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pythoniels
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:02 am

Sad to see some airlines already retiring these birds, although the reason is quite clear... Remember it as it was yesterday, the crowd, that big plane finally taking off into the skies. But that sound, I was surprised how quiet the aircraft was...

Some 10 years ago I was at TLS with the guided A380 tour and I remember when the bus entered the platform in front of the construction hall, one of the prototypes taxied alongside us. I then completely realized how huge it was.

Certainly one of the best rides I've had on BA/EK.
 
filipinoavgeek
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Sep 14, 2020 11:55 am

pythoniels wrote:
Sad to see some airlines already retiring these birds, although the reason is quite clear... Remember it as it was yesterday, the crowd, that big plane finally taking off into the skies. But that sound, I was surprised how quiet the aircraft was...

Some 10 years ago I was at TLS with the guided A380 tour and I remember when the bus entered the platform in front of the construction hall, one of the prototypes taxied alongside us. I then completely realized how huge it was.

Certainly one of the best rides I've had on BA/EK.


I still can't believe that 9V-SKA is no longer with us. I still remember watching the live news report on TV about that first Singapore to Sydney flight. Hard to believe less than 10 years later it would be retired by SQ without fanfare (in contrast to the massive hype and fanfare it got during its debut) and just a few short years later it's nothing more than an empty shell in Tarbes and limited-edition luggage tags (which I missed out on, time to go hunting on eBay). Ironically I'm sure a lot of those "Onboard the first A380 commercial flight" certificates outlived the actual plane itself, which even to the plane's detractors must be heartbreaking. It reminds of a post I saw on Twitter of a couple who flew onboard 9V-SKA on their honeymoon to Singapore, and now the husband bought keychains made of that very plane.
Last edited by filipinoavgeek on Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
filipinoavgeek
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:00 pm

mzlin wrote:
https://samchui.com/2020/09/11/lufthansa-to-retire-all-a380-and-b747-400-aircraft/#.X1vWAi2ZP_B

A380 to be fully eliminated from LH. Being discussed in the LH thread too but makes sense to circle back to our predictions here.


When the flag carriers of the A380's two biggest (non-UAE) backers have either retired the plane for good or are considering doing so, that's a big blow to the A380. The sad thing is that this was going to happen sooner or later even without COVID (after all, Air France's decision was made long before the pandemic), meaning all that did was hasten the inevitable.

texl1649 wrote:
Interesting.

https://twitter.com/flightglobal/status ... 04353?s=21

Water under the bridge and all of that but this is more than I’d have figured might have been offered/posited, I thought it was supposed to really only be an A380 “Plus” with only a half step change in fuel use.

We got very close to getting the Neo done, which I still believe has a place today, post-Covid, in the 2025-plus timeframe,” he says.

With orders at the time for 142 A380s, Emirates was a strong proponent of the proposed mid-life update, which Clark says also included plans for a stretch.

“With the winglets changing, propulsion and gear in some cases, this was an aeroplane that I think was going to be absolutely brilliant,” he says.

A key upgrade was the incorporation of an enhanced version of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine that currently powers the Airbus A350.

Had the Trent XWB, as the baseline engine for the A380neo, been developed to where Rolls told us it would be, we were talking about a step-change in consumption – the usual thing about a 12-14% in fuel [burn].

Clark says that despite undertaking much work with Airbus on the proposed variant, “events overtook us and that was the end of that”.


Clark's bullishness on the A380 compared to the bearishness of everyone else makes me wonder if Emirates would still love the plane as much once he's gone. The fact that Emirates has A350s/787s/777Xs on order probably says something about that end.
 
NIKV69
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:13 pm

pythoniels wrote:
Sad to see some airlines already retiring these birds, although the reason is quite clear... Remember it as it was yesterday, the crowd, that big plane finally taking off into the skies. But that sound, I was surprised how quiet the aircraft was...

Some 10 years ago I was at TLS with the guided A380 tour and I remember when the bus entered the platform in front of the construction hall, one of the prototypes taxied alongside us. I then completely realized how huge it was.

Certainly one of the best rides I've had on BA/EK.


From the start we all knew this bird wouldn't be economical to fly and that many airlines would lose money with them except maybe Emirates. Hardly a surprise.
 
pythoniels
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:36 pm

NIKV69 wrote:
pythoniels wrote:
Sad to see some airlines already retiring these birds, although the reason is quite clear... Remember it as it was yesterday, the crowd, that big plane finally taking off into the skies. But that sound, I was surprised how quiet the aircraft was...

Some 10 years ago I was at TLS with the guided A380 tour and I remember when the bus entered the platform in front of the construction hall, one of the prototypes taxied alongside us. I then completely realized how huge it was.

Certainly one of the best rides I've had on BA/EK.


From the start we all knew this bird wouldn't be economical to fly and that many airlines would lose money with them except maybe Emirates. Hardly a surprise.

Not really. With the increase in passenger demand over the last few years and with several slot restricted airports around the globe, the A380 still meant an increase in passengers. Although the A380 may not work on all routes, we've still seen some interesting development in routes where the A380 was deployed. Just some examples, AF to ABJ, MEX etc. In terms of passenger comfort, there's no aircraft around that's near the comfort (imho).

Would have loved to see Airbus developing the A380NEO or create some refurb programme for the current A380. Although I'm guessing airlines need the capacity in the next few years.

My guess: some 30-40 frames will be flown to Spain, USA for long term storage and when the time has come, they are put back into operation again.
 
ScottB
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:17 pm

pythoniels wrote:
My guess: some 30-40 frames will be flown to Spain, USA for long term storage and when the time has come, they are put back into operation again.


Ultimately this depends on EK (and maybe BA, CZ, QF, SQ, NH, KE, OZ) continuing to operate enough A380s to keep the global parts supply chains operating. Once those shut down, they're difficult and expensive to start back up, so the operators would be left with scrounging parts from aircraft parked in deserts.
 
