Moderators: jsumali2, richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 10
 
xwb777
Topic Author
Posts: 1027
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:13 pm

John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure-in service in 10 years? 2nd life after 2024?

Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:41 pm

Airbus ex-salesman, John Leahy, has blamed the A380 engines for the early failure of the aircraft. Leahy has expressed his love for the aircraft to the point that he has postponed his retirement just secure another another order for Emirates, which has seen some adjustments and cancellations on 14/02/2019.

John has expressed his thoughts about the A380 problems that started to appear when engine manufacturers were very assuring and over promised stating that the efficiency of the engines where as that of new generation engines.

More of the interview can be found at:
https://www.airlineratings.com/news/air ... 0-failure/
 
Antarius
Posts: 2971
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:27 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:03 pm

I mean, that was one of the things Leahy pointed out. He also said this

Singapore Airlines said they wouldn’t sign on if the A380 wouldn’t be meeting London’s QC2 noise standard. That meant extra weight with the re-designs that were necessary. Too much weight was built into the airplane, that was just a design-philosophic mistake, thinking we would do a stretched A380-900. We should have put in a structure that was needed now. They also put in extra weight because they wanted a freighter. But the optimal freighters are the ones that don’t have any extra weight. That was clearly a design-mistake that we have made.


and

Singapore Airlines said they wouldn’t sign on if the A380 wouldn’t be meeting London’s QC2 noise standard. That meant extra weight with the re-designs that were necessary. Too much weight was built into the airplane, that was just a design-philosophic mistake, thinking we would do a stretched A380-900. We should have put in a structure that was needed now. They also put in extra weight because they wanted a freighter. But the optimal freighters are the ones that don’t have any extra weight. That was clearly a design-mistake that we have made.


So, yes engines were part of it, but he also is introspective and casts the blame internally as well.

All round, interesting interview from a very very successful person. Thanks for sharing.
Militant Centrist
Let's all just use some common sense
 
steveinbc
Posts: 352
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2015 4:30 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:06 pm

What new aircraft in the last decade or so hasn't had engine issues? The aerospace industry puts so much pressure on aeroengine manufacturers to meet edge-of-physics requirements. It's unsurprising from the airline customers since 25% ish of aircraft life cycle costs are for the engines. We've seen A380, B787, A350 and B737 groundings (by airlines or regulators). So long as airline customers demand these types of requirements for a sale then we will likely continue to see these types of incidents.
A319 320 321 330 340 380 B707 727 737 747 757 767 777 787 BAe1-11 Trident 1, 2, 3B Viscount Lancaster VC10 HS748, ATP DHC-1, 3 Dash-8 Dash-400 Shorts 330 360 Embraer Banderiante Brasileria 175 190 BAe146 Saab 200 DC-3 -8 -9 -10 MD-11 ATR42-72
 
ELBOB
Posts: 347
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:56 am

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:10 pm

"That was clearly a design-mistake that we have made."

The main design mistake they made was scaling-up a conventional tube-and-wings and expecting that to be enough to maintain an efficiency advantage.

That worked for the 747 because it introduced a second aisle, doubling capacity per unit of length, and higher-bypass engines. The A380 had neither of those advantages so of course it was quickly eclipsed.
 
Antarius
Posts: 2971
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:27 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:16 pm

ELBOB wrote:
"That was clearly a design-mistake that we have made."

The main design mistake they made was scaling-up a conventional tube-and-wings and expecting that to be enough to maintain an efficiency advantage.

That worked for the 747 because it introduced a second aisle, doubling capacity per unit of length, and higher-bypass engines. The A380 had neither of those advantages so of course it was quickly eclipsed.


The 747 was also built at a time where efficiency wasn't as important as it is now.

I don't think there's something inherently wrong with the design other than overbuilding it. They built an a320 but only offered the a318 shrink equivalent.
Militant Centrist
Let's all just use some common sense
 
User avatar
william
Posts: 3359
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 1999 1:31 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:49 pm

Antarius wrote:
I mean, that was one of the things Leahy pointed out. He also said this

Singapore Airlines said they wouldn’t sign on if the A380 wouldn’t be meeting London’s QC2 noise standard. That meant extra weight with the re-designs that were necessary. Too much weight was built into the airplane, that was just a design-philosophic mistake, thinking we would do a stretched A380-900. We should have put in a structure that was needed now. They also put in extra weight because they wanted a freighter. But the optimal freighters are the ones that don’t have any extra weight. That was clearly a design-mistake that we have made.


and

Singapore Airlines said they wouldn’t sign on if the A380 wouldn’t be meeting London’s QC2 noise standard. That meant extra weight with the re-designs that were necessary. Too much weight was built into the airplane, that was just a design-philosophic mistake, thinking we would do a stretched A380-900. We should have put in a structure that was needed now. They also put in extra weight because they wanted a freighter. But the optimal freighters are the ones that don’t have any extra weight. That was clearly a design-mistake that we have made.


