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par13del
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:25 pm

OldAeroGuy wrote:
strfyr51 wrote:
the A380 might have been a winner had the 747 not been there but the 747-400 already was worldwide. Did they expect airlines to replace them 1:1?


There were fewer 747-400's produced than most people realize.

If you look at all 747-400 models ( passenger, freighter and combi's), the total production run was only 694.

Looking at passenger models only, the 744 production run was only 467.

With 251 orders, the A380 production run was about 54% of passenger 744's.

So the only model of the 747 still flying when the A380 went into service was the 747-400, whether it was the most popular model is only viable if no others were flying at the time to increase the 747 numbers, since in essence you are talking about the market available to the A380.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Nov 26, 2020 1:48 pm

flee wrote:
I think Boeing got it right - they got the bean counters meticulously scrutinizing projects!

It's interesting that the bean counters looked away when the thing was being built but once it was built they watched pennies.

In the article JL says he could have had placed five or six more at LH but the bean counters would not let him lower prices enough to win the deal.

And we had WW say that BA would take more A380s if the price was not so high.

And there was a near-miss on getting an A380neo which might have happened had Airbus had eaten the cost of getting it certified.

Seems strange they would spend so much money getting the program to enter service then get cautious financially after it was in service.

To be fair a similar thing was heard about 747-8i: Boeing had a certain margin to hit and would not go below that.

It seems to be giving the lie to the idea that airliners are sold at a loss and profits are made on supplies and services afterwords.

JL tells us what happens under such circumstances: customers just buy other, cheaper planes and the big boys are both ending production in a year or so.

It seems to be another lesson on how high volume planes win and low volume planes get squeezed out of the market place.

Another factor probably was regime change. A380 was launched by one regime (Galiois? Forgeard?) and later regimes (Enders primarily) were the ones who were stuck with its problems and costs, and also stuck with another decision of the earlier days, A400M, while they were trying to establish A350.

Seems they were OK with A380 being around if it could hold its own, but when it could not, it was left to its fate.
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Nov 26, 2020 3:02 pm

Revelation wrote:
It's interesting that the bean counters looked away when the thing was being built but once it was built they watched pennies.

Should all planes be marketed like the B787?
Also:
If the B787 had been higher prized, would Boring have simply sold more B777 or would it have profited the A380 as well?
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frmrCapCadet
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Nov 26, 2020 3:14 pm

Airbus learned their lesson, hence the 350 and 320neo. Us folks in Seattle wish Boeing had learned it lessons from the 787. Sigh.
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flee
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Nov 26, 2020 3:23 pm

Revelation wrote:
It's interesting that the bean counters looked away when the thing was being built but once it was built they watched pennies.

In the article JL says he could have had placed five or six more at LH but the bean counters would not let him lower prices enough to win the deal.

And we had WW say that BA would take more A380s if the price was not so high.

And there was a near-miss on getting an A380neo which might have happened had Airbus had eaten the cost of getting it certified.

Seems strange they would spend so much money getting the program to enter service then get cautious financially after it was in service.

To be fair a similar thing was heard about 747-8i: Boeing had a certain margin to hit and would not go below that.

It seems to be giving the lie to the idea that airliners are sold at a loss and profits are made on supplies and services afterwords.

JL tells us what happens under such circumstances: customers just buy other, cheaper planes and the big boys are both ending production in a year or so.

It seems to be another lesson on how high volume planes win and low volume planes get squeezed out of the market place.

Another factor probably was regime change. A380 was launched by one regime (Galiois? Forgeard?) and later regimes (Enders primarily) were the ones who were stuck with its problems and costs, and also stuck with another decision of the earlier days, A400M, while they were trying to establish A350.

Seems they were OK with A380 being around if it could hold its own, but when it could not, it was left to its fate.

The A380 market was much smaller than Airbus thought it would be - so launch offers have to be strictly launch offers. Late comers will have to pay more - Airbus was probably confident that airlines can command premium fares as A380 customer satisfaction is high. I do wonder how different their marketing would be had EK not ordered so many.

The Enders management team probably did not want to throw good money after bad - it would cost too much to optimise the A380 the way JL wanted it. Furthermore, Enders felt it necessary to hand over Airbus in a relatively healthy state.

