the 380 be profitable" threads and its best years when it was being bought both for si
79 Post contains images astuteman : Again, I'm not sure where we're pulling these "48 as originally planned" numbers. The business case was based upon delivering 750 airframes over a 20
80 racercoup : The elephant in the room is Emirates. After 8 years since the first order they are 35% of the present order book, not a healthy situation.
81 strfyr51 : The 747 Series of airplanes has been profitable for Boeing. particularly beause of the freighter option with the swing away nose. People tend to forge
82 PW100 : I guess they will stop once Airbus has dclared that they have passed break even! By then we will have numerous threads discussing whether Airbus wasn
83 PW100 : Hmmm. They might have misread the market, but that very same market was SCREAMING at them to do a new airplane, rather than a warmed over 330. They w
84 Post contains images Stitch : We don't tend to forget it because it is not true. Here is Boeing's proposal for the CX-HLS RFP: And here is a 747: They don't look the same to me. S
85 2175301 : To answer the original asked question: Will the A380 ever be as profitable as the 747 (or similar). No. The 747 made Boeing lots of money over the dec
86 thegeek : I more meant an A330NG around the time of the A340NG. I don't remember commenting either way. I didn't pay as much attention to aviation in 1999. Wel
87 SEPilot : It is useless to sell planes if you cannot recoup the costs of building them. The costs to develop the A380 are sunk, so they do not really enter the
88 ricknroll : The global rationalisation of the industry will mean fewer, larger players who can afford the A380 and make the best use of it.
89 Post contains links cmf : "Detail structural design of the 747 has begun with basis of five years aerodynamic and structural research in connection with the C-5A military heav
90 Post contains links spink : The 420 number is from an Oct. 2006 Airbus presentation at the Global Investor Forum: http://web.archive.org/web/200611030...OF00000000400004/0/74/41
91 Post contains images redflyer : Ok, I will retract what I said (even though I can't find the original thread now, but I will take your word for it). However, We all know that the or
92 Post contains images astuteman : I'll accept that Airbus expected to have reached break-even in terms of SALES 10 years after launch. But I don't accept that they would have in terms
93 Post contains images EPA001 : Significantly better is being able to make profits with seating configurations which are much lower then the competing aircraft, even from the same a
94 PW100 : Yet, that dead floor space of large lounges, showers etc. are by no means insignificant in being able to charge more for the premium seats. Those lar
95 redflyer : This discussion is about turning a profit in under ten years. You are apparently talking about the entire life of the program. Our dispute is on the
96 astuteman : You'll have to explain the difference, because it has gone over my head... We were talking about business cases and investment returns, weren't we? T
97 Stitch : Airbus started seriously floating the A340 Enhanced in November of 2005, which was after Airbus announced the A350 Mk. I in response to the launch of
98 Post contains links and images Revelation : Personally I feel whomever thought they could sell 38 A380 frames each and every year for 20 years was barking mad. The graph of where we are today i
99 rotating14 : Do you think the A380 would have worked better as a limited inventory project or item. Because Airbus (along with all other OEM's) produce aircraft f
100 redflyer : I can tell. We'll just leave it as-is for another day. Maybe a thread on how airliner programs are evaluated from a financial standpoint. That way, e
101 cmf : I'm convinced they would have avoided the design and production problems and happily gone ahead with the program.
102 redflyer : What's interesting about your referenced graph is that 50% of all orders received to-date for the A380 (129) came in the first 3 years after launch.
103 Stitch : We saw much the same with the 787 for it's first three years. Launched in 2004, it has 448 orders by the end of 2006: 52% of the current 859 orders o
104 redflyer : I think they might have as well, but perhaps they would have designed her differently. The A380 in my opinion is simply too big. Airbus wanted to com
105 Stitch : I suppose we'd have to do a fleet and route analysis of each A380 customer to see how many 747-400s they had in service on long-haul services with Fi
106 thegeek : Say what? The A380 gets a lot of its efficiency from its cross section, which is far more efficient that the 747s.
107 redflyer : Say what?
