The T7000 or XWB engines are marginally more efficient than the T900.
7% isn't marginal, IMHO. STC shares that opinion. Then, there's the future PIPs it will get that T900 will never get, and commonality with T1000/TXWB/T7000 going forward. For RR, there's all those compensation payments it has to make because of T900. Killing T900 off would be a blessing for all involved.
Even if they were fitted to the 380, they would be a stopgap measure at best, while waiting for the NEO Mk2 using Ultrafans.
Yet the alternate for Airbus means forgetting about the oft-mentioned VLA surge in the 2020s (not to mention the entire VLA dream it's a part of) and for EK it means the end of A380 and its halo effect sooner rather than later (since they turn over their aircraft after 10-12 years).
The built in obsolescence of that model kills any business case.
Airbus made a bunch of decisions to ramp down and try to keep the model alive till the mid 2020s knowing they'd be losing money all along. If it was about not losing money they would have done what Boeing did with 757 and said "last call, get your orders in before we shut down", but they didn't. Clearly they had a larger strategic goal in mind.
In the meantime, the 380 continues to lose money with the added couple of billion of the shelf life limited NEO added to that.
Airbus signed the 20+18 contract with EK knowing they could not make money at the current production rate. It's hard to understand why they would do that but would not have agreed to a NEO in the 2014-6 time frame just as they were considering A330neo. Again, clearly they had a larger strategic goal in mind.
Optimistically, if Airbus started now, they might be able to begin producing a 380NEO by 2022.
This is where we agree -- the time to launch a NEO was 2014-6 not now. It would be coming out presumably some time this year. It would have killed off the T900 and the need to make compensation payments, especially if a retrofit kit could be found. It would have won the EK business and presumably a few more frames from a few of the loyalists such as SQ. It would have kept the infrastructure together to produce an enhanced A380 in the mid-late 2020s.
RIght now RR's financials do not permit anything strategic. All their spare change is going towards replacing T1000 blades, and it will do so for another year or two.
Finally winding down the A380 will leave whatever future VLA market exists to 779 which seems to be the exact opposite of Airbus strategy for the last several years. It's also going to cause a bunch of ugly write downs and RLA accelerations for Airbus to deal with. It's kind of Enders to take the hit before he leaves (if that's how things play out) but it'd mean that he'll forever be remembered as the man who killed the A380.