I remember Bill Gates once said that selling custom software at high prices is not the way to make a software company big. But selling many copies of an affordably priced off the shelf software package will mean selling lots of it, thereby generating large profits. This is also the case for Airbus and Boeing - A320s and B737s are flying off the production lines making money. But A380s and B748s are niche products that don't do too much for the bottom line.

Whatever the reasons are for the A380 failure, Airbus has definitely learnt an expensive lesson. It looks like they now have a good line of products to sell and they have at least another 10 years before they need to deliver a new product. I suggest that they should pay some attention to an A320 replacement as this will be their bread and butter product to sustain the company.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Nov 26, 2020 3:41 pm

Oddly enough at the time, and still not often noted: The great success EK had was a 1 Stop strategy, not a hub system. It worked fabulously for several years, and might have continued without covid.
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Nov 26, 2020 3:51 pm

Sokes wrote:
Revelation wrote:
It's interesting that the bean counters looked away when the thing was being built but once it was built they watched pennies.

Should all planes be marketed like the B787?
Also:
If the B787 had been higher prized, would Boring have simply sold more B777 or would it have profited the A380 as well?

So many things we really don't have the data to evaluate, and even if we did, could we really conclude anything on a macroscopic scale like higher priced 787s shifting the market towards 777/A380?

I'm not sure what conclusion one can take from the initial marketing of 787. Lots of hype but it stirred up lots of interest. Lots of orders too, but surely priced too low since we saw nothing but price rises after.

I'm more sure of the strategy of going for high volume and (relatively) low manufacturing cost. Once you've spent the money on R&D, why not go for volume to gain entry to as many fleets as you can? We've seen several airlines order multiple tranches of 787, a good sign of success.

It's kind of interesting that Airbus did not invest to improve A358 and did invest in A330neo. I think that they invested to make A350 less labor intensive to produce ( as a DW film documentary I watched suggested ) so A350 should be cheaper to produce than A330 labor wise and they could really boost volume and gain lower cost on parts and materials by swinging customers towards A350 and letting A330 die on the vine. That would in turn make it easier to justify A350 improvements to give it even more competitiveness vs 787 and 777. As it stands A330neo really only stands to drag down pricing of both A350 and 787 and makes it difficult for both A330neo and A350 to get to high production volumes. Yet I'm glad A330neo lives on, it's a very nice plane.
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ScottB
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Nov 26, 2020 4:20 pm

Noshow wrote:
While it was Airbus's fault to miss the news early it was almost foul play by RR to suddenly come up with the Trent 1000 for the 787 behind their back. The A380 had engines at least half a generation "older".


LOL. What? Trent 1000 design problems aside, are you really arguing that RR would have been better-off with ~50% of the A380 market and 0% of the 787 market? Keep in mind that availability of the 787 engines enabled the A350 in its multiple incarnations up to today's successful program; if RR had sat out the 787 engine competition, either PW would have happily taken their place or GE would have laughed all the way to the bank. Further, the GEnx probably couldn't have powered the A350 in its current form/capabilities; it seems to be maxed out around 10% lower thrust than what the A359 requires.

So... RR sits out the 787 because it would be "foul play." No 787 engine sales, no engine program ready for the A350. So they could sell A380 engines and have 50-60% of the A330 which clearly would see declining sales once 787 deliveries picked up. Sounds like a clear recipe for success.

VV wrote:
I thought VLA were needed because there were fewer and fewer landing slots available (slot constrained airports).


The number of airports worldwide with serious slot constraints and adequate demand, not to mention the functional capability to handle A380, is maybe a half dozen, and it's actually lower than in 2000. (You're not going to see A380 at airports like SDU or LGA.) LHR was always the obvious example. Then there's JFK, FRA, SYD, NRT, and HND -- except HND doesn't allow A380 due to the impact of increased separation. Oh, and HND got a new runway, while NRT got two, so NRT isn't full like it used to be. JFK is only constrained during the afternoon/evening rush. LAX doesn't have slots.

Revelation wrote:
It's interesting that the bean counters looked away when the thing was being built but once it was built they watched pennies.

In the article JL says he could have had placed five or six more at LH but the bean counters would not let him lower prices enough to win the deal.

And we had WW say that BA would take more A380s if the price was not so high.

And there was a near-miss on getting an A380neo which might have happened had Airbus had eaten the cost of getting it certified.

Seems strange they would spend so much money getting the program to enter service then get cautious financially after it was in service.