108 Stitch : They already had a 747-400 replacement in the A340-600: carried more payload by weight, carried more cargo by volume, flew farther and burned a signi
109 kanban : We keep getting stuck in the things an airline would consider when buying the plane, however Airbus isn't a airline and it's profitability does not hi
110 Revelation : As disappointed as Boeing was to not see a 747-8i order from BA, the above outcome would pretty much hollow out Airbus's victory. A far cry short of
111 Post contains images DocLightning : Nitpicking: he wanted to reduce CASM. That resulted in bringing air travel to a large segment of the population. The 747 has a lot more empty space i
112 thegeek : I think I might have left a word out: "The A380 gets a lot of its efficiency from its cross section, which is far weight more efficient than the 747s
113 Post contains images Unflug : A guy working at Airbus actually told me a couple of weeks ago that they are still working on that concept. Since he told me in a beer garden and sin
114 Post contains images EPA001 : This has been addressed in the several B787 and A350 and A350-1000 topics also. Once the delivery times approach or exceed 6-7 years, orders will dry
115 Post contains images astuteman : No. Everyone would compare apples to apples if you just did us the courtesy of explaining what you meant. Particularly as the clarifcation is fundame
116 spink : I wouldn't disagree but the question would then be... Would they of been better off going with a 9/10+6 instead of a 10/11+7 design? Basically a slig
117 Post contains images brindabella : indeed we have, & this pretty-well sums it up. We've especially done it all recently, & exhaustively with respect to the A350-1000: If you we
118 BrouAviation : I am sorry, but that is just not true. Or you think 80% of the airlines that ordered the A380 in the first place are nuts. When you buy an A380, you
119 Revelation : Yes, that has been said here on a.net, but I can't think of too many of these airline decision makers saying "I'd be buying an A380 right now if the
120 fcogafa : With Emirates having so many A380s on order, is it possible that the early ones will be 'rolled over' as they have done with other types, thus releasi
121 abba : Rather than size I think Airbus would have made it less flexible when it comes to how many choices airlines have when fitting her out. This seems to
122 ytz : Why? This just means they'll still be selling to EK.
123 Post contains links david_itl : In this articicle regarding Emirates A380 plans in August 2011, it is stated "From September through November 2017, a further 75 A380s will be delive
124 ER757 : As long as they keep taking deliveries and keep paying for them it shouldn't matter what percentage of your order book is for one customer. I do agre
125 kanban : Because these planes are so customized, will the new owners leave the amenities, or strip them out and spend a year outfitting.. Would Emirates want a
126 Stitch : Considering that EK is mostly selling their A380s to Doric Nimrod Air Finance and then leasing them back, that's really a concern of Doric rather tha
127 Post contains links and images astuteman : I can certainly buy that. But this is a shocking misrepresentation of what actually happened..... Malaysian signed in 2003 for a delivery in 2007. Se
128 BrouAviation : You are completely right, I stand corrected.
129 astuteman : Apologies if that wording was a bit harsh, by the way. How about - "you might just have mistaken actual EIS dates for the original "pre-delay" EIS da
130 SEPilot : I think the real question about the A380 and profitability is when Airbus will get production under control. Until they can build them in a reasonable
131 thegeek : Absolutely. It also is preventing additional sales. It's one thing to buy an airliner for delivery 7 years out, it's another to be very uncertain you
132 ricknroll : That works two ways. When you look at how well Emirates is doing with the A380 compared to those who don't have it, the airlines who aren't buying th
133 kanban : I could only find sales of 4 A380's to Doric... however aside from that, if EK felt the interior was a signature item separating them from the common
134 redflyer : The problem with the A340-600 being a 747 replacement is that it was at its upper end of expansion. The 747 still had some room to grow, as seen in t
135 ricknroll : My point is based on the continuing rationalisation of the airlines industry. Since so many of them are losing money, it's just a matter of time for
136 thegeek : You are still missing the point. Double deck is what makes the A380 weight efficient. That is reduced by the inefficient short length relative to the
137 Post contains images astuteman : It's no surprise your point went over my head. Every answer you're likely to want from me on my opinion on these questions has already been given up-
138 racercoup : So you see (2) airlines both with A380's battling for route supremacy. That is a loser for one or both. My bet would be that with Emirates already ha
139 thegeek : Better to try and fail than slow the production to a level that more planes cannot be sold.
140 Post contains images EPA001 : No, imho they really did not. See also Astuteman's posts on that (in this and previous threads). . But the profitability is all academic due to the p
141 XT6Wagon : We certainly can't state that the A380 market is less than we've seen, and there is no evidence that its at its limit outside of Airbus' production r
142 abba : If they go for the same market segment on that one route - perhaps! If they go for different market segments on the same route - not necessarily.
143 ricknroll : Not for the winner, that's how a free market is supposed to work.