DenverTed
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:53 pm

It seems like the design was always dictated by the containers. The A300 thru A340, I'm not sure adding a second floor to that at 3-3 would have been a good design, that seems like an ungainly fuselage section. In retrospect, I think they should have copied the 747 circular fuselage in the back for a 10x single deck aircraft, but added another 6" to the diameter for wider seats. More or less an 80m x 80m aircraft. As far as a double decker egg goes, I think they did pretty good. Maybe they should have shrunk it slightly, like 6" less wide, because 252" for 10x was to generous, and upstairs designed around a 1-2-1 business class section, at least 20" wider at shoulder height than the 747 upper deck for the additional aisle.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:22 pm

DenverTed wrote:
It seems like the design was always dictated by the containers. The A300 thru A340, I'm not sure adding a second floor to that at 3-3 would have been a good design, that seems like an ungainly fuselage section. In retrospect, I think they should have copied the 747 circular fuselage in the back for a 10x single deck aircraft, but added another 6" to the diameter for wider seats. More or less an 80m x 80m aircraft. As far as a double decker egg goes, I think they did pretty good. Maybe they should have shrunk it slightly, like 6" less wide, because 252" for 10x was to generous, and upstairs designed around a 1-2-1 business class section, at least 20" wider at shoulder height than the 747 upper deck for the additional aisle.

https://www.icas.org/media/pdf/ICAS%20C ... ampion.pdf from 2006 by the head of the A380 program is instructive.

Page 6 shows they considered 8+6, 10+6 and 10+8 cross sections.

It also shows they defined their core market as 550-650 passengers per plane.

This drove them to the selection of the 10+8 selection.

Clearly, their estimate of their core market was overly optimistic.

The engineers built to this set of requirements, complete with built in stretch to cover that core 550-650 passengers.

The rest is history.

We could say we have a 10x aircraft with circular fuselage, it's the 77W.

Not as comfortable as some would like, but it has two less engines than the A380 so the airlines like it a lot.
 
VV
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:31 pm

Airbus delivered no A380 during the first 8 months of 2020.

How many brand new A380 are currently stored at Airbus facilities or elsewhere?
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:09 pm

VV wrote:
Airbus delivered no A380 during the first 8 months of 2020.

How many brand new A380 are currently stored at Airbus facilities or elsewhere?

ABCD A380 production list says there are 8 EK and 1 NH to be delivered.

The NH and 4 of the EK have had their first flights. The NH is listed as being in TLS, the EK ones are listed as being in XFW.

I'd use the term undelivered rather than stored, though.

It seems that Airbus uses Chartreaux for storage, that's where their A350s are going at least.
 
9Patch
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:43 pm

Strato2 wrote:
Sokes wrote:
We bought the wrong plane because we didn't have the right algorithms.
What talk is that?
Also:
If CASM of B747-8 is as good as of A380, why didn't airlines buy the smaller plane?


Obviously BS. The 747 has sold pathetic 35 airplanes to three carriers whereas A380 is at 250 while being a bigger (disadvantaged) plane. Tells all really.

Selling only 250 copies of a clean sheet design is pathetic.
Oh, and how many A380F did Airbus deliver?
 
VV
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:52 am

Revelation wrote:
VV wrote:
Airbus delivered no A380 during the first 8 months of 2020.

How many brand new A380 are currently stored at Airbus facilities or elsewhere?

ABCD A380 production list says there are 8 EK and 1 NH to be delivered.

The NH and 4 of the EK have had their first flights. The NH is listed as being in TLS, the EK ones are listed as being in XFW.

I'd use the term undelivered rather than stored, though.

It seems that Airbus uses Chartreaux for storage, that's where their A350s are going at least.



So basically all A380 have been completed or are at the last stage of completion.

It now depends on the customers to take delivery of the backlog of eight.
 
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JannEejit
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:51 am

9Patch wrote:
Strato2 wrote:
Sokes wrote:
We bought the wrong plane because we didn't have the right algorithms.
What talk is that?
Also:
If CASM of B747-8 is as good as of A380, why didn't airlines buy the smaller plane?


Obviously BS. The 747 has sold pathetic 35 airplanes to three carriers whereas A380 is at 250 while being a bigger (disadvantaged) plane. Tells all really.

Selling only 250 copies of a clean sheet design is pathetic.
Oh, and how many A380F did Airbus deliver?


It still sold more than the L-1011 (just) and as much as that wasn't a roaring success I don't recall it's place in history being referred to as "failed". Other clean sheet designs have sold far less too. The A380F had orders, Airbus cancelled it to concentrate on getting the passenger version through development issues and into service.

Circumstances have let the aircraft down more so than the concept itself. Airbus took an informed gamble, not a complete guess. The new aircraft crashed head long into a recession that's since been beaten away by an even bigger economic disaster the likes of which nobody could have foreseen. Seldom has there been an aircraft so popular with passengers in terms of sheer comfort and satisfaction. A little credit due...no ?
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:03 am

On another thread a poster indicated that a 5% increase in cost could not cause a contraction. The A380 between making the decisions to incorporate the capability for a stretch, the 388 size being 10% larger than optimum (about 1.5x the capacity jump typical between models), and the engines not being paired up with the T1000 & GEnX engines incurred something like 5 to 10% over its optimum.

Airlines select models on very tight economic requirements, 5% increased costs kills a model.

Look locally, do you buy the cheapest ticket on Orbitz, or go for the flight that is 5% more.
 
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Polot
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:26 am

JannEejit wrote:
It still sold more than the L-1011 (just) and as much as that wasn't a roaring success I don't recall it's place in history being referred to as "failed".

While a technical marvel the L-1011 is frequently considered a failure. I mean its lack of success knocked Lockheed out of the commercial market. By their own admission at the time they announced the end of the line Lockheed had lost $2.5 billion (in early 80s dollars) on the program.