So, yes engines were part of it, but he also is introspective and casts the blame internally as well.

All round, interesting interview from a very very successful person. Thanks for sharing.


How much lighter would an optimize A380-800 be? Would it change anything?
 
ScottB
Posts: 7191
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 1:25 am

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:53 pm

xwb777 wrote:
John has expressed his thoughts about the A380 problems that started to appear when engine manufacturers were very assuring and over promised stating that the efficiency of the engines where as that of new generation engines.


He keeps trotting out this tired old excuse and IMO it still beggars belief.

Where I believe we got into serious trouble was when we were blindsided by the engine manufacturers. They were assuring us that the specific fuel consumption was that of new generation engines, and it would be ten years before there was the next leap to a substantial improvement. We launched in 2000, but three years later we got the 787 being launched with GENx engines and Rolls Royce matching that, having a ten to 12 percent better specific fuel consumption than the A380’s engines.


In enterprises as closely intertwined as the manufacture of airliners and engines, there's fairly extensive sharing of product roadmaps (under appropriate NDA, of course). The manufacturers also employ teams to keep tabs on what competitors, suppliers, and customers are planning. To claim that Airbus was unaware of what was under development at GE, RR, and PW just isn't believable.

Further, the timelines he cites from the engine manufacturers really weren't that far off from reality. The 787's engines weren't ready -- at least at the promised efficiency -- for the initial plan of starting deliveries in 2008. They were ultimately ready about ten years after the A380's launch in 2000. IMO the planning teams might also have been somewhat skittish about hitching the project's wagons to bleeding edge engine tech; the A340 program had been damaged by the failure of the Superfan project a bit over a decade earlier and the L1011's failure was partly due to the delays in the RB-211 at RR.
 
WayexTDI
Posts: 1956
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:59 pm

ELBOB wrote:
"That was clearly a design-mistake that we have made."

The main design mistake they made was scaling-up a conventional tube-and-wings and expecting that to be enough to maintain an efficiency advantage.

That worked for the 747 because it introduced a second aisle, doubling capacity per unit of length, and higher-bypass engines. The A380 had neither of those advantages so of course it was quickly eclipsed.

Well, the A380 introduced a 3rd and 4th aisles, doubling capacity per unit of length from the 747... Works that way too.
 
User avatar
ElroyJetson
Posts: 868
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 5:04 am

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:05 pm

Honestly, this sounds like excuse making after the fact. The initial market projections for the A380 were way off. That was the problem. Engine and design issues were secondary to building a plane that did not have a sufficient market to begin with.

The A380 was going to be the new queen of the skies and a flag ship for the Airbus brand. In retrospect they were way over optimistic. I think they learned from the experience and designed the A350 to precisely meet what the market required. One was a swing and a hit, one was a miss.
707 717 727 72S 737 733 737-700 747 757 753 767-300 764 A319 A320 DC-9-10 DC-9-30 DC-9-50, MD-82 MD-88 MD-90 DC-10-10 DC-10-40 F-100
 
Antarius
Posts: 2971
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:27 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:11 pm

WayexTDI wrote:
ELBOB wrote:
"That was clearly a design-mistake that we have made."

The main design mistake they made was scaling-up a conventional tube-and-wings and expecting that to be enough to maintain an efficiency advantage.

That worked for the 747 because it introduced a second aisle, doubling capacity per unit of length, and higher-bypass engines. The A380 had neither of those advantages so of course it was quickly eclipsed.

Well, the A380 introduced a 3rd and 4th aisles, doubling capacity per unit of length from the 747... Works that way too.


It didn't though.
Militant Centrist
Let's all just use some common sense
 
WayexTDI
Posts: 1956
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:18 pm

Antarius wrote:
WayexTDI wrote:
ELBOB wrote:
"That was clearly a design-mistake that we have made."

The main design mistake they made was scaling-up a conventional tube-and-wings and expecting that to be enough to maintain an efficiency advantage.

That worked for the 747 because it introduced a second aisle, doubling capacity per unit of length, and higher-bypass engines. The A380 had neither of those advantages so of course it was quickly eclipsed.