I don't think it's that strange TBH. Back in the day, it was rumored that the launch discounts were massive. Remember the Power8 program and the extensive belt-tightening that came along? The weak dollar of the late aughts didn't help when much of their costs were in euro.

How long do you keep accepting orders which won't even bring cash flow to break-even? The 25 billion euro burned on the project was water under the bridge, but at some point you stop throwing good money after bad.

steveinbc wrote:
Sadly the Airliners.net forum is not immune to the social media tendency to be irrational and offensive. Even a non controversial thread like this will generate this behaviour. In my view the moderators should take a greater stand against this type of behaviour. But seemingly not.


Oh please. You should look at the reactions on this site back when Richard Aboulafia dared to criticize the early iterations of the A350. Compared to that, this thread is like a geriatric ladies' tea party vs. a MMA cage match.
 
uta999
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Nov 26, 2020 4:47 pm

It does not matter that the A380 had engines half a generation behind the 787/A350. The problem was there were four of them, not two.

If the A380 were designed better, it would have been a much smaller twin. A bit like an A350-1100

Then EK would not have decimated the legacy carriers in the same way, and the A380 would have been stopped before metal was even cut.
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par13del
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Nov 26, 2020 5:34 pm

ScottB wrote:
So... RR sits out the 787 because it would be "foul play." No 787 engine sales, no engine program ready for the A350. So they could sell A380 engines and have 50-60% of the A330 which clearly would see declining sales once 787 deliveries picked up. Sounds like a clear recipe for success.

In hindsight, it would have been a success for RR and all the customers whose 787's were grounded due to RR engine problems, they needed no additional money to make the engines work for the A350, so all being on the 787 has done for RR is to drag their financial performance down with the massive "penalty" payments.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Thu Nov 26, 2020 6:34 pm

fabian9 wrote:


Oh my goodness! I read "PRICING, DESIGN AND QUALITY ISSUES KILLED THE A380"

So pricing, design,quality issues and engines are the aspects that killed the A380. Basically it is everything;

There is one item that he refuses to admit, there has never been any market for big quad VLA. It is the ONLY aspect that explains A380's failure.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:12 am

Revelation wrote:
Sokes wrote:
Should all planes be marketed like the B787?
Also:
If the B787 had been higher prized, would Boring have simply sold more B777 or would it have profited the A380 as well?

So many things we really don't have the data to evaluate, and even if we did, could we really conclude anything on a macroscopic scale like higher priced 787s shifting the market towards 777/A380?

If we struggle to interpret the past, what to think of 20 years forecasts?
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:59 am

Did any US carriers consider the A380?
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 4:20 am

frmrCapCadet wrote:
Oddly enough at the time, and still not often noted: The great success EK had was a 1 Stop strategy, not a hub system. It worked fabulously for several years, and might have continued without covid.

Interestingly, though, they did so with an average load factor at best around 80%. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that doesn’t line up with some of the numbers mentioned in this thread about A380 needing 85% to break even.
 
UAUA
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 5:54 am

So can/will they build a new superjumbo with less weight, new engines and turn it into a huge success?
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 7:39 am

Revelation wrote:
Sokes wrote:
Revelation wrote:
It's interesting that the bean counters looked away when the thing was being built but once it was built they watched pennies.

Should all planes be marketed like the B787?
Also:
If the B787 had been higher prized, would Boring have simply sold more B777 or would it have profited the A380 as well?

So many things we really don't have the data to evaluate, and even if we did, could we really conclude anything on a macroscopic scale like higher priced 787s shifting the market towards 777/A380?

I'm not sure what conclusion one can take from the initial marketing of 787. Lots of hype but it stirred up lots of interest. Lots of orders too, but surely priced too low since we saw nothing but price rises after.

I'm more sure of the strategy of going for high volume and (relatively) low manufacturing cost. Once you've spent the money on R&D, why not go for volume to gain entry to as many fleets as you can? We've seen several airlines order multiple tranches of 787, a good sign of success.

It's kind of interesting that Airbus did not invest to improve A358 and did invest in A330neo. I think that they invested to make A350 less labor intensive to produce ( as a DW film documentary I watched suggested ) so A350 should be cheaper to produce than A330 labor wise and they could really boost volume and gain lower cost on parts and materials by swinging customers towards A350 and letting A330 die on the vine. That would in turn make it easier to justify A350 improvements to give it even more competitiveness vs 787 and 777. As it stands A330neo really only stands to drag down pricing of both A350 and 787 and makes it difficult for both A330neo and A350 to get to high production volumes. Yet I'm glad A330neo lives on, it's a very nice plane.