Development costs were also a lot lower back then (and consequently the bar for a “successful” program). The 747 program cost <$8 billion in today’s dollars to develop. That is not the case with the A380, which is estimated to cost around $25 billion.
 
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JannEejit
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:16 pm

Polot wrote:
JannEejit wrote:
It still sold more than the L-1011 (just) and as much as that wasn't a roaring success I don't recall it's place in history being referred to as "failed".

While a technical marvel the L-1011 is frequently considered a failure. I mean its lack of success knocked Lockheed out of the commercial market. By their own admission at the time they announced the end of the line Lockheed had lost $2.5 billion (in early 80s dollars) on the program.

Development costs were also a lot lower back then (and consequently the bar for a “successful” program). The 747 program cost <$8 billion in today’s dollars to develop. That is not the case with the A380, which is estimated to cost around $25 billion.


All correct and perfectly valid comment, my post was more in reaction to the notion that 250 sales (or thereabouts) is deemed to be failure. When we know there have been umpteen airliners selling ultimately much lower figures that aren't generally speaking talked about as absolute failures. I still suggest some credit is due for an airliner that as a craft was well received even if the unfortunate circumstances surrounding it's "failure" were largely down to bad timing. And yes, I do understand all the many and varied arguments put forth already on this subject.
 
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LaunchDetected
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:56 pm

I spend three years working inside the A380 Final Assembly Line in TLS, despite the commercial failure, I will cherish this bird forever.

I had the chance to try both the lower and the upper deck (LH, Economy, MUC-HKG). The lower deck flight was not a wonderful experience as the shape of the side wall panels make it hard to rest its head against it. It was like your average 777 flight, but a little bit less noisy and shaking.

However the small LH economy cabin on the upper deck was so great. Climbing the stair was awesome and the bin next to the armrest was really convenient to put my backpack. The small cabin (only 4 rows) gave me a nice feeling of quietness. It was a perfect 8-hours sleep and the best flight of my life (and the bigger bang for the buck).
 
Bricktop
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:18 pm

JannEejit wrote:
Polot wrote:
JannEejit wrote:
It still sold more than the L-1011 (just) and as much as that wasn't a roaring success I don't recall it's place in history being referred to as "failed".

While a technical marvel the L-1011 is frequently considered a failure. I mean its lack of success knocked Lockheed out of the commercial market. By their own admission at the time they announced the end of the line Lockheed had lost $2.5 billion (in early 80s dollars) on the program.

Development costs were also a lot lower back then (and consequently the bar for a “successful” program). The 747 program cost <$8 billion in today’s dollars to develop. That is not the case with the A380, which is estimated to cost around $25 billion.


All correct and perfectly valid comment, my post was more in reaction to the notion that 250 sales (or thereabouts) is deemed to be failure. When we know there have been umpteen airliners selling ultimately much lower figures that aren't generally speaking talked about as absolute failures. I still suggest some credit is due for an airliner that as a craft was well received even if the unfortunate circumstances surrounding it's "failure" were largely down to bad timing. And yes, I do understand all the many and varied arguments put forth already on this subject.

You would agree though, would you not, that the aviation market size at the time of L-1011 was substantially less than the market at the time of the A380, and so comparing them in terms of frames sold is not really relevant.
 
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JannEejit
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:39 pm

Bricktop wrote:
JannEejit wrote:
Polot wrote:
While a technical marvel the L-1011 is frequently considered a failure. I mean its lack of success knocked Lockheed out of the commercial market. By their own admission at the time they announced the end of the line Lockheed had lost $2.5 billion (in early 80s dollars) on the program.

Development costs were also a lot lower back then (and consequently the bar for a “successful” program). The 747 program cost <$8 billion in today’s dollars to develop. That is not the case with the A380, which is estimated to cost around $25 billion.


All correct and perfectly valid comment, my post was more in reaction to the notion that 250 sales (or thereabouts) is deemed to be failure. When we know there have been umpteen airliners selling ultimately much lower figures that aren't generally speaking talked about as absolute failures. I still suggest some credit is due for an airliner that as a craft was well received even if the unfortunate circumstances surrounding it's "failure" were largely down to bad timing. And yes, I do understand all the many and varied arguments put forth already on this subject.

You would agree though, would you not, that the aviation market size at the time of L-1011 was substantially less than the market at the time of the A380, and so comparing them in terms of frames sold is not really relevant.


Perhaps, but the A380 is not the only modern day airliner to have sold less than expected, predicted or otherwise.
 
ScottB
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:22 pm

JannEejit wrote:
Perhaps, but the A380 is not the only modern day airliner to have sold less than expected, predicted or otherwise.


And many of those products are also classified as commercial failures. 717, MD-90, 767-400ER, A340-500, A340-600, 737-600, A318, need I continue?

1,831 727s were sold. By today's standards (737 and A320) that's a fairly modest number of sales. But by the standards of the 1960s and 1970s the 727 was a roaring success. It's probably harder to name airlines of those days which didn't operate the 727; heck, even WN briefly had a couple of 727s leased from BN.

JannEejit wrote:
Circumstances have let the aircraft down more so than the concept itself. Airbus took an informed gamble, not a complete guess. The new aircraft crashed head long into a recession that's since been beaten away by an even bigger economic disaster the likes of which nobody could have foreseen.


Economic cycles are a fact of life. The 747 launched into an OPEC oil embargo which quadrupled oil prices worldwide and had an even more severe impact in the U.S. The 1970s were marked by slow growth and rising prices -- so-called "stagflation." And FWIW the A380's goose was already cooked by the time the worldwide coronavirus pandemic response plunged economies into recession and airlines into insolvency.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:51 pm

JannEejit wrote:
It still sold more than the L-1011 (just) and as much as that wasn't a roaring success I don't recall it's place in history being referred to as "failed". Other clean sheet designs have sold far less too. The A380F had orders, Airbus cancelled it to concentrate on getting the passenger version through development issues and into service.