Well, the A380 introduced a 3rd and 4th aisles, doubling capacity per unit of length from the 747... Works that way too.


It didn't though.

Not quite doubled (since the A380 upper deck is narrower than the main deck and the 747 has a partial upper deck), but still a valid statement: you can stuff more people per unit of length in an all-economy A380 (10 on the main deck and 8 on the upper deck - 18 pax) than in an all-economy 747 (10 on the main deck and 6 on a partial upper deck). It's simple maths.
Now, reality has it that the A380 was not full packed with economy seats for most airlines; but your quick 747 analysis worked in the same way for the A380.
 
Noshow
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:20 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:20 pm

Leahy is right about the engines. With A330neo generation engines some A380neo (at high load factor) would again have cost advantages because of its size. Without them latest generation twins can match or even top the A380's seat costs. And twins are both cheaper to buy/lease and easier to fill.

I agree that many market predictions have been way off the marks. On both sides. Boeing invested quite a bit in the 747-8 believing the same. Why did everybody come to those wrong conclusions?
 
MIflyer12
Posts: 8781
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:58 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:23 pm

Antarius wrote:
The 747 was also built at a time where efficiency wasn't as important as it is now.


You don't think efficiency was important from 1979, after the second Oil Shock and U.S. carrier deregulation? Prices more than doubled in a 12-month period and remained elevated for more than five years.
 
Antarius
Posts: 2971
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:27 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:46 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
Antarius wrote:
The 747 was also built at a time where efficiency wasn't as important as it is now.


You don't think efficiency was important from 1979, after the second Oil Shock and U.S. carrier deregulation? Prices more than doubled in a 12-month period and remained elevated for more than five years.


The 747 entered service before 1979...

There were a lot of tradeoffs that had to be made when the 747 was first introduced. You needed bigger for range. There wasn't the option of an a330 or a 787 back then that could do the trip but didn't need 4 engines and a large fuselage. The business case was completely different in the late 60s.

As for after 1979, what other options were there? Right now, with Covid, airlines can dump their a380s and 747s and use their a330s, 777s, 787s, a321LR etc. to fill the void. You didn't have a buffet worth of options that could do what the 747 did, or even close back then.
Last edited by Antarius on Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Militant Centrist
Let's all just use some common sense
 
Antarius
Posts: 2971
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:27 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:48 pm

WayexTDI wrote:
Antarius wrote:
WayexTDI wrote:
Well, the A380 introduced a 3rd and 4th aisles, doubling capacity per unit of length from the 747... Works that way too.


It didn't though.

Not quite doubled (since the A380 upper deck is narrower than the main deck and the 747 has a partial upper deck), but still a valid statement: you can stuff more people per unit of length in an all-economy A380 (10 on the main deck and 8 on the upper deck - 18 pax) than in an all-economy 747 (10 on the main deck and 6 on a partial upper deck). It's simple maths.
Now, reality has it that the A380 was not full packed with economy seats for most airlines; but your quick 747 analysis worked in the same way for the A380.


No it doesn't. And the yawning gap of 1200 sales between the models shows it.

The business case was fundamentally different in the late 60s from the late 90s. Deregulation, availability of twins that could go the distance without having all the extra space and weight, ETOPS etc. all different. So what worked in the 60s cannot be blindly applied to now. If you are arguing that the a380 concept could have worked in the 70s, then that's a discussion. But the scale isn't linear over time.
Last edited by Antarius on Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Militant Centrist
Let's all just use some common sense
 
User avatar
Nomadd
Posts: 440
Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:26 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:50 pm

ELBOB wrote:
"That was clearly a design-mistake that we have made."

The main design mistake they made was scaling-up a conventional tube-and-wings and expecting that to be enough to maintain an efficiency advantage.

That worked for the 747 because it introduced a second aisle, doubling capacity per unit of length, and higher-bypass engines. The A380 had neither of those advantages so of course it was quickly eclipsed.

So, ten seats is double six seats?
 
NZ321
Posts: 1272
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:00 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:55 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
Antarius wrote:
The 747 was also built at a time where efficiency wasn't as important as it is now.


You don't think efficiency was important from 1979, after the second Oil Shock and U.S. carrier deregulation? Prices more than doubled in a 12-month period and remained elevated for more than five years.


The issues with fuel efficiency were the much discussed and said reason why NZ went with the RR RB211 on the 747 order in 1980. We can all look back at that moment now, but there was a lot riding on performance at the time they ordered their 747s for their at-the-time long range missions (AKL-LAX-LHR). Indeed they went on and ordered their first 747-400s with the RB211 before they changed to GE. All gone now but some still in service with other operators.
Plane mad!
 
