Take the A380 out & Boeing's profits skyrocket, Airbus must keep them at bay & it is why Boeing develop the 777X to counter the A380.
But is also why Airbus needs to decently update the A380.
To keep it competitive against the 777X, they will need to at minimum redesign the wing and add weight improvements at some point. Waiting for a NEO is too late IMO as that already puts the 777X in service by several years. The weight improvements should also help with the cargo issue.
Agreed, but because of sluggish sales Airbus could only go for the Plus.
The new engines won't be ready before several years & the market is not ripe for the necessary number of frames to recoup the investment. Even Doric's efforts have not come to fruition other than as the Plus. Fabrice Brégier said in January that the A380 had came a decade too early, thus only stressing the LT view of Airbus.
The 777X would have come about in any case & it came the moment Boeing finally admitted the darling 748i was no match for the A380 AND got the answer to whether Airbus would Neo the A380 as EK demanded. Had Airbus/EK gone forward, Boeing would have been forced to develop a clean-sheet VLA - if at all, to counter the new champion. But since they didn't, they MAXed the 777 instead, which is way cheaper but puts Boeing in a similar position with the 737max relative to the A320neo : reacting, not leading. Now that Boeing are absorbing much human & financial capital, Airbus is free to Neo & check the 777X on those missions it can, provided there is a market, which is expected in the next decade as traffic does nothing but grow.
If the Neo ever comes, which is the strategic optimum for Airbus compared to withdrawing - let alone developping a stretch, then weight improvements may actually call for less powerful engines like with the 777X. So the cargo issue would need to "stretch" the A380 to its base model as was originally planned, perhaps even stretch it then for real in the LT, but the market & the demand are simply not there. None. Yet. That is why an order from EK is crucial to keep the programme alive & credible, the latter is most important for financing.
If an order materializes tomorrow or in the next days, we will know how EK want it & from then on see if the Plus has momentum or not. All I am certain of is both EK & Airbus need the A380, the negociations I believe are more on price & conditions ( buy backs & perhaps scheduling the neo ). Also the value of the 787 order today is suspiciously equal to that expected from the projected A380 deal : such symmetries reek of political considerations & split orders. In the case EK really intend for the A380, as everything points to be in their best interest, the political situation in the region requires to also content the USA : a Boeing order was to be expected regardless of the frame & announcing it before the A380 is the right thing to do as the 787 has no crucial message to send to the world, contrary to sustaining the A380 again. Just happens the 787 fills EK's strategy well. What is less clear to me is that EK/FZ are more Boeing than Airbus in terms of value, I wonder how the EU is taking this considering EK's model cannot work without their 4 daily waves to Europe & will ask for more capacity : are France & Germany willing to allow for EK's expansion in order to sell more frames ?
Last edited by DWC
on Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:15 am, edited 1 time in total.