Circumstances have let the aircraft down more so than the concept itself. Airbus took an informed gamble, not a complete guess. The new aircraft crashed head long into a recession that's since been beaten away by an even bigger economic disaster the likes of which nobody could have foreseen. Seldom has there been an aircraft so popular with passengers in terms of sheer comfort and satisfaction. A little credit due...no ?

A lot of non-sequiturs here.

No one said Airbus took a complete guess, they pay people to research the market.

All aircraft families have to deal with economic crises during their lifetime.

The L-1011 had to deal with the 70s oil crisis as it entered the market and Rolls-Royce's bankruptcy before.

The concept itself let the A380 down.

Read the PDF I linked in #108.

Airbus looked hard at 8+6, 10+6 and 10+8 cross sections.

Their choice to define their core market as 550-650 passengers per plane drove them to the selection of the 10+8 cross section.

It also drove them to build in excess capacity for the -900 stretch and -800R long range models.

Credit is due to the A380 engineering team at Airbus, they built a marvelous plane.

Contempt is due to the A380 marketing team at Airbus, it's a big challenge to get it right, but it's their job to get it right and they let ambition get well ahead of reason.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:38 pm

IIRC, the 380 was a little better than designers expected, and the 748 was a little worse. This had consequences, although neither was a commercial success.
 
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PW100
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:30 pm

Bricktop wrote:
You would agree though, would you not, that the aviation market size at the time of L-1011 was substantially less than the market at the time of the A380, and so comparing them in terms of frames sold is not really relevant.


Would you agree that OTOH comparing them in terms of frames sold is equally hampered in relevancy when comparing a 800+ seater frame with 400 seater frame . . . ?
 
Antarius
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:40 pm

PW100 wrote:
Bricktop wrote:
You would agree though, would you not, that the aviation market size at the time of L-1011 was substantially less than the market at the time of the A380, and so comparing them in terms of frames sold is not really relevant.


Would you agree that OTOH comparing them in terms of frames sold is equally hampered in relevancy when comparing a 800+ seater frame with 400 seater frame . . . ?


I guess, if we have to somehow compare two unsuccessful types, the a380 didn't kill off Airbus commercial, while the L1011 ended Lockheed's foray into the space completely.

But, no 800+ seats, is not how the a380 is being operated. So chucking that number out is not really useful.
 
Bricktop
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:43 pm

PW100 wrote:
Bricktop wrote:
You would agree though, would you not, that the aviation market size at the time of L-1011 was substantially less than the market at the time of the A380, and so comparing them in terms of frames sold is not really relevant.


Would you agree that OTOH comparing them in terms of frames sold is equally hampered in relevancy when comparing a 800+ seater frame with 400 seater frame . . . ?

Sure. Makes the comparison marginally closer, but not enough to make it valid. The A380 is one of a kind, and its demise should be a sad thing for all avgeeks. I bought into the JL spiel, but then I didn't have any skin in the game so why not? Luckily I have got to see examples from every airline except for NH, which I think is the prettiest a it happens. Maybe post-Covid, a trip to Hawaii is in order. I should have added them to the list of survivors along with EK and CZ.
 
filipinoavgeek
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:56 pm

Bricktop wrote:
PW100 wrote:
Bricktop wrote:
You would agree though, would you not, that the aviation market size at the time of L-1011 was substantially less than the market at the time of the A380, and so comparing them in terms of frames sold is not really relevant.


Would you agree that OTOH comparing them in terms of frames sold is equally hampered in relevancy when comparing a 800+ seater frame with 400 seater frame . . . ?

Sure. Makes the comparison marginally closer, but not enough to make it valid. The A380 is one of a kind, and its demise should be a sad thing for all avgeeks. I bought into the JL spiel, but then I didn't have any skin in the game so why not? Luckily I have got to see examples from every airline except for NH, which I think is the prettiest a it happens. Maybe post-Covid, a trip to Hawaii is in order. I should have added them to the list of survivors along with EK and CZ.


I have doubts on if the A380s are going to stay with NH in the long-term given that they are intended for a single route thus far (NRT-HNL) but more importantly how NH never really wanted them in the first place (they were more-or-less forced to order them as part of the Skymark deal).
 
VV
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:24 pm

Is it safe to assume that most of the remaining A380 in the backlog will get delivered in 2021 (and perhaps 2022)?
 
9Patch
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:14 pm

JannEejit wrote:
The new aircraft crashed head long into a recession that's since been beaten away by an even bigger economic disaster the likes of which nobody could have foreseen.

Ah the old recession excuse. All aircraft types, widebodies and narrow bodies endured the same recession.

Seldom has there been an aircraft so popular with passengers in terms of sheer comfort and satisfaction. A little credit due...no ?

Passengers love it. Most airlines couldn't operate it profitably.
 
DenverTed
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:23 pm

Revelation wrote:
DenverTed wrote:
It seems like the design was always dictated by the containers. The A300 thru A340, I'm not sure adding a second floor to that at 3-3 would have been a good design, that seems like an ungainly fuselage section. In retrospect, I think they should have copied the 747 circular fuselage in the back for a 10x single deck aircraft, but added another 6" to the diameter for wider seats. More or less an 80m x 80m aircraft. As far as a double decker egg goes, I think they did pretty good. Maybe they should have shrunk it slightly, like 6" less wide, because 252" for 10x was to generous, and upstairs designed around a 1-2-1 business class section, at least 20" wider at shoulder height than the 747 upper deck for the additional aisle.

https://www.icas.org/media/pdf/ICAS%20C ... ampion.pdf from 2006 by the head of the A380 program is instructive.

Page 6 shows they considered 8+6, 10+6 and 10+8 cross sections.

It also shows they defined their core market as 550-650 passengers per plane.