Cointrin330
Posts: 2268
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:23 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:59 pm

As in there are four of them? The A380 is a white elephant. It was a vanity project to close the gap with Boeing, ill timed, expensive, and ill suited for all but a handful of routes. It is a technological marvel and a really nice ride, with higher cabin humidity, quiet engines and a quiet cabin, but nothing particularly special in the configuration adopted by most airlines, save perhaps SQ, the ME3, and a handful of others.
 
User avatar
glideslope
Posts: 1622
Joined: Sun May 30, 2004 8:06 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:04 pm

Noshow wrote:
Leahy is right about the engines. With A330neo generation engines some A380neo (at high load factor) would again have cost advantages because of its size. Without them latest generation twins can match or even top the A380's seat costs. And twins are both cheaper to buy/lease and easier to fill.

I agree that many market predictions have been way off the marks. On both sides. Boeing invested quite a bit in the 747-8 believing the same. Why did everybody come to those wrong conclusions?


"Haste Makes Waste."
To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.” Sun Tzu
 
cledaybuck
Posts: 1788
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:07 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:10 pm

The main problem with the A380 is it is too big. CASM looks good when you load it up with seats, but no one seems to want a plane with that many seats.
As we celebrate mediocrity, all the boys upstairs want to see, how much you'll pay for what you used to get for free.
 
VV
Posts: 2000
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 1:03 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:11 pm

Wasn't it because the market did not need many VLA?
 
Antarius
Posts: 2971
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:27 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:40 pm

VV wrote:
Wasn't it because the market did not need many VLA?


That's assuredly a large part of it, but the other points do also explain the poor sales. An aircraft that is that large AND requires a 85%+ LF to be profitable was also going to eat into sales. If the a380 was more efficient and could float lower load factors, it might have sold better. Not to the level of the a350, a330, 777 and 787, but better than the 250 that it did.
Militant Centrist
Let's all just use some common sense
 
Strato2
Posts: 576
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 3:52 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:56 pm

VV wrote:
Wasn't it because the market did not need many VLA?


Yes and to this day and near future (20 years) it's the same thing. There's just not much market at all for a plane that has more than 350 seats.
 
User avatar
reidar76
Posts: 539
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2015 5:16 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:05 pm

The A380-800 entered service in 2007, that's only two years before 787-8 first fight. The 787 got significantly better engines, but that's only part of the story why the A380 was a commercial failure.
 
User avatar
LAX772LR
Posts: 13436
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:06 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:26 pm

steveinbc wrote:
We've seen A380, B787, A350 and B737 groundings (by airlines or regulators).

Huh? When were the A380 and A350 grounded by anyone?


ELBOB wrote:
That worked for the 747 because it introduced a second aisle, doubling capacity per unit of length, and higher-bypass engines.

And perhaps more importantly than either of the above: RANGE.

So many customers bought and "abused" the 747 for that reason alone; because for decades, if you wanted to efficiently fly more than 10ish hours, you really didn't have much other choice.


william wrote:
How much lighter would an optimize A380-800 be? Would it change anything?

A lot. Mostly in wing/wingbox/empennage/gear/etc weight.

Many parts (large and small) can be optimized for only the load that an -800pax would be expected to bear/encounter, not an -800F or -900.



WayexTDI wrote:
Well, the A380 introduced a 3rd and 4th aisles

4th yes, 3rd no.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
Antarius
Posts: 2971
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:27 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:41 pm

LAX772LR wrote:
And perhaps more importantly than either of the above: RANGE.

So many customers bought and "abused" the 747 for that reason alone; because for decades, if you wanted to efficiently fly more than 10ish hours, you really didn't have much other choice.


Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

This is the same point I was making above. The 747 was a step change in terms of capability and range. So, even if you didn't need the capacity, you couldn't get a 787 or a332 equivalent.
Militant Centrist
Let's all just use some common sense
 
PhilMcCrackin
Posts: 344
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:54 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:56 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
Antarius wrote:
The 747 was also built at a time where efficiency wasn't as important as it is now.


You don't think efficiency was important from 1979, after the second Oil Shock and U.S. carrier deregulation? Prices more than doubled in a 12-month period and remained elevated for more than five years.


The 747 was designed in the late 60s, not the late 70s. After that, the 744 was popular because it was the only airplane that had near ULH range until the A345 and the 77E hit the scene. Not because it had mind blowing efficiency.
 
mkorpal333
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:30 am

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:04 pm

Antarius wrote:
VV wrote:
Wasn't it because the market did not need many VLA?