Is the A350 flexible enough to fill in the gap of the A330 while also attacking the 777?
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:03 am

UAUA wrote:
So can/will they build a new superjumbo with less weight, new engines and turn it into a huge success?

Good one. :bouncy:
I had the same joke in mind from the way he talked.
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FrenchPotatoEye
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:07 am

I guess in summary, Leahy is complaining about many things.

Find it odd the he never uttered these concerns while trying to sell 380s.

A case of pot, meet kettle...?
 
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enzo011
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:33 am

FrenchPotatoEye wrote:
I guess in summary, Leahy is complaining about many things.

Find it odd the he never uttered these concerns while trying to sell 380s.

A case of pot, meet kettle...?



Your answer is for the head of sales to slag off their product while trying to sell it? Are you serious? Or just so biased you will find every little small thing to point out against Leahy?

As for the rest, I find it interesting that the same people who have been telling us that the A380 isn't efficient enough and is too heavy is now finding time to criticize Leahy when he says the aircraft is too heavy and not efficient enough.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:59 am

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.



Inwould not say 3rd & 4th. The 747 & A380 both are 2 isle main deck, The 747 1 isle upper deck. the A380 2 isle upper deck. taht s going from 3 to 4 not 2 to 4.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 9:54 am

enzo011 wrote:
As for the rest, I find it interesting that the same people who have been telling us that the A380 isn't efficient enough and is too heavy is now finding time to criticize Leahy when he says the aircraft is too heavy and not efficient enough.


That there is signature material! :bigthumbsup:
 
VV
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:16 am

Do you think there is a coincidence in the fact both John Leahy and Tim Clark have been a little bit vocal on some subjects very recently.

I think it is NOT a coincidence.
 
Noshow
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 12:32 pm

Maybe Covid marked more of an end of an era as we are aware? And those retired alpha males want to mark and spin their places in the history books?
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 4:31 pm

UAUA wrote:
So can/will they build a new superjumbo with less weight, new engines and turn it into a huge success?

Check back in 2040 or so.

JonesNL wrote:
Is the A350 flexible enough to fill in the gap of the A330 while also attacking the 777?

IMO A359 ends up being the perfect 77E replacement, which I think is no accident. Airbus saw the opportunity with so many of them leaving the fleets just as A350 would be ramping up. A358 was meant to be able to capture the A330-300 market but as you seem to be indicating it did not have the kind of flexibility Airbus would have needed to do that job. I'm not sure why things ended up that way, or if it could have been rescued with further investment. If we recall A350 started out as an A330-neo but it seems to have bulked up a lot along the way.

enzo011 wrote:
As for the rest, I find it interesting that the same people who have been telling us that the A380 isn't efficient enough and is too heavy is now finding time to criticize Leahy when he says the aircraft is too heavy and not efficient enough.

He is being criticized for what he is not saying, that his commercial team misread the VLA market. What he is willing to say is that the engineering department determined the key characteristics of and strategy for A380, which seems to be a self serving statement. I'm not sure which is more damning, that he read the market wrong or that he could not influence the direction of the most expensive commercial development program his company ever developed.
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 4:37 pm

rbavfan 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.



Inwould not say 3rd & 4th. The 747 & A380 both are 2 isle main deck, The 747 1 isle upper deck. the A380 2 isle upper deck. taht s going from 3 to 4 not 2 to 4.

Actually, since the 747 has 1 aisle on the upper deck which is less than half the length of the plane, you're going from 2 1/2 to 4 on the same unit of length.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 5:08 pm

Revelation wrote:
IMO A359 ends up being the perfect 77E replacement, which I think is no accident.


And if the 777X winds up as the perfect 77W replacement, that's Boeing for the win. Look at how 777 volumes have split more than 2:1 in favor of 773/77W vs. 777.
 
VV
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 5:40 pm

Didn't some people predicted VLA could not be a successful program?

They were bashed like mad. Finally they were proven correct.
 
Noshow
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 5:42 pm

And if the 777X winds up as the perfect 77W replacement, that's Boeing for the win. Look at how 777 volumes have split more than 2:1 in favor of 773/77W vs. 777.