This drove them to the selection of the 10+8 selection.

Clearly, their estimate of their core market was overly optimistic.

The engineers built to this set of requirements, complete with built in stretch to cover that core 550-650 passengers.

The rest is history.

We could say we have a 10x aircraft with circular fuselage, it's the 77W.

Not as comfortable as some would like, but it has two less engines than the A380 so the airlines like it a lot.

Going back, if they were to design an optimized airliner that A, fit in the 80m x 80m box in its largest stretched version, and B, had a high aspect wing like the A340/A330, what was the ideal weight and fuselage section for those constraints? A 9 + 7 cross section and a 80m wing with less area might have been a better balance.
 
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Matt6461
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:04 am

Revelation wrote:
Contempt is due to the A380 marketing team at Airbus, it's a big challenge to get it right, but it's their job to get it right and they let ambition get well ahead of reason.


Contempt is absolutely warranted for their analytical clarity in this project. They misread the basic fundamentals so profoundly it's a wonder any of them lasted as long as they did.

At the same time I respect their ambition and willingness publicly to invoke the public-good aspects of the investment such as saving airport space and making something for European pride. Government help definitely spurred them in that direction - even smart people don't follow good analysis when your dinner parties involve a shared social goal. In the broadest view of things $20bn is a rounding error on a decade of European social spending.

While it's okay to lose a chunk of change every now and then pursuing laudable policy goals, the sheer incompetence of the A380 disaster has doubtless diminished support for publicly-subsidized "moonshots" or publicly-inflected projects. In a world where neo-liberalism and market fundamentalism threatens to kill us all, this is a big part of the real tragedy of the A380.

Airbus management seemed to over-learn the A380 lesson post-2007 or so, ignoring the low-hanging fruit belatedly offered in the A380Plus (winglets, internal efficiency). Once bit, twice shy. As I've written extensively elsewhere, the A380 could have been a great plane if later revisions had revised its wing, empennage, and engines. The half-stretch NEO was a half-step in the right direction but even this project wasn't accompanied by sufficient Airbus investment to attract an engine as new as the NEO. By the time circumstances forced Airbus to publicly vet revisions, Airbus was well into copying and/or colluding with Boeing on the "no moonshots" doctrine. With a safe Transatlantic duopoly, nestled in decades of dismantling anti-trust legal protections and defanging all but market-based critiques of corporate behavior, A & B are and will happily give the proceeds of past investments (many of them public) to shareholders while the public rides inefficient planes or (for most of the world) can't afford to fly at all.

I'm not saying that a well-executed A380 would have stemmed the tides of neo-liberalism and the hollowing of the public sphere, but its abject failure reflects, and in some way contributed to, this dreary outcome.

Six years ago I stated:

Unless it radically changes [the A380 is] done. In my last post I spent some time arguing about whether the A380 is 5% worse than 77W per seat or vice versa. I don’t want to do so here. No matter who has a 5 or even 10% advantage, the A380 is not sufficiently better than smaller competition to justify its size.


viewtopic.php?t=774669

I got a lot of blowback here as an "A380-hater" but I always loved the idea of the A380, just hated its implementation. It's bittersweet to have been right.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:18 am

Matt6461 wrote:
At the same time I respect their ambition and willingness publicly to invoke the public-good aspects of the investment such as saving airport space and making something for European pride. Government help definitely spurred them in that direction - even smart people don't follow good analysis when your dinner parties involve a shared social goal. In the broadest view of things $20bn is a rounding error on a decade of European social spending.

While it's okay to lose a chunk of change every now and then pursuing laudable policy goals, the sheer incompetence of the A380 disaster has doubtless diminished support for publicly-subsidized "moonshots" or publicly-inflected projects. In a world where neo-liberalism and market fundamentalism threatens to kill us all, this is a big part of the real tragedy of the A380.


As a point of order, ultimately virtually all of the funding for the A380 was generated by profits from the A320 and A330.
Out of that $20Bn, government backed loans were E3.4Bn, and most of that got repaid (perhaps not all)
Certainly, in the period of the A380's development, Airbus repaid pretty much the same amount of government funding across all programmes as they received on the A380.

In the sense that, on the original forecast, the E3.4Bn was a large chunk of the E9.5Bn originally forecast, it is probably reasonable to portray the A380 as "government sponsored" as it almost certainly wouldn't have happened without that government support. As it turned out, even though the costs ballooned, most of that came out of airlines pockets..

Rgds
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:35 am

Astuteman wrote:
ultimately virtually all of the funding for the A380 was generated by profits from the A320 and A330.


Howdy old-timer.

2/3's of the projected outlay funded by Airbus.
2/3's doesn't coincide with my definition of "virtually all."

Where did the A330/340 profits come from? Decades of public investment in aeronautical research - directly for the A380 via EASA and its predecessors IIRC and indirectly through universities - was a necessary condition. This isn't a critique of Airbus btw - applies to Boeing at least as much.

Astuteman wrote:
most of that got repaid (perhaps not all)


Astuteman wrote:
it is probably reasonable to portray the A380 as "government sponsored" as it almost certainly wouldn't have happened without that government support.


If I go to a bank and get a loan, a necessary condition of which is it involves some non-financial return to the loan officer (I'm famous and he wants invites to my parties or something) then the loan officer has (depending on jurisdiction) committed a crime and/or is civilly liable to the bank's owners. That I happened to repay the loan makes no difference. The violation sounds in duty to shareholders, which (so says the law and market fundamentalism) care only about bank profits.

Here a necessary condition of Airbus' loan was some non-financial benefit to Europe (jobs, pride).

In both cases the loan is violation of profit maximization principles, were European governments acting as profit maximizers.

My whole point is that governments shouldn't act as profit maximizers, a view under which loaning - even giving - Airbus money to create a socially useful airplane is encouraged (with appropriate clawbacks or other leverage for the people).