That's assuredly a large part of it, but the other points do also explain the poor sales. An aircraft that is that large AND requires a 85%+ LF to be profitable was also going to eat into sales. If the a380 was more efficient and could float lower load factors, it might have sold better. Not to the level of the a350, a330, 777 and 787, but better than the 250 that it did.


Even then, I don't think there are enough routes that could support an A380 to really stimulate too many more sales.
 
Bricktop
Posts: 1512
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2016 11:04 am

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:20 pm

Sorry, this is a classic post hoc rationalization. The engine makers ate my homework.
 
Airlinerdude
Posts: 222
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2010 3:07 am

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:43 pm

LAX772LR wrote:
Huh? When were the A380 ... grounded by anyone?


I suspect the poster is referring to the RR issues which grounded the QF fleet. I don't recall other RR operators grounding the aircraft, but I could be wrong.

There were of course the notorious wing rib cracks, but those were just individual frames which were taken out of service.

A lot. Mostly in wing/wingbox/empennage/gear/etc weight.

Many parts (large and small) can be optimized for only the load that an -800pax would be expected to bear/encounter, not an -800F or -900.


Out of curiosity, has there ever been an estimate made? I'd be curious if we're in the range of 1 or 2T or 10T+.
 
MrPeanut
Posts: 243
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:36 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:43 pm

I find it disturbing that he fails to mention too much capacity as the issue. Apparently they still don’t get it.
 
tomcat
Posts: 614
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2000 4:14 am

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:54 pm

ScottB wrote:
xwb777 wrote:
John has expressed his thoughts about the A380 problems that started to appear when engine manufacturers were very assuring and over promised stating that the efficiency of the engines where as that of new generation engines.


He keeps trotting out this tired old excuse and IMO it still beggars belief.

Where I believe we got into serious trouble was when we were blindsided by the engine manufacturers. They were assuring us that the specific fuel consumption was that of new generation engines, and it would be ten years before there was the next leap to a substantial improvement. We launched in 2000, but three years later we got the 787 being launched with GENx engines and Rolls Royce matching that, having a ten to 12 percent better specific fuel consumption than the A380’s engines.


In enterprises as closely intertwined as the manufacture of airliners and engines, there's fairly extensive sharing of product roadmaps (under appropriate NDA, of course). The manufacturers also employ teams to keep tabs on what competitors, suppliers, and customers are planning. To claim that Airbus was unaware of what was under development at GE, RR, and PW just isn't believable.


I don't know about the GEnx but the R&D that has supported the genesis of the GE90 was in part the work of the NASA (jointly with GE) as far back as the early 80s. I cannot conceive that the US taxpayers money would be used to help a non-US planemaker to take the lead over the US planemaker. At least for the very large engines and in particular the GE90, I'm convinced that Boeing has had more visibility than Airbus on what was coming. Mind you, it's only several years after the launch of the 787 that Airbus finally considered designing a heavy-weight twin, that is after they had done A342/3, the A345/6 and after the A380.
 
Flaps
Posts: 1672
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2000 1:11 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:16 pm

The problem(s) with the A380 is/are very simple. Airbus severely misjudged the market and got itself caught up in an ego driven vanity project. No amount of engineering brilliance will ever be able to fix that it. From a technical perspective its a fine aircraft, its just too damn big. Leahy's ego simply cant accept that he was wrong.
 
ILNFlyer
Posts: 578
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:34 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:17 pm

Too big to fill, and twins are cheaper to buy/lease, fill, operate, and maintain.
 
User avatar
garpd
Posts: 2540
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 9:29 am

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:27 pm

Back when the A380 was brand new, I was shot down repeatedly for saying the plane is doomed to not be the big success Airbus and it's fans were predicting it to be. I said from the start that it's too big and not offering a big enough range to beat out competitors and most essentially, it has 4 engines.
I think it was Leahy himself that quite arrogantly said the A380 would completely replace the 747 and he saw a future of about 1500 units sold. Basically saying he saw the A380 replacing the 747 1-to-1.

Of course, Leahy, or whoever said that, failed to understand how things really worked. The 747 primarily sold in the numbers it did for it's range. For many years it was THE long haul plane. If you needed a route that could carry a full load 10+ hours. The 747 was the only plane you could hope to do it with. Before the extended ETOPS and the big twins came online, it was able to fly further than anything on the market at the time. It is often lauded as the plane that changed the airline industry and brought it within reach of the masses. And I think it did.

