Were Airbus' decision processes perfectly rational, we either wouldn't have an A380 or we'd have a much different plane: only a very bad kind of economic thinking could have produced this financial disaster
Even if Airbus HAD to build a VLA, it didn't need to build a bad VLA that lost this much money and surely imposed some reputational costs.
Granted. But Tthe A380 was launched in 2000 & conceived some 20 years ago, you cannot use hoc ergo propter hoc thinking.
No one denies that the programme has fared below all Airbus expectations. But then few programmes actually fare according to plans.
Notable FAILURES so far : Concorde, TU-144, L-1011, MD-12, A346, A380, 748i
Notable MEGASUCCESSES exceeding all initial expectations : 737, A320 ( originally set at 800 frames ), A330/A340, 747, 77W
I don't think this is how a competitive market in airplanes works. The A380 is not the primary competition for the 777-9; the A350-900/1000 as well as the 787 are. Airlines think in terms of dollars not seat categories.
1. It's not just Demand that sets prices. Check Prices in Duopoly 101
2. The A380 & the 777 contribute to keep their prices in check, some tens of millions less, independently of Airline pressure.
3. The A350 & 787 introduced later must also play with the price pressure on the 777 & A380, so they they do not cannibalize them.
But even I granted your argument that somehow the A380 will prevent Boeing from getting $billions, that's not how good companies work either
You are wrong & it's not "my argument"
Get hold of Harvard Boeing/Airbus Business case & read the proper literature & economic research, not the newspaper pop-science.
And please, don't make the mistake of telling me that because I'm talking about profit I'm only caring about some narrow conception of profit. As I said above, even if I grant your other points, there's still no justification for losing this much money doing what Airbus has done and is doing with the A380.
You obviously are not a macroeconomist.
The 30 something positive aspects I elicited earlier about the A380 tell that the programme is globally positive for Airbus. I don't have the figures nor Airbus econometric model to quantify it for you, so I am sharing what my experience tells me.
Be sure that if it weren't positive, Airbus would have cancelled it. They did not hesitate in stopping the A346 with little more than half the orders the A380s now has, though I'll grant you that exit price was significantly less as actually Airbus did not get out of the WB market, commonalities & improvements on the A330 have made up for that handsomely.
But that directly contradicts everything that EK has said and done. EK is ready to order A380's IF production is guaranteed. That "IF" entails that EK does not believe it holds the A380's future in its hands. For your statement to be right, you'd have to know better than EK what impact an EK commitment would have on the A380's durability.
EK will order the A380. Forget the sable-ratling, EK craves for the A380, at their financial conditions ( and wishfully NEO-ed asap )
Consider that EK have never said they would stop ordering the A380 : they have anything but incremented on their initial order for 5 (!)
It is only because of this consistency that the A380 is afloat. If not, either other airlines may have ordered more of it or the programme would have gone bust, we will never know because world history cannot be reconstructed with ifs.