Don't agree fully. It looks like 747-8 and 777-9 suffer from the same misjudgment about the market developing. 777-300ER and A350/A330neo seem to be better suited and 787-9 and -10. This is surprising both manufacturers, having missed the market with their big stuff, hit the nail on the head with their twin wide bodies. And Airbus does it again with the narrow body A321neo.
Last edited by Noshow on Fri Nov 27, 2020 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
JonesNL
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 5:44 pm

Revelation wrote:

JonesNL wrote:
Is the A350 flexible enough to fill in the gap of the A330 while also attacking the 777?

IMO A359 ends up being the perfect 77E replacement, which I think is no accident. Airbus saw the opportunity with so many of them leaving the fleets just as A350 would be ramping up. A358 was meant to be able to capture the A330-300 market but as you seem to be indicating it did not have the kind of flexibility Airbus would have needed to do that job. I'm not sure why things ended up that way, or if it could have been rescued with further investment. If we recall A350 started out as an A330-neo but it seems to have bulked up a lot along the way.



Well, I am no expert in aviation. But from my engineering experience I have seen that a product that tries to compete on 2 or more different stages usually fails at both.

I do believe the A358 would be better if Airbus invested more in it and skipped the A330neo, but would it have been better than the A330neo?
 
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enzo011
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 5:47 pm

Revelation wrote:
He is being criticized for what he is not saying, that his commercial team misread the VLA market. What he is willing to say is that the engineering department determined the key characteristics of and strategy for A380, which seems to be a self serving statement. I'm not sure which is more damning, that he read the market wrong or that he could not influence the direction of the most expensive commercial development program his company ever developed.



Oh, you wanted him to lay bare all of his faults so you could pick over his carcass over those other failings. Or am I to believe everyone here would have just said good interview and lets leave it be if he had said he failed with the A380? And if you tell me people would not have found small details to attack him on, then I have a bridge to sell you.

Let's be honest with each other here, people are laying into him because they don't like him. They were going to find every little small details to pore over and attack him with and no matter what he said people would still have found something negative to say about the man. Look at your post, now it is apparently his fault for not only misreading the VLA market but also not having influence over the engineering department at Airbus or all other department to ensure the A380 was a success.
 
Noshow
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 6:11 pm

What Airbus wanted to do with the A380 was to create a modular family. Like with the A320 back then. The A380 was only "the A319" of that family with a lot of growth potential in mind. The market didn't need these sizes as we now know. But a family concept is smart (well most are).
 
Antarius
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 6:25 pm

enzo011 wrote:
Let's be honest with each other here, people are laying into him because they don't like him. They were going to find every little small details to pore over and attack him with and no matter what he said people would still have found something negative to say about the man. Look at your post, now it is apparently his fault for not only misreading the VLA market but also not having influence over the engineering department at Airbus or all other department to ensure the A380 was a success.


I think you're projecting here. He was a member of the C suite at Airbus and therefore he shares responsibility for both the success and failure of the company.

He certainly was instrumental in making Airbus what it is today, but that doesn't mean he is flawless. The a380 was a failure. And pointing to his culpability in it is not disliking or hating him. It's just a fact.
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 7:28 pm

I'm not an aviation expert, an aircraft engineer, a marketing executive or a genius... just a pax. And anyone who asked pax what they wanted would have known that the future was always going to be point-to-point, not hub-to-hub. No-one in their right minds wants to change flights even once, and certainly not twice if their journey doesn't start or end near a hub - the extra time, hassle and risk of delays and missing a connection make it worth avoiding if at all possible. So the fundamental failure of the A380 basically occurred before it was even conceived - the rest is just detail.

Even the 747 was on borrowed time once large long-range twins with ETOPS became available.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Fri Nov 27, 2020 7:58 pm

Every (even any) point is not going to, now or ever, be connected to every other point. A person can choose, of course, to travel only to places with a direct flight.
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strfyr51
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:41 am

pasen wrote:
PhilMcCrackin wrote:
Airlines can't fill a 450+ seat A380-800 so what makes you think a larger -900 would do any better?

Efficiency is a red herring, here. The damn thing is just too big.


That's an oversimplified statement that doesn't seem to be sound.

Before SQ introduced the A380, they operated up to 39 747-400 with 375 seats (total capacity 14,625) and no one here ever said they can't fill them. But according to A.net, it's totally impossible to fill 19 A380 with between 379 and 475 seats (total capacity around 8,500).