The A380 had/has no such advantage. It was matched for range by aircraft already available, most of which only had 2 engines as opposed to it's 4.
And those that didn't match it's range were still competitive enough that they were ordered over the A380 as they had no where near the amount of dead weight.
The A380 is heavy. It carries a lot of weight just to hold itself together. Those massive wings require a super heavy wing box and the entire upper deck structure is critical too. There is a lot of weight there so that the fuselage doesn't sag, pinch or bow and that the upper deck can take the weight of all the passengers and seats. And lets not get into the maintenance. As it has two decks, it essentially has double the infrastructure, systems, fittings and facilities as opposed to say, the 747-400. All that extra maintenance costs.
You have to damn near fill an A380 to make money.

Another factor was Airbus' misreading of the airline trends. They thought Hub to Hub would dominate and thus require lots of A380s. It didn't work out that way.
They thought airlines would also consolidate two or three twinjet flights a day into one A380 flight. Nope didn't happen either. Airlines like to offer multiple departures on any given route if possible. Like BA with their busy LHR- US East Coast services, especially into NY airports. Frequency of departures offers travellers options.

In the words of Sheldon Cooper: I informed you thusly, Oh I so informed you thusly!
arpdesign.wordpress.com
 
Noshow
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:20 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:36 pm

One point not mentioned yet is that manufacturers started a violent showdown with mid sized twins: 787, A350 v. 1. and v 2. A330neo. Selling several versions each. No wonder the market for the big airplanes was "looted" by those smaller guys that got all the bells and whistles of bigger airplanes installed like suite and sleeper seats, latest IFE, huge bins and mood light - except showers.
 
Antarius
Posts: 2971
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:27 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 10:27 pm

Noshow wrote:
One point not mentioned yet is that manufacturers started a violent showdown with mid sized twins: 787, A350 v. 1. and v 2. A330neo. Selling several versions each. No wonder the market for the big airplanes was "looted" by those smaller guys that got all the bells and whistles of bigger airplanes installed like suite and sleeper seats, latest IFE, huge bins and mood light - except showers.


All of those midsize twins came after the a380. Some long after.

The a380s market was destroyed at launch by the 77W and a level smaller, the a332. The 77W already had 120 orders by the time of the a380 EIS and it only went up from there.
Militant Centrist
Let's all just use some common sense
 
tootallsd
Posts: 538
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:02 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:31 pm

Flaps wrote:
The problem(s) with the A380 is/are very simple. Airbus severely misjudged the market and got itself caught up in an ego driven vanity project. No amount of engineering brilliance will ever be able to fix that it. From a technical perspective its a fine aircraft, its just too damn big. Leahy's ego simply cant accept that he was wrong.


I like your characterization. I think there was an interesting critical mass attained with the confluence of an ego-driven vanity hardware project and an vanity project airline. Without Emirates enormous order book, Airbus may have never launched this incredible bird.
 
ScottB
Posts: 7191
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 1:25 am

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:04 am

tootallsd wrote:
I think there was an interesting critical mass attained with the confluence of an ego-driven vanity hardware project and an vanity project airline. Without Emirates enormous order book, Airbus may have never launched this incredible bird.


While I completely agree that A380 was an ego-driven ours-is-bigger-than-yours project, the Emirates order wasn't what got the project launched. EK's initial order only amounted to 7 frames with 5 options. They ordered an additional 15 about a year after launch. EK's larger orders came later and are probably what kept production from ending around 2015.

Noshow wrote:
No wonder the market for the big airplanes was "looted" by those smaller guys that got all the bells and whistles of bigger airplanes installed like suite and sleeper seats, latest IFE, huge bins and mood light - except showers.


Nothing really was keeping products like sleeper seats, advanced IFE, larger bins, mood lighting, etc. from smaller aircraft apart from the cost of refitting planes which were already in airline fleets. Airlines were already rolling out sleeper seats to 777/A330/A340/767 fleets and we saw advanced IFE products on narrowbody aircraft from JetBlue and Delta well before A380 EIS. Virgin America had fancy IFE and mood lighting (although not sleeper seats) on its A32X fleet. Continental had a limited widebody fleet so they grew their hub at EWR by flying 757s -- with sleeper seats in business class -- to smaller European markets.
 
frmrCapCadet
Posts: 4527
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 8:24 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:27 am

Leahy mentions all of the following in the article:
Leahy wanted the plane in service in 2005, and knows the new gen engines could not be ready by then
Several buyers wanted different increased capability all of which added weight
Adding freighter capability also added weight
Designing basic structure for the -9 as opposed to the -8, a smaller plane would have done better

And then there were are the snafus in design and production. All in all this was a pretty frank interview.
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
 
steveinbc
Posts: 352
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2015 4:30 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:31 am

LAX772LR wrote:
steveinbc wrote:
We've seen A380, B787, A350 and B737 groundings (by airlines or regulators).