Anyway, not sure you disagree with any of that. Just spelling out that (1) we may be in the midst of a decades-long expansion of the gap between what's theoretically possible for commercial flight and what's actually offered (e.g. no clean-sheet designs for another decade or two), (2) that gap is enabled by a tacitly collusive duopoly and short-term obsessed shareholders, (3) that the political conditions for forcing more competition do not exist right now, and (4) Airbus' blatant incompetence at conceiving the A380 have damaged and will damage the ability to change political conditions.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:07 am

astuteman wrote:
Out of that $20Bn, government backed loans were E3.4Bn, and most of that got repaid (perhaps not all)

Where is the evidence of that?
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Wed Sep 16, 2020 12:11 pm

Matt6461 wrote:
2/3's of the projected outlay funded by Airbus.
2/3's doesn't coincide with my definition of "virtually all."


"Projected" and "actual out-turn" are two very different things, espeically on the A380 :)

Matt6461 wrote:
Anyway, not sure you disagree with any of that.


Correct, and certainly not enough to indulge in a pedantic argument over :)

9Patch wrote:
Where is the evidence of that?


It was traceable through the year-on-year accounts by tracking the total liability in the balance sheet for government loans over those years.
I followed it and traced it once.
Not doing it again.
You're welcome to have a go if you want :)

Rgds
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:33 pm

astuteman wrote:
9Patch wrote:
Where is the evidence of that?


It was traceable through the year-on-year accounts by tracking the total liability in the balance sheet for government loans over those years.
I followed it and traced it once.
Not doing it again.
You're welcome to have a go if you want :)

Rgds

I'd like to try.
Can you tell me the name of documents you searched and how you obtained them?
Did you save any of you work or post your findings on a.net?
 
ScottB
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:22 pm

Matt6461 wrote:
Just spelling out that (1) we may be in the midst of a decades-long expansion of the gap between what's theoretically possible for commercial flight and what's actually offered (e.g. no clean-sheet designs for another decade or two), (2) that gap is enabled by a tacitly collusive duopoly and short-term obsessed shareholders, (3) that the political conditions for forcing more competition do not exist right now, and (4) Airbus' blatant incompetence at conceiving the A380 have damaged and will damage the ability to change political conditions.


Well, the duopoly we have between Airbus and Boeing, and in some cases, near-monopolies in other markets, like internet search or desktop computer operating systems, ends up being the natural result of an industry where the barriers to entry are incredibly high and economies of scale make it very difficult for upstarts to successfully challenge incumbents. Typically some sort of disruptive product is required to challenge the status quo in the market -- like an iPhone.

A "new" entrant in airliner manufacture has to have tends of billions of dollars/euros to develop a new model, construct production facilities, and build a global support network. Bombardier tried to build something that would disrupt the low end of the narrowbody network and had to sell out to Airbus, even though they had decades of experience with designing and building aircraft. I don't think that short-term focus by shareholders is really the problem at Airbus or Boeing. Rather, the problem is that being first mover on a clean-sheet design just isn't worth the capital required to bring that product to market, especially if the competition responds with its own new design.

If you have the only new design with some sort of advantage in efficiency or function, you can presumably charge more for it. But if the competition responds after seeing or anticipating a market share shift, you end up in a similar or potentially worse market position with billions of dollars in capital flushed down the toilet for no return.
 
VV
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:01 am

It is interesting to note that the A380 still triggers emotional and passionate debate even after the manufacturer clearly decided to end the production in 2021 after the 251st delivery.

There are reasons why the production stops so early.
 
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Thu Sep 17, 2020 5:34 am

ScottB wrote:
Matt6461 wrote:
Just spelling out that (1) we may be in the midst of a decades-long expansion of the gap between what's theoretically possible for commercial flight and what's actually offered (e.g. no clean-sheet designs for another decade or two), (2) that gap is enabled by a tacitly collusive duopoly and short-term obsessed shareholders, (3) that the political conditions for forcing more competition do not exist right now, and (4) Airbus' blatant incompetence at conceiving the A380 have damaged and will damage the ability to change political conditions.


Well, the duopoly we have between Airbus and Boeing, and in some cases, near-monopolies in other markets, like internet search or desktop computer operating systems, ends up being the natural result of an industry where the barriers to entry are incredibly high and economies of scale make it very difficult for upstarts to successfully challenge incumbents.


Astuteman quite rightly calls me out for pedantry in making this point but nontheless:

My response depends entirely on what you mean by "natural" duopoly. Yes, classic economic theory will often tell you that a non-competitive situation is "natural." While that's true within the narrow prism of the workings of a market, it's neither true nor natural in, say, good public policy.

Where "natural" monopolies exist in utilities, for example, good policy says either "no dice" or "regulate the s&*t out of them" for the public good.

ScottB wrote:
Rather, the problem is that being first mover on a clean-sheet design just isn't worth the capital required to bring that product to market, especially if the competition responds with its own new design.


"the problem" is The Problem only if you assume that Good X must benefit a narrow group of shareholders to exist - i.e. if you're a market fundamentalist. Again, this pedantic tone is not directed at you but here in the U.S. a large portion of the populace actually believes that (oh you need healthcare? Too bad it won't make someone rich to keep you alive.).

I tend to agree that pure market forces won't give us a step-change in aviation efficiency any time soon, despite the obvious physics of flying more efficiently than our current planes. There's the Duopoly, yes, but there's also no incentive for any airline* to ask for an expensive, route-reconfiguring product that in the long run would, at best, only maintain airline margins. Far better go after high-time-value travelers who are happy to pay another $k to save an hour switching planes.

The problem is that making everybody's flights cheaper and/or more comfortable would have immense value to the flying public but little to negative value for A/B and the airlines. Sticking with classic economic analysis for now, a $50 decrease in the price of 5bn annual tickets creates a social surplus value of $250bn. But that social surplus doesn't make anyone rich, it just moves the supply curve lower. So the fate of that $250bn hinges on whether a few shareholders get $10bn out of the deal.

*EK is the exception. They would benefit disproportionately from larger, more efficient aircraft and therefore acted rationally in advocating a NEO.

I'd like to see American/European/(Chinese?) governments use carrots and sticks to force the OEM's to make - together if necessary - a product that uses basic physics and maybe even approaches the tech frontier to provide a massive global benefit. Of course that's not happening any time soon.
 
Kiwiandrew
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Thu Sep 17, 2020 5:54 am

I only got to fly on her once ( Emirates, unfortunately). She was an interesting aircraft, and a brave gamble, but ultimately the wrong aircraft for the vast majority of airlines, even prior to Covid.
 
astuteman
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:28 am

9Patch wrote:
astuteman wrote:
9Patch wrote:
Where is the evidence of that?


It was traceable through the year-on-year accounts by tracking the total liability in the balance sheet for government loans over those years.
I followed it and traced it once.
Not doing it again.
You're welcome to have a go if you want :)

Rgds

I'd like to try.
Can you tell me the name of documents you searched and how you obtained them?
Did you save any of you work or post your findings on a.net?


Gosh. It was a long time ago.
I ended up googling the Airbus (EADS) annual results from about 2000 to about 2007 and comparing them.
I stopped when the A350 RLI came in.
As I said, at that time certainly, EADS identified "Government loans" in the balance sheet. They weren't itemised.
I remember finding the early EADS results was phenomenally difficult, even back then
I'm pretty sure I would have been able to find an excel spreadsheet on the laptop 2 generations prior to this, but never saved the file across as it seemed pointless by then.

We had endless debates about "government funded" programmes even back then, so will almost certainly have posted something in the 2005-2007 period
Sorry that I can't be more specific.

Matt6461 wrote:
Astuteman quite rightly calls me out for pedantry in making this point but nontheless: .


Apologies if it came across quite that blunt.
I was expressing a genuine desire to avoid a pedantic argument whilst there was no major disagreement on the principle of the debate.
I've seen a few recently on here and wondered why we've spent 30 posts on an argument that hasn't added any value.

Rgds
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:52 pm

There are other economic dynamics in ticket pricing, nicely covered by the Seattle Times. Passengers have asymmetric information plus an empty seat brings no income, and some other odd powers, all of which, at least about 30 years ago meant that the average seat was selling for about $15 less than airlines needed to make a profit. Airlines were going bankrupt and I think it was this and not because CEOs were ignorant and incompetent. So rather than regulations in their favor (1950s up until deregulation), they have devised some quasi-monopolies. I suspect that at least part of the reason Airbus marketers pushed the 380 was to turn that minus $15 into a positive. Unfortunately only a good try.

Southwest seems to escape this dynamic, but one of the costs to the flying public is there are vast areas of the US where they do not fly. We could use a wonky set of threads on aviation economics. It won't be pretty.
 
ScottB
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:00 pm

Matt6461 wrote:
My response depends entirely on what you mean by "natural" duopoly. Yes, classic economic theory will often tell you that a non-competitive situation is "natural." While that's true within the narrow prism of the workings of a market, it's neither true nor natural in, say, good public policy.

Where "natural" monopolies exist in utilities, for example, good policy says either "no dice" or "regulate the s&*t out of them" for the public good.


Yes, from the standpoint of classic economic theory, the Airbus/Boeing duopoly does show characteristics similar to what we'd see with a natural monopoly -- near insurmountable cost of entry and powerful economies of scale. The problem with '"regulate the s&*t out of them" for the public good' is that this tends to only extend to preventing the monopolist from extracting extortionate profits as a result of the monopoly. In the market balance between A&B it appears the two tend to compete quite aggressively for business -- even to the point of violating anti-corruption laws.

Matt6461 wrote:
The problem is that making everybody's flights cheaper and/or more comfortable would have immense value to the flying public but little to negative value for A/B and the airlines. Sticking with classic economic analysis for now, a $50 decrease in the price of 5bn annual tickets creates a social surplus value of $250bn. But that social surplus doesn't make anyone rich, it just moves the supply curve lower. So the fate of that $250bn hinges on whether a few shareholders get $10bn out of the deal.


Agreed. But we tend to rely on markets to maximize social good simply because centuries of history have generally demonstrated that while results are uneven, Adam Smith's "invisible hand" tends to maximize the total amount of social good -- even if that social good ends up being unequally distributed. There's a fair amount of history of command economies producing abject failure due to an apparently inevitable tendency toward corruption and incompetence. We have grafted on socialist features in most or all Western economies but these also can distort the function of markets. Looking more directly at Airbus, it can be argued that the availability of government cash on easy terms led to some poor decisionmaking with respect to the A380 and A340NG programs.

"Comfort" is a difficult thing to value. And I'd actually argue that while customers tend to be quite vocal about comfort, they seem to place little actual monetary value on it. If you know what you're getting on Spirit or Frontier or Ryanair and you still book them over JetBlue or Southwest or KLM then you have made a decision about the financial value of comfort.
 
9Patch
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:49 pm

astuteman wrote:
9Patch wrote:
astuteman wrote:


It was traceable through the year-on-year accounts by tracking the total liability in the balance sheet for government loans over those years.
I followed it and traced it once.
Not doing it again.
You're welcome to have a go if you want :)

Rgds

I'd like to try.
Can you tell me the name of documents you searched and how you obtained them?
Did you save any of you work or post your findings on a.net?


Gosh. It was a long time ago.
I ended up googling the Airbus (EADS) annual results from about 2000 to about 2007 and comparing them.
As I said, at that time certainly, EADS identified "Government loans" in the balance sheet. They weren't itemised.

You stopped at 2007? The A380 didn't enter service until October 2007.
They weren't itemized? Then how did you know how much went to payback the A380 loans?
Yet, based on this you come to the conclusion:

astuteman wrote:
Out of that $20Bn, government backed loans were E3.4Bn, and most of that got repaid (perhaps not all)

Sorry, that's a real stretch, in my opinion.
 
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Matt6461
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:04 am

ScottB wrote:
we tend to rely on markets to maximize social good simply because centuries of history have generally demonstrated that while results are uneven, Adam Smith's "invisible hand" tends to maximize the total amount of social good


This is a discussion far afield of aviation. Nonetheless I have to say your commentary is completely ahistorical as there aren't centuries of history attesting to that very modern conception of markets and the government's role as mere enforcer of contract. It took centuries of social, material, and legal development to produce a brief moment in the 19th century when nearly-unalloyed free market policy ruled. Darwin and crackpot articulation of biological science as social science were probably necessary too (see Herbert Spencer e.g.). Every society that underwent this period rejected it within a few generations. If, like me, you attended an "elite" university and took economics courses, this history may have been drilled out of your head. I wish you recovery some day.
Last edited by Matt6461 on Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Matt6461
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:11 am

9Patch wrote:

astuteman wrote:
Out of that $20Bn, government backed loans were E3.4Bn, and most of that got repaid (perhaps not all)

Sorry, that's a real stretch, in my opinion.


I recall Astuteman's analysis making the case pretty solidly. Maybe instead of giving us your opinion you could provide some data and analysis yourself.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:05 am

Also with regards to Adam Smith's 'invisible hand', he used the phrase maybe twice and as a metaphor. Markets don't run via an invisible hand, they operate on the basis of very visible pricing. And also remember that Smith was first and foremost a moral philosopher. And greatly concerned about the economy serving the entire population.
 
9Patch
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:40 am

Matt6461 wrote:
9Patch wrote:

astuteman wrote:
Out of that $20Bn, government backed loans were E3.4Bn, and most of that got repaid (perhaps not all)

Sorry, that's a real stretch, in my opinion.


I recall Astuteman's analysis making the case pretty solidly. Maybe instead of giving us your opinion you could provide some data and analysis yourself.

I've never seen any data or analysis that indicate Airbus paid back the A380 loans, that's why I'm asking.
Since you recall Astuteman making the case pretty solidly, perhaps you could share your recollection.
 
jimatkins
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:31 am

Read Richard Aboulafia the other day. His statement about being able to fly point to point between a lot of previously unexpected city pairs as opposed to changing planes in Narita or Heathrow is pretty much on the money for why the A380 failed. It's convenience, not so much in time, but in the hassle of a hub airport. People voted with their credit cards. Covid was just the final nails in the coffin.
 
jayawarda
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:05 am

I love the A380 as a passenger on a long flight. I think very few passengers would disagree - big and spacious you can walk around in, versus some cramped "optimized" sardine can for 14 hours.

If we are still back in the age of highly-regulated flag carriers, the A380 will have longevity, including fixing whatever is needed due to poor timing or what not (e.g., better engines, configuration tweaks) - to get double digit % improvements like Emirates wanted.

What Airbus really got wrong is that de-regulation (including LCC rise) and more open skies (bypass the hubs) favoured more frequency and smaller planes on long hauls. Always thought their airport saturation argument was bogus - most airports still manage to stuff more takeoffs and landings somehow, and terminals can't handle batches of passengers at a time.

There is a reason why Emirates is basically the only customer - they are a single transit hub operator, thus essentially the regulated / non-open-skies model, in the right geographical location. Even Singapore Airlines, which has a similar model can't seem to use it as much (would love to see a comparison of their respective network analyses to confirm this).

The various chattering classes (business school professors, management consultants) also piled in - it was in vogue to say that Airbus can never match Boeing because the high capacity had a monopoly 747 and thus real margins, while the lowly commodity 737 / A320 class don't yield any profits.

In theory, i think within certain ranges, more passengers on big plane with less frequency should be more fuel efficient and less polluting, and that would be a worthy goal to pursue for big plane (hey, let's stuff over 1000 people at a time). But that can only work if airline licenses, taxes, slots, destination authorizations...in short, policy coordinated on global level that shapes industry structures, align towards it.

From a pure personal perspective, i want the comfort and grandeur of a civilized layout A380. I am not a sardine.
 
ScottB
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Re: The Airbus A380 Turns 15 Today (April 27)

Fri Sep 18, 2020 4:15 am

Matt6461 wrote:
If, like me, you attended an "elite" university and took economics courses, this history may have been drilled out of your head. I wish you recovery some day.


I did, but clearly we had different takeaways from our respective educations.

Matt6461 wrote:
there aren't centuries of history attesting to that very modern conception of markets and the government's role as mere enforcer of contract.


I wasn't really talking about the modern conception of markets, but rather how goods and services have long been assigned different relative values through market mechanism (often enabled by currency) and how those different relative values act as feedback mechanisms to inform the allocation of resources, labor, and capital. If anything, governments (and their proxies) are far, far more active in the regulation of markets now than at just about any point in history, with the possible exception of the command economies of the Soviet Bloc. Social safety nets and the active use of both fiscal and monetary policy are largely creations of the past century.

Government doesn't have to make poor decisions about the allocation of resources but often it does. Look at how U.S. defense contracts are spread out across as many Congressional districts as possible to ensure political support. Do you feel like you get great service at the DMV? That said, some cities do a great job with things like municipal broadband or utilities.

The U.S. had a regulated airline industry nearly a half century ago, and while the service and comfort were generally much better than today, air travel was far more expensive in real terms. Most Americans couldn't afford to fly. Many people seem to be perfectly willing to pay more for better hotels, rental cars, cruises, etc. -- so I think it's a reasonable conclusion that the market has spoken with respect to comfort. People will pay a bit more -- see the success of Delta or JetBlue -- but not a lot more, typically.

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