144 astuteman : That's all it is to me, XT6Wagon. We can certainly have an opinion on what level it might have gone to without the delays. We can have an opinion on
145 racercoup : [qivered You are correct, however the different market segment will not use an A380 I don't know what this is supossed to mean in terms of new orders
146 abba : And that to a large extent is dependent on whether Airbus gets its prduction rate up and running at much higher output. Not only will this allow more
147 fcogafa : So if Airbus knew then what they know now would they have started the project in the first place? Could you say the same for Concorde?
148 ricknroll : They will be needing more as their current fleet ages. I have proposed one means by which orders will increase, rationalization of the industry, whic
149 col : It could be that the 380 ends up at 500, so be it. What does amaze me is that some people expect the orders to slow down to a trickle. They need to fi
150 redflyer : Actually, I just went through the thread and I don't see anywhere where you've told the audience when the A380's ROI would start to be recognized. Yo
151 racercoup : Britain and France wanted the fastest they wrote a business case to justify it and built it......... Airbus wanted the biggest, wrote a business case
152 Post contains images Revelation : Ahh, being on the receiving end of one of your short, sharp "critiques" builds character! I should know! No problem when the comments are well founde
153 Stitch : True, but the A340-600's maximum structural payload of 75t was right in line with the original MSP of the 747-8 (76t), though Boeing has subsequently
154 redflyer : Using a 3rd party's public statements to support your own argument is usually indicative of being "on board with it". So what are you saying, that Ai
155 Stitch : Yes. The A380-800 needed to be significantly larger to be able to command a strong enough CASM advantage. If the A380-800 had never launched, the A34
156 redflyer : But CASM does not appear to be the underlying reason for the A380's launch; although, it certainly appears to be a benefit. If you look at all of the
157 Stitch : If the A380-800 had worse CASM than a 747-400, I expect it would not have sold.
158 col : Airbus and Boeing said a lot of things about their new products which turned out to be wrong. Also, maybe they didn't put CASM in bright flashing lig
159 N14AZ : ??? For me it's the same. What's the point of using a bigger "machine" (aircraft, excavator ... whatsoever) others than to reduce the specific costs,
160 Post contains images Unflug : You don't want to say they were caught by surprise about the A380s CASM?
161 Post contains images col : CASM, and the flexibility to offer premium products to suit all the markets. Think it may have crept up on them during the wiring issues. It will be
162 thegeek : I guess the other question is how many of the A380's current orders will actually be delivered. I would seriously question QF taking all 8 remaining a
163 ricknroll : As I've been saying, the market is undergoing a serious change. QANTAS had what could have been a viable plan to cope with the increasing global compe
164 racercoup : I guess one might deem the Kingfisher order for 5 frames a non-starter
165 redflyer : Well, the fact that there is debate on whether or not the A380 will ever be profitable given the low number of orders would indicate that CASM by its
166 Stitch : I can't answer that with any authority, but I would guess the answer would be "yes". However, I think the 777-300ER would be closer to such a plane o
167 dfambro : I think it's probably true that the A380 cannot sell in big numbers now due to delivery timelines, so current sales are a poor predictor of future sal
168 col : Smart move I would say. The market for a VLA is always going to be smaller than the rest. But it is a market which is not going to disappear and stop
169 thegeek : Given that the A380 has seen one problem after another, I think it will need a couple of years of stability before it sees too many orders. If orders
170 col : Agree to a point. Performance/flexibility is a given. So I see production and orders mirroring each other. As production increases so will the order
171 ricknroll : Technical issues shouldn't be any more a deterrent for the A380 than the 787. The real problem is the economy.
172 spink : I'm not sure the existing customer base really needs an additional 184, at least not within the next 10 years. So you are realistically looking at ~2
173 Post contains images col : Guess we can agree to disagree on the 184, could be 183 or 185? The orders would be spread out and could go into to 2020's. With new customers it wou
174 Post contains images flipdewaf : Mathematically impossible eh? Explain how that is so. Why is that not healthy? Was it? I seem to remember not. So the 10 years ROI debate was weather
175 racercoup : I can not believe you asked that question..... ever hear of "all your eggs in one basket" name one other situation where one airline is so large a pe
176 ytz : If rumours are true then the 777-9X is going to narrow this market further. The problem with saying that airlines need something more than a 77W is t
177 ncfc99 : Air travel is supposed to increase and long haul is less sensative to low frequency than short haul, fuel is widely expected to go up in price. All t
178 spink : In order to improve the efficiencies of the 380, Airbus will need a viable biz argument for the money involved and that argument will be made under t
179 cmf : Tell that to Boeing having most of the 767 line dependent on a single customer taking a very low number of planes per month. If so everything bigger
180 Post contains images EPA001 : No, it is not. The losses are already taken by Airbus, all these costs are sunk costs. So they have no bearing anymore on a possible decision to brin
181 cmf : It will carry no weight what so ever. All that matters is what the numbers tell will have the best return/risk. Which is why the forecasts call for v
182 2175301 : I disagree with your assertion that Airbus has been clear when they will have the break even on production cost under control. Their current 2015 est
183 racercoup : You contradict yourself in one paragraph. You start out inferring all cost are "sunk costs" and each delivery is cash flow posiative, and then you sw
184 Stitch : It's exactly what he said. Airbus has already paid for the original R&D and production start-up costs for the A380 program with the exception of
185 ricknroll : There won't be anything out by 2020 that will change the CASM, if that's your main priority. Which just happens to be one of the most successful airli
186 spink : More accurately the wrote off the long term R&D expenses/depreciation and paid off what could be paid off via profits from other projects. The A3