Huh? When were the A380 and A350 grounded by anyone?

Extracts for A380 and A350 grounding reports

The failure was the first of its kind for the A380, the world's largest passenger aircraft. At the time of the accident, 39 A380s were operating with five airlines: Qantas, Air France, Emirates, Lufthansa, and Singapore Airlines. The accident led to the temporary grounding of the rest of the six-plane Qantas A380 fleet.[3] It also led to groundings, inspections, and engine replacements on some other Rolls-Royce-powered A380s in service with Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines
Source Wikipedia

Rolls-Royce investors worry that engine problems may spread after Iberia plane grounded
Source Daily Telegraph September 2018 when Iberia grounded its A350s
   
A319 320 321 330 340 380 B707 727 737 747 757 767 777 787 BAe1-11 Trident 1, 2, 3B Viscount Lancaster VC10 HS748, ATP DHC-1, 3 Dash-8 Dash-400 Shorts 330 360 Embraer Banderiante Brasileria 175 190 BAe146 Saab 200 DC-3 -8 -9 -10 MD-11 ATR42-72
 
Antarius
Posts: 2971
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:27 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:00 am

ScottB wrote:
Nothing really was keeping products like sleeper seats, advanced IFE, larger bins, mood lighting, etc. from smaller aircraft apart from the cost of refitting planes which were already in airline fleets. Airlines were already rolling out sleeper seats to 777/A330/A340/767 fleets and we saw advanced IFE products on narrowbody aircraft from JetBlue and Delta well before A380 EIS. Virgin America had fancy IFE and mood lighting (although not sleeper seats) on its A32X fleet. Continental had a limited widebody fleet so they grew their hub at EWR by flying 757s -- with sleeper seats in business class -- to smaller European markets.


To add to this, BA introduced their lie flat club world in 1999.
Militant Centrist
Let's all just use some common sense
 
WayexTDI
Posts: 1956
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:16 am

LAX772LR wrote:
WayexTDI wrote:
Well, the A380 introduced a 3rd and 4th aisles

4th yes, 3rd no.

Yes, a 3rd aisle on the full length of the aircraft; the 747 has a 3rd aisle in a partial length (upper deck doesn't run full length).
 
WayexTDI
Posts: 1956
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:18 am

Antarius wrote:
WayexTDI wrote:
Antarius wrote:

It didn't though.

Not quite doubled (since the A380 upper deck is narrower than the main deck and the 747 has a partial upper deck), but still a valid statement: you can stuff more people per unit of length in an all-economy A380 (10 on the main deck and 8 on the upper deck - 18 pax) than in an all-economy 747 (10 on the main deck and 6 on a partial upper deck). It's simple maths.
Now, reality has it that the A380 was not full packed with economy seats for most airlines; but your quick 747 analysis worked in the same way for the A380.


No it doesn't. And the yawning gap of 1200 sales between the models shows it.

The business case was fundamentally different in the late 60s from the late 90s. Deregulation, availability of twins that could go the distance without having all the extra space and weight, ETOPS etc. all different. So what worked in the 60s cannot be blindly applied to now. If you are arguing that the a380 concept could have worked in the 70s, then that's a discussion. But the scale isn't linear over time.

Hence why there was way more to the success of the 747 that the 2nd aisle (and the high bypass engines, although those trickled down very quickly to other aircraft).
Size is not everything; it's not the only reason for success (747) or failure (A380). It's much more complex than that.
 
User avatar
Revelation
Posts: 25007
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:34 am

garpd wrote:
And those that didn't match it's range were still competitive enough that they were ordered over the A380 as they had no where near the amount of dead weight.
The A380 is heavy. It carries a lot of weight just to hold itself together. Those massive wings require a super heavy wing box and the entire upper deck structure is critical too. There is a lot of weight there so that the fuselage doesn't sag, pinch or bow and that the upper deck can take the weight of all the passengers and seats.
...
In the words of Sheldon Cooper: I informed you thusly, Oh I so informed you thusly!

As someone who has been around here a long time, I confirm it.

As for weight, that was one of the things that came out in our recent discussion of the interview with the "Father of the A380" ( ref: viewtopic.php?t=1445295&start=200#p22472363 and surrounding posts ):

Airbus overestimated scaling effects. Upscaling "old" technologies to A380 size gave only 7% in efficiency compared to smaller models, the remainder to meet the 15% target had to come from (very expensive) titanium and composite parts.