Size alone is clearly not the only factor. This statement from JL from the article seems a lot more plausible:
As it was, the A380, even with the disadvantage of the engine technology, if you could fill it up to 85 or 95 percent load factor, the big twins couldn’t compete with you. But that’s a pretty tight margin in a big airplane that’s getting harder to fill up. Had we had that better fuel burn, on a 65 or 70 percent load factor you could have done very well with the A380.

I have a question
Filling an airplane consistently at least 85% is extremely difficult because demand is not constant. That doesn't just apply to the A380. 787, 777, 747, and A350 have the same challenge. But the difference is that other models can still be profitable and competitive when load factors are lower. That's what killed the A380 and Leahy is certainly not entirely wrong when he says better engines had reduced or removed that handicap.

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe better engines would have made the A380 a huge success. I'm just pointing out that the statement that an A380 is impossible to fill is just another A.net oversimplification.

I have a question to pose.. Did Airbus even ask for Rolls, GE, or PWA input when they decided to Build the A380? At the time? GE was pretty much tied tp Boeing and their engine was a"Mishmosh" between PWA/GE. It wasn't any serious design. PWA could have designed a serious engine as could Rolls Royce.. Heck! they could have even sent to Russia for a ramped up and westernized version of their PS90A. but they seemed to have been impatient. I suspect they didn't think much past the rollout of the airplane..
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Sat Nov 28, 2020 6:09 am

frmrCapCadet wrote:
Every (even any) point is not going to, now or ever, be connected to every other point.

Of course not.
It's about one stop connections versus two stop connections.
Non stop is for budget airlines.
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
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FrenchPotatoEye
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Sat Nov 28, 2020 6:37 am

enzo011 wrote:


Your answer is for the head of sales to slag off their product while trying to sell it? Are you serious? Or just so biased you will find every little small thing to point out against Leahy?.


So you the agree Leahy deliberately sold 380s knowing it was a sub-par product then?

Becos that's what it appears he is saying with such complaints.

Nothing with bias. Leahy very good salesman over his career. But with comment he makes now makes him the looks - petty.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Sat Nov 28, 2020 8:17 am

Ziyulu wrote:
Did any US carriers consider the A380?

For about 0.05 seconds... before turning it down.

It wasn't the kind of aircraft for carriers with a half dozen major hubs; their flows are far too dilute to realistically sustain such an aircraft to yield, yearround.

Few airlines with more than one major hub acquired the A380, and I'm hard-pressed to think of any with more than two
(Lufty somewhat sorta counts, but in an anomalistic way).
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Sat Nov 28, 2020 8:28 am

UPS and FedEx both had firm orders for the freighter. Airbus cancelled that variant.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Sat Nov 28, 2020 8:43 am

FrenchPotatoEye wrote:
enzo011 wrote:


Your answer is for the head of sales to slag off their product while trying to sell it? Are you serious? Or just so biased you will find every little small thing to point out against Leahy?.


So you the agree Leahy deliberately sold 380s knowing it was a sub-par product then?

Becos that's what it appears he is saying with such complaints.

Nothing with bias. Leahy very good salesman over his career. But with comment he makes now makes him the looks - petty.

Every product has flaws every product has issues but it's not a salesman's job to point those out that's the job of the people on the other side of the table. No different then when the boeing people were promising delivery dates they had to know they were never going to hit.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Sat Nov 28, 2020 10:06 am

Noshow wrote:
UPS and FedEx both had firm orders for the freighter. Airbus cancelled that variant.

FedEx cancelled first and UPS followed. Airbus had no choice but to cancel the A380-800F as there were no more orders.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tran ... 2320061107

https://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/02/busi ... 76607.html

The A380 missed their targeted delivery date by a lot - that made the engine issue critical. If they had originally projected a later delivery date, the GeNX and Trent 1000 engines might have just made it - Airbus was pushing for early delivery and could not wait for the more efficient engines. They made that decision and it is unfair for JL to blame the engine OEMs.
 
alyusuph
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Sat Nov 28, 2020 10:09 am

Noshow wrote:
Boeing invested quite a bit in the 747-8 believing the same. Why did everybody come to those wrong conclusions?


Boeing did not invest as much as it sounds in this statement because they did not come up with a clean sheet design for the 748, at the time when they did not believe in the Hub to Spoke model which Airbus believed. Boeing focused on the 787 whilst developing a stop gap measure of up gauging the 747-800 to "try" to dip into Airbus's Hub and Spoke philosophy.

of course... you may be right in a way because any upgrades in an airliner is expensive....But thinking of Airbus and what they dipped in the A380....Ouch! it really hurts
I am not an Airbus or Boeing fan, just an aircraft fan
 
Noshow
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Sat Nov 28, 2020 12:48 pm

I didn't claim they invested the same amount.
They invested in a new wing which looks like they had planned for more than one model. They tried to limit the man-hour cost by having the Boeing design center moscow do the work. AFAIK The new wing had different unexpected load paths and they ended up with needing to beef up the fuselage structure. It turned out to be more costly than planned.

My point was Boeing believed in very big airplanes as well until recently.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Sat Nov 28, 2020 1:06 pm

Noshow wrote:
And if the 777X winds up as the perfect 77W replacement, that's Boeing for the win. Look at how 777 volumes have split more than 2:1 in favor of 773/77W vs. 777.

Don't agree fully. It looks like 747-8 and 777-9 suffer from the same misjudgment about the market developing. 777-300ER and A350/A330neo seem to be better suited and 787-9 and -10. This is surprising both manufacturers, having missed the market with their big stuff, hit the nail on the head with their twin wide bodies. And Airbus does it again with the narrow body A321neo.

The 747-8 didn’t suffer from size. Nobody that has that jet ever complained about the size lest we forget. It was a quad for starters so I mean it was already not it, it was competing with the 300ER, That had a higher CASM than the 380. So that affected it. But I don’t know any airline that owns the 747-8 that complains about it’s size. The 777-9 and the A35K are more comparable to the 77W than any other jet. The standard seating on the -8 is 467, the 777-9 is 414 and the 300ER is 396 and the a380 is 575. I think when it comes to replacing the 77W it will be a fierce competition between the 779 and the A35K. The 787s and A359s have been operating together with the 77W. If they were up to task of replacing the 77Ws they would have done so.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Sat Nov 28, 2020 1:26 pm

dstblj52 wrote:
Every product has flaws every product has issues but it's not a salesman's job to point those out that's the job of the people on the other side of the table. No different then when the boeing people were promising delivery dates they had to know they were never going to hit.

Sounds like selling planes is a lot like selling second hand cars.
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Sat Nov 28, 2020 1:29 pm

dstblj52 wrote:
FrenchPotatoEye wrote:
enzo011 wrote:


Your answer is for the head of sales to slag off their product while trying to sell it? Are you serious? Or just so biased you will find every little small thing to point out against Leahy?.


So you the agree Leahy deliberately sold 380s knowing it was a sub-par product then?

Becos that's what it appears he is saying with such complaints.

Nothing with bias. Leahy very good salesman over his career. But with comment he makes now makes him the looks - petty.

Every product has flaws every product has issues but it's not a salesman's job to point those out that's the job of the people on the other side of the table. No different then when the boeing people were promising delivery dates they had to know they were never going to hit.


It one thing do mispromise on delivery like 787-8, but to sell 380s which he said is bad product and then complain now in the press?

I find curios why Mr Leahy sayings this stuff now. Timings seems odd.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Sat Nov 28, 2020 2:06 pm

FrenchPotatoEye wrote:
dstblj52 wrote:
FrenchPotatoEye wrote:

So you the agree Leahy deliberately sold 380s knowing it was a sub-par product then?

Becos that's what it appears he is saying with such complaints.

Nothing with bias. Leahy very good salesman over his career. But with comment he makes now makes him the looks - petty.

Every product has flaws every product has issues but it's not a salesman's job to point those out that's the job of the people on the other side of the table. No different then when the boeing people were promising delivery dates they had to know they were never going to hit.


It one thing do mispromise on delivery like 787-8, but to sell 380s which he said is bad product and then complain now in the press?

I find curios why Mr Leahy sayings this stuff now. Timings seems odd.

He is saying it now because A) he no longer works for Airbus and B) the A380 program has ended so he doesn’t have to worry about hurting old friend’s/colleague’s sales campaigns. You only admit your product is bad after the fact or when you have a replacement to sell. With the industry in its current state aviation news has dried up so time to drum up interviews to distract from overall gloomy period of time.

John Leahy is a legendary man, but he shouldn’t be free from all criticism. It’s clear that did not do a good job early in the program in making sure the engineering focus of the A380 program actually aligned well with what customers were telling him they wanted (remember he was Chief Commercial Officer- he has influence in Airbus).
Last edited by Polot on Sat Nov 28, 2020 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
Noshow
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Sat Nov 28, 2020 2:06 pm

Maybe now with all the MAX news in the headlines it's a good moment to come clean?

He seems to have learned his lesson and was said to be behind Airbus going big, right and expensive with the A350 right after the A380 failure. First they had planned something like an A330neo only but not another up to 777-300ER competitor.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:31 pm

enzo011 wrote:
Oh, you wanted him to lay bare all of his faults so you could pick over his carcass over those other failings. Or am I to believe everyone here would have just said good interview and lets leave it be if he had said he failed with the A380? And if you tell me people would not have found small details to attack him on, then I have a bridge to sell you.

Let's be honest with each other here, people are laying into him because they don't like him. They were going to find every little small details to pore over and attack him with and no matter what he said people would still have found something negative to say about the man. Look at your post, now it is apparently his fault for not only misreading the VLA market but also not having influence over the engineering department at Airbus or all other department to ensure the A380 was a success.

If you want to play the inference game I could say there are people who will never find fault in JL just as easily as you say there are people who will always find fault in JL. I believe the truth is more nuanced than that. I know I've said some positive things about JL in this very thread (that he called the A320neo vs Boeing 737-RS correctly, for one). Not sure I've seen your negative comments about JL.

But maybe we should focus on the interview itself rather than characterizing our reactions to the interview? Our forum rules say to debate the topic, not each other.

So, on his projection of the VLA market we have:

Because we couldn’t show appreciably better economics than the twins, the market was migrating towards the point-to-point. Of course, everybody wants to go point-to-point if there is no economic advantage of going hub-to-hub. If the A380 would have done what it was designed for, there wouldn’t have been as much fragmentation.

And on his role in A380 characterization and strategy we have:

The commercial department has to have much more input upfront on the design and performance parameters of an airplane. If you let the engineers just go off, designing what they think is really cool, you end up like we did with the A380. In commercial we never really focused on the fact that we built an airplane not optimized as the -800, but really built a -900, and we just had to put up with the -800 for a few years until we came out with the -900. Had we all sat around the table and discussed that strategy upfront, I would have been inevitably against it, as would have been the airlines. Who wants to buy a suboptimal aircraft?

Based on this, I think it's fair to say he misread the VLA market because he thought A380 could halt the move away from hub to hub, and he admits he did not gain influence over the design and parameters of the A380. I think both of these are failings of a Chief Commercial Officer. I would have said "good interview" if he did shoulder some of the blame, but I'm not finding that here, what I find is him blaming others, and it's disappointing. I have said it I was looking forward to JL writing his memoirs, but if the result is like this interview, I won't bother buying it.

Polot wrote:
He is saying it now because A) he no longer works for Airbus and B) the A380 program has ended so he doesn’t have to worry about hurting old friend’s/colleague’s sales campaigns. You only admit your product is bad after the fact or when you have a replacement to sell. With the industry in its current state aviation news has dried up so time to drum up interviews to distract from overall gloomy period of time.

John Leahy is a legendary man, but he shouldn’t be free from all criticism. It’s clear that did not do a good job early in the program in making sure the engineering focus of the A380 program actually aligned well with what customers were telling him they wanted (remember he was Chief Commercial Officer- he has influence in Airbus).

Yes, now that he's retired I was hoping we'd find him looking back on this experience and others with some distance and thus no need to be defensive about whatever mistakes he may have made, but it seems he doesn't spend much time soul searching, he blames others and gets back to the hard work of protecting his legacy. It's a shame because often one learns a lot from people's memoirs. I don't think we'll learn much from JL's.

It'd be interesting if Spaeth now went back to Jurgen Thomas and said "did you and your engineers really go off and design A380 without any input from the commercial department" and "did you and your engineers really decide to accept the overhead for A380-900 and A380-800F without any input from the commercial department". That would add some bite to the book, no?
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:56 pm

As I read between the lines on the interview JL was accepting a lot of blame, it was implicitly, not explicit. He and Airbus repeatedly left issues unresolved and in a British sort of way thought they could muddle through to victory. Engines, weights, size, lack of coordination by the nationalistic and almost independent parts comprising Airbus. And look where it got them*. Damn (Boeing fan speaking).

*220,NEOs, 350 - only serious gap 321/now bigger 330
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