187 Post contains images EPA001 : That is indeed exactly what I said and exactly what I meant with my comment.
188 ricknroll : No, it's not. Arguably it also applies to the luxury flier who wants a super premium product, RASM. The person who wants a good price, which it's CAS
189 Revelation : It's a mixed message. EK is a well financed wonderfully run business that certainly is a great A380 customer. It's also clearly gotten a lot of route
190 ricknroll : All true. The EK forumula is using the best aircraft to meet their requirements, the 77W is a part of their success, and the smaller 77W will always
191 Post contains images cmf : Airbus paid everything. Suppliers, employees, everyone got paid. Write off doesn't mean they didn't pay. It means the accounting charges expected to
192 abba : I think they would have done a few things differently - among other things ensured that all parties working on the project used the same version of s
193 racercoup : New thread on A-Net: H K Airlines Considering Cancelling A380 Order If H K were to cancel their A380 order, this could be a big blow to Airbus. With K
194 Revelation : Thanks for your well considered comments, but I'm just not hearing people call out the scenarios under which it will be profitable. Each one seems to
195 cmf : Where have they said they will have the same number of sales each year over 20 years?
196 Post contains images Stitch : There is no way Airbus wrote off those expenses. Yes, they have had some write-offs, write-downs and charges, but in total they don't come anywhere n
197 bigpoolshark : I think the A380s will eventually make money because of the sheer number of PAX one aircraft can hold. We just got a gigantic new A380 for Lufthansa a
198 tonymctigue : I think that after this thread is closed down we should all make a pact to wait say another 5 years or so for the jury to come back in and deliver its
199 N14AZ : Well spoken and your contribution would be a very appropriate final comment. May I just add that when I saw this thread for the first time I was temp
200 Revelation : I'm going off the statement: So perhaps I should have said they must average 38 sales every year for them to meet the assumptions made for their busi
201 cmf : With average it makes much more sense. Especially as it no longer include "per year each and every year for 20 years in a row" But even so there is o
202 LH707330 : Why do so many people think the 747 was such a big cash cow for Boeing in the 1980s and 90s? John Newhouse, in his book "Boeing versus Airbus" points
203 BrouAviation : No problem there. That's it. The airliners.net-invented 6-year-wall has nothing to do with being afraid to commit. It's just not possible to commit,
204 Flighty : AFAIK, the A380 has not paid even 1 Euro cent of its R&D cost. Or is production cashflow finally positive now?
205 Post contains images Stitch : 1) Airbus' customers; 2) The taxpayers of the United Kingdom, the Kingdom of Spain and the Republics of France and Germany; 3) EADS stockholders and
206 cmf : With Airbus money. No it doesn't. You want each commercialized program to cover its costs and generate a good margin but the only thing you need is f
207 ikramerica : That was my point like 200 ago. I think the idea of the whole program being profitable is unlikely, the idea it will return on it's investment is a f
208 Post contains images Flighty : Sure, such as "very large."
209 PITingres : So, Airbus learned nothing from the A380? Because if they have, as stitch has pointed out, there is intangible benefit there that doesn't necessarily
210 tonymctigue : I think that is a very good point and this is one of the very fundamental differences between the way engineers and accounts/economists think. They d
211 PITingres : Actually, it's not just the new techno successes I was thinking of. Airbus screwed up A380 production mightily in at least one respect, if not two or
212 Post contains images racercoup : Boy, some people can rationalize anything............
213 tonymctigue : I don't know why you are ashamed at something I posted! I am only stating my opinion and as someone who is a structural engineer, I appreciate that s
214 ikramerica : Believe what you want but those programs did make money. Not all programs did, of course. Some projects failed and ran the manufacturers into liquida
215 tonymctigue : Where in my post did you interpret that I stated those projects didn't make money? What I said was that they probably didn't yield the same levels of
216 kanban : you forget we were building jet bombers and KC-135's before we started the 707 line... it was a cheap revised application and yes the 727, 737, 747,
217 Post contains images brindabella : I'm glad you're all so positive about what you are saying, notwithstanding that the assertions are totally opposed! Either Stitch etc. are correct, a
218 Post contains links Revelation : If you read the quote again, which is from a very reliable poster, it does say it is a prediction used to close the business case. If you have better
219 Stitch : It probably has not, but that is a function of some of the funding mechanisms. RLI is expected to be repaid on a per-delivery schedule. I'm not sure
220 racercoup : What does this have to do with the thread topic. The topic is a profit and loss issue and you are discussing cash flow.
221 Stitch : Well then we should delete all of the posts in this thread for being off-topic since at this point it is not possible to state with certainty whether
222 rwessel : You're confusing two different things. As I understand what Airbus has done (and I don't really follow their financials), they've expensed their incu
223 PW100 : The 787 won't do the same thing until 2020 (what was it, 1100 frames?) by Boeing's own guidance. That is no necessarily a bad thing, but one must be
224 Flighty : Stitch posted a very good summary: Airbus A380 pays dividends of capability and knowledge and (cough) lessons learned. Education can be an investment
225 Revelation : Another point may be that there is a lot more market potential for 787 and A350 products than there is for A380 products, so one can more easily just
226 Post contains links racercoup : Boeing's accounting viewpoint http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...s-boeing-ceo-idUSTRE78P66P20110926
227 Post contains images cmf : You're making a mistake in thinking paid for equals reflected in P&L. Many development items are depreciated over many years, tools for example.
228 tonymctigue : I think we will have to disagree on this one. Of course you are right in that there could have been massive cost savings by developing A380 technolog
229 aircellist : That's terrifying.
230 PW100 : So by the time they have delivered their accounting quantity, isn't that (theoratically pretty close to) the point when all investment (R&D?) in
231 Revelation : Agree with what you are saying except the last sentence. History does matter. It's a huge influence on what we can or cannot do today. Boeing and Air
232 jfk777 : The A380 is another European grand plan of engineering, build it at no matter what the cost. It will probably be be profitable after 500 units but who
233 racercoup : Exactly my point earlier in this thread. Emirates was 35% of the first 250 orders but it won't be for the next 250 unless it takes a very long time t
234 Post contains links Revelation : Glad to see you've gotten past your disappointment and are able to contribute a discussion about the prospects of a program breaking even. It's kind
235 Post contains images cmf : No. The accounting block is about production cost and revenue for the items produced. No. No. Any attempt at trying to use it as a break even point i
236 Stitch : An issue with using the Accounting Block as a metric of "break even" is that as Boeing secures more orders, they increase the size of the Accounting B
237 fcogafa : And what about the Skymark order? Surely this is another 'Hong Kong Airlines' waiting to happen. Only the main line carriers will ever have the clout
238 Revelation : It's more than just guidance, it directly impacts what the companies can do today! Correct, but still, it's one of the few visible metrics one can ac
239 Stitch : But is it? All it tells us is how many airframes of that family Boeing expects to deliver over the active production life of that family. In the case
240 Post contains links cmf : Does it? Sure companies are judged on their historical results but is that anything but guidance to the people judging them? If a company carries lar
241 kanban : While some orate about financial models, and 'what if' sales.. the basic problem remains that as long as it costs more to produce, outfit, and deliver
242 astuteman : You are right that this is the real issue. Airbus have stated for some time now that per frame break-even point will be 2015. Funny though. They're n
243 Revelation : Sounds plausible to me, but it does contrast with something I picked up from the Bloomberg article: Which is in broad agreement with what you are say
244 Stitch : I guess it is because it's all they have to work with, but since it's a "running total" that is continuously updated based on Boeing's estimates of t
245 Post contains images cmf : If my mother had balls she could have been my dad This is becoming splitting hairs but I still consider history nothing but guidance. History makes s
246 Post contains links Daysleeper : The way aviation projects are accounted is incredibly complex and after a great deal of time collecting data and studying various methods I've come t
247 abba : ... and then we even don't think of the revenue generated from services and spares etc. after delivery![Edited 2012-08-19 12:28:44]
248 Post contains links and images SA7700 : This thread has become quite long and slow to load and difficult to follow for some users. It will therefore be locked and any posts added after the t
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