And (in more detail):

One talks much about "Economy of Scale". Today, when you have a 100-seater and stretch that to 150 seats, then that is automatically better. A lot of things don't change; you have the same wing, same gear, still only 2 pilots, unchanged maintenance. Everything is better. But that doesn't work 'till infinity. Imagine a plane with a wingspan of 1 km. Those wings will touch the ground, no matter what you do, even if you use massive steel beams. And when they're in the air, they'll bend to say "hi" to each other above the plane. Somewhere, there's a limit. And we overestimated this "Economy of Scale". That, with constant technology, we could reduce operating cost significantly - well we did reduce operating cost, in the range of 7%, but our target had been 15-20% . That should have come from "Economy of Scale". And the rest should have come from new technology, from lighter materials. GLARE, carbon fibre, whatever. In the end, we did reach the target but not with the intended measures alone. We had to, for example, switch to titanium in the gear, to reach that target, and all this really cost us. We simply overestimated the "Economy of Scale".

Seems they ran right into the thing you speak of: at some point scaling breaks down and you end up resorting to heroic measures such as exotic materials just to get onto the scale you thought you'd be on without needing such heroism. Herr Thomas goes on to suggest that the "tube with wings" has a limit and he thinks Airbus found it with the A380-900. Grow bigger and the center of mass (i.e. payload in the fuse) and the center of lift (i.e. out on the wings) grow so far apart that the structure needed to keep the plane together becomes impractical.

Overall, this is the second time we've heard Leahy repeat his list of excuses so it's not that newsworthy to me. On the other hand Thomas is an engineer instead of a marketing guy so I found his stuff very interesting. I find Leahy is blaming pretty much everyone but marketing which of course was where he was supposed to be making a difference for the company. He's as guilty as anyone else for missing the market transition to big twins and getting his company and its customers to spend too much time and other resources on A380.
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
The heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own
 
smartplane
Posts: 1607
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:23 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:48 am

ScottB wrote:
tootallsd wrote:
I think there was an interesting critical mass attained with the confluence of an ego-driven vanity hardware project and an vanity project airline. Without Emirates enormous order book, Airbus may have never launched this incredible bird.


While I completely agree that A380 was an ego-driven ours-is-bigger-than-yours project, the Emirates order wasn't what got the project launched. EK's initial order only amounted to 7 frames with 5 options. They ordered an additional 15 about a year after launch. EK's larger orders came later and are probably what kept production from ending around 2015.

Without EK's large orders, either production would have ended far earlier, or it would have received the new engines and weight loss it needed.
 
User avatar
FrenchPotatoEye
Posts: 435
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:20 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 8:15 am

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/200 ... 268813.htm
 
So heres we can the see Leahy not botherings about 7e7, yet complain not having same engine tech for failed 380?
 
Proof he is saying untrue things to suit his narrations.
 
He rushed 380 to battle dying 747 – fact is, 380 could have new engines, Leahy didn’t waitings.

Don't matter, covids finish 380 off.
 
TheSonntag
Posts: 4500
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:23 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 8:39 am

The engines were surprisingly inferior to what came just a few years later. Insofar, he is not completely wrong.
 
User avatar
LAX772LR
Posts: 13436
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:06 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:33 am

steveinbc wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
steveinbc wrote:
We've seen A380, B787, A350 and B737 groundings (by airlines or regulators).

Huh? When were the A380 and A350 grounded by anyone?

Extracts for A380 and A350 grounding reports

The failure was the first of its kind for the A380, the world's largest passenger aircraft. At the time of the accident, 39 A380s were operating with five airlines: Qantas, Air France, Emirates, Lufthansa, and Singapore Airlines. The accident led to the temporary grounding of the rest of the six-plane Qantas A380 fleet.[3] It also led to groundings, inspections, and engine replacements on some other Rolls-Royce-powered A380s in service with Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines
Source Wikipedia

Rolls-Royce investors worry that engine problems may spread after Iberia plane grounded
Source Daily Telegraph September 2018 when Iberia grounded its A350s   

Not sure you understand what "grounding" actually indicates... neither of these, are that.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
Noshow
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:20 pm

Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:55 am

BTW: What sort of strange anti JL-Campaign is going on here? Maybe this could move away from personal insults to more of a facts debate? Pretty unfair to read. Like late retaliation for all his billions of sales. He certainly has earned and deserved any professional respect.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 10

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos