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

Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:11 am

FrenchPotatoEye wrote:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/2003-09/30/content_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.

What a hatred....
 
filipinoavgeek
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:28 am

Noshow wrote:
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.

It's not a "anti-JL campaign" but more of people here suggesting that he's blaming everyone but Airbus itself for the A380's commercial failure. Even as a fan of the A380 myself, regardless of the benefits it's provided to programs such as the A350 and others, it cannot be denied that Airbus expected much much more from the plane and things did not turn out that way. There have been several post-mortems that have come out suggesting that Airbus made several decisions that would ultimately doom the aircraft from reaching its potential, regardless of what the engine suppliers or airlines did.
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VV
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:30 am

In any case, the A380 always succeeds to generate a full spectrum of emotions here.
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:31 am

Antarius wrote:
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.


When I joined A.net in 2004 the 777 was a good but not a great plane. The 77W was on the horizon, suddenly with EIS the orders got a good burst, then two later times there were huge bumps in order from EK and others. It clearly was a popular plane because it is a money maker, with its good cargo capacity the airlines can adjust at short notice the weight of the cargo to match conditions and the actual passenger count.

Similarly as you mention the A332, also the A333, it was found to be a good plane in terms of size and range, smack in the middle of most city pairs. Then when the 787 had its problems they sold like hot cakes. A good match for range and payload.
 
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FrenchPotatoEye
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:40 am

marcelh wrote:
FrenchPotatoEye wrote:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/2003-09/30/content_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.

What a hatred....


No sir, not hate at all's.

Evidenced in the link itself with Leahy own words.

He said new engines tech can be used on existing jets....so why didn't he?

He could have the wait for rr tent 1000 or genX. But he didn't - he rushed the 380 and now it's dead.
 
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seahawk
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:40 pm

He has a point about the engines. The GEnx is much more ahead of the EA7200 than the difference of just 2 years between the first runs would make you believe. (Not much different on the RR side)
 
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par13del
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:53 pm

seahawk wrote:
He has a point about the engines. The GEnx is much more ahead of the EA7200 than the difference of just 2 years between the first runs would make you believe. (Not much different on the RR side)

So the reason why the A380NEO did not happen is because of ...........
RR got onboard because of an improved engine, so ....................
 
BrianDromey
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:08 pm

par13del wrote:
seahawk wrote:
He has a point about the engines. The GEnx is much more ahead of the EA7200 than the difference of just 2 years between the first runs would make you believe. (Not much different on the RR side)

So the reason why the A380NEO did not happen is because of ...........
RR got onboard because of an improved engine, so ....................


The -800 is too heavy as mentioned up thread, new engines would have improved it. So would 11 abreast Y seating on the main deck. So would removing excess weight from the structure. But there was not business case for doing so.

I think that the -800 is simultaneously too large and too small. I dont think many airlines base their business on being able to fill an aircraft 85%, year-round on a given city-pair, year-round. Had the A380 been significantly larger, airlines other than EK could have used it like an XL 77W flying between hubs, full of cargo and passengers and consolidated two A330 or 77E flights. As it was sized two 77Ws offered airlines more flexibility and capacity than one A388 did.
 
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seahawk
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:09 pm

par13del wrote:
seahawk wrote:
He has a point about the engines. The GEnx is much more ahead of the EA7200 than the difference of just 2 years between the first runs would make you believe. (Not much different on the RR side)

So the reason why the A380NEO did not happen is because of ...........
RR got onboard because of an improved engine, so ....................


Let me put it differently. With the GEnx or Trent 1000 under the wing, the disadvantage of the A380 would be smaller and this must have been enough to at least consider a NEO, which made no sense as by 2025 both engines would be into the second part of their commercial life. It is no saving grace, but the engines on the A380 are really more than half a generation worse than the engines on the 787.

It does not fix the other problems he mentions and would not save the whale, but the point he makes is valid.
 
brindabella
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:19 pm

par13del wrote:
seahawk wrote:
He has a point about the engines. The GEnx is much more ahead of the EA7200 than the difference of just 2 years between the first runs would make you believe. (Not much different on the RR side)

So the reason why the A380NEO did not happen is because of ...........
RR got onboard because of an improved engine, so ....................


JL takes responsibilty for decisions that were not his to make.

He had nothing to do with the decision to launch the "Whale", AFAIK.

The REAL culprit for the extremely early demise of the A380 is ... the 777W.

Killed-off the A380 and A340/500-600.

And showed the 747-8 to be the rather expensive "non-decision" that it proved to be.

(Ok OK - the steady accretion of 747-8F sales may well have helped the overall project to crawl into the black.
Can't lose them all! :lol: )

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

Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:27 pm

brindabella wrote:
par13del wrote:
seahawk wrote:
He has a point about the engines. The GEnx is much more ahead of the EA7200 than the difference of just 2 years between the first runs would make you believe. (Not much different on the RR side)

So the reason why the A380NEO did not happen is because of ...........
RR got onboard because of an improved engine, so ....................


JL takes responsibilty for decisions that were not his to make.

He had nothing to do with the decision to launch the "Whale", AFAIK.

John Leahy was Chief Commerical Officer at Airbus from 1994 until his retirement. He very much had a say in the A380 program and decision to launch.
 
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klm617
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:46 pm

Of course he does the A380 would have to run on air to make it a profitable venture.
the truth does matter, guys. too bad it's often quite subjective. the truth is beyond the mere facts and figures. it's beyond good and bad, right and wrong...
 
TWFlyGuy
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:46 pm

Then engines were the problem...there were too many of them.
 
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glideslope
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:47 pm

VV wrote:
In any case, the A380 always succeeds to generate a full spectrum of emotions here.


Indeed. It's always the same point, counter point, over, and over, and over as well. Like watching ice build on you're LE until you stall......
To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.” Sun Tzu
 
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Revelation
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:52 pm

TheSonntag wrote:
The engines were surprisingly inferior to what came just a few years later. Insofar, he is not completely wrong.

Yet they were the same ones Boeing was considering putting onto the 747-500/600, that's why the GE/PW project that led to GP7200 was formed in the first place, the A380 target emerged later. The difference was that Boeing looked at the market and looked at the engines and talked with customers and decided to not go forward. Chances are they wish they did not go forward with the 747-8 as well, so I think we can say the issue really is not the engines, it is that there really is not a big market for VLAs and that Airbus has so much zeal to build the world's largest airliner that they talked themselves into thinking there was a much bigger market for VLAs than actually existed.

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.

Well, to be specific, we now have Jurgen Thomas saying it was too damn big, in the sense that it did not maintain efficiency as it scaled up so costly exotic materials (CFRP, titanium, etc) were needed to try to hit the targets they set based on efficient scaling.

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.

It's pretty clear the 747 had far more efficient (if not reliable) engines compared to its competitors of the time, 707 and DC-8. This allowed them a degree of structural inefficiency (highly swept wings that favor speed over efficiency) that became more difficult to overcome as the airframe aged and new clean sheet airliners emerged. Yet their early thirst for fuel meant the 747 could carry enormous amounts of fuel, so as second (PW4000,CF6-80,Trent) and third (GEnX) rounds of engines were fitted the airplanes gained even more range.

Thomas points out the main deck is taller than a pax airliner would want due to cargo requirements. Leahy now agrees compromises were baked into the -800 to allow for -800F and -900. Leahy complains about needing to hit the QC2 standard, but it seems a clean sheet meant to be around for decades would need to do so.

Overall I find JL's comments to be a self serving distraction. It's pretty clear there was a huge amount of hype around A380 internally akin to what Richard Abulafia described as the 787's "drug like rush", and JL was a very keen hype merchant back in the day. The engine thing is a convenient excuse/rationalization, the kind marketing guys are great at finding. He and Thomas are avoiding looking into the fundamental mistake: they made a plane far bigger than the market could support, and planned to make an even bigger follow-up. As I wrote in the earlier thread, I really wish Spaeth had explored this angle deeper with Thomas, and now I feel the same about Leahy. The mere fact he isn't pushing on this question suggests to me at least that it is a very sensitive subject that all involved prefer to avoid.
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lightsaber
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:55 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.

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.

Airbus knew well that no one was excited about an engine offering. The promises were low as neither was going to risk anything. The T900 was an evolution as was the GP7200 which only had Pratt's great fan tech and low turbine tech that woke up GE, in time for the GEnx.

The weight required and wasted space (stairs, elevators) for a double decker means the required length was more than the A380. The A380 was too short (I'm serious).

It was heavy and a very conservative wing too.

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

Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:11 pm

Revelation wrote:
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.

And Airbus couldn't see this when the drawings were ready?
When I read the first time about the OEW of the A380 I said to myself "strange".

It will be interesting to see if economy of scale works for the B777-9X.
I tend to believe yes, but let's see.
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

Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:11 pm

brindabella wrote:

JL takes responsibilty for decisions that were not his to make.

He had nothing to do with the decision to launch the "Whale"


Revisionism.

Leahy was sales man, he knew the product and sold to launch anywhere he could.

Also, he could have wait for 7E7 engines, see my link earliers, but he didn't. He was too busy to launching fast to make sales.

He is at the faults. And his crying about engines now in this interview is very 2-faced.
 
FromCDGtoSYD
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:11 pm

I think people quickly forget how long releasing a new clean sheet design takes, especially when you're setting the new standard for size. Leahy might be telling the truth, or he might not be, but the truth is between that a frame that wasn't optimised for its size, the A380 ended up being way less efficient than it was supposed to be on paper. I believe there was a report talking about the possibility of an A340 with 777 engines? It feels like the Airbus of 20 years was a bit more confused than the Airbus of today.

It's easy to say it was doomed to fail now we have 20/20 hindsight but back then planes were only increasing in size until B decided to scale things back. Nobody could have known the 77W would mop the floor as hard as it did and it's not hard to believe that had the 77W sold even 50% of what it did the market for the A380 would have been bigger.

Now sure the A380 was an engineering marvel but also a failure as whilst ambitious it fell short in many ways, mistakes such as the wiring issues all tarnished it's already uncertain future...
 
ScottB
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:55 pm

Noshow wrote:
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.


So your suggestion is that we should all bow down and be eternally thankful that Leahy has chosen to bless us with his Godlike words? We should swallow statements which are clearly BS without applying a lick of critical analysis? No, thank you.

Revelation wrote:
He and Thomas are avoiding looking into the fundamental mistake: they made a plane far bigger than the market could support, and planned to make an even bigger follow-up.


Revelation wrote:
The difference was that Boeing looked at the market and looked at the engines and talked with customers and decided to not go forward.


We see this in the difference between market forecasts for VLAs back at the time Airbus chose to launch the A380. Airbus predicted 2,000 VLA sales over 20 years while Boeing predicted 500. We know which company came closer to being correct. And heck, an exercise like a market forecast comes out of a company's marketing organization! Who sat at the top of that part of the company in 2000? JL.

I sound like a broken record, but I have long maintained that over-the-top market forecast was manipulated to justify the A380 launch. "Marketing says the market segment can take 2000 units over 20 years and we only have to capture half the market to make gobs of money. We'll have the only clean-sheet design for the market segment so the customers will prefer us. Nothing can go wrong!"
 
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Revelation
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:18 pm

BrianDromey wrote:
The -800 is too heavy as mentioned up thread, new engines would have improved it. So would 11 abreast Y seating on the main deck. So would removing excess weight from the structure. But there was not business case for doing so.

Yet in this interview Leahy says " Had we had that better fuel burn, on a 65 or 70 percent load factor you could have done very well with the A380". If the problem really was the engines and not market preferences IMO they easily could have TXWB onto A380. Heck it had already been done in the sense that A380 was the platform TXWB did flight test on. The problem was the hub to hub market the A380 was built for did not exist to the degree Airbus presumed it did. IMO the conclusion to reach is the one JL and Thomas keep trying to avoid: customers and airlines prefer P2P and P2H over H2H.

seahawk wrote:
Let me put it differently. With the GEnx or Trent 1000 under the wing, the disadvantage of the A380 would be smaller and this must have been enough to at least consider a NEO, which made no sense as by 2025 both engines would be into the second part of their commercial life. It is no saving grace, but the engines on the A380 are really more than half a generation worse than the engines on the 787.

It does not fix the other problems he mentions and would not save the whale, but the point he makes is valid.

Right, yet when Airbus had its hands on TXWB the platform they chose to put it onto was A330 not A380. It's a tacit admission that bad engines did not kill A380, lack of market did.

Sokes wrote:
Revelation wrote:
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.

And Airbus couldn't see this when the drawings were ready?

Depends on which drawings you are referring to. If I'm reading the Thomas interview correctly they did their projections assuming "traditional" methods and materials would scale but later found they did not.

Sokes wrote:
It will be interesting to see if economy of scale works for the B777-9X.

It's not as big a leap as going from A340 to A380, 777X is only adding three rows of Y seats and is using "exotic" materials such as CFRP wings and CMC engine components to get the scaling they want.

FrenchPotatoEye wrote:
He was too busy to launching fast to make sales.

ScottB wrote:
I sound like a broken record, but I have long maintained that over-the-top market forecast was manipulated to justify the A380 launch. "Marketing says the market segment can take 2000 units over 20 years and we only have to capture half the market to make gobs of money. We'll have the only clean-sheet design for the market segment so the customers will prefer us. Nothing can go wrong!"

I think projects take on a momentum of their own. I've seen this myself in my decades of working in high tech. I have posted the quote from people working for Airbus's advanced projects team saying A3XX came about mainly because they had finished work on A330/A340 and were trying to figure out what to do next before they all got laid off. It seems they got an audience with senior executives and they liked the idea of undermining Boeing's 747 money making machine by "going big" and a lot of logic based thinking and analysis got bypassed in favor of ego based thinking. This is why I used the "drug like rush" quote above. Pretty much everyone caught the buzz, the rest is history. The problem we now face is JL saying "Drugs??? What drugs???" and instead blaming others for putting him in a position he should have been able to see wasn't going to turn out well for him.
Last edited by Revelation on Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Antarius
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:27 pm

glideslope wrote:
VV wrote:
In any case, the A380 always succeeds to generate a full spectrum of emotions here.


Indeed. It's always the same point, counter point, over, and over, and over as well. Like watching ice build on you're LE until you stall......


Haha.

But yeah, there's the reality of the situation and "alternative facts" that keep this conversation going in circles forever.
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:52 pm

A plane designed at the wrong time, and no I don't mean market wise, but technology wise. An A380-800 cabin weighing the same as a 777-9 with similar wings and powerplants (GE wouldn't mind) would be a CASM Beast, and a statue of John Leahy built next to the Eiffel Tower.. Again, a plane designed at the wrong time technology wise.
 
Antarius
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:58 pm

william wrote:
A plane designed at the wrong time, and no I don't mean market wise, but technology wise. An A380-800 cabin weighing the same as a 777-9 with similar wings and powerplants (GE wouldn't mind) would be a CASM Beast, and a statue of John Leahy built next to the Eiffel Tower.. Again, a plane designed at the wrong time technology wise.


Unlikely. It may have sold better, but it still wouldn't have replaced the twins. The largest operator of the a380, EK, had a fleet wide LF of <80% in 2019. That doesn't mean you need a more efficient big plane, it means you have too much capacity.

Not to mention that unless somehow we discovered mithril, the concept of an a388 weighing as much as a 779 is pure fantasy.
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Sokes
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:59 pm

ScottB wrote:
Airbus predicted 2,000 VLA sales over 20 years while Boeing predicted 500.

Can they also predict which shares will do well the next 20 years?

Has there ever been a plane which was successful not because of engines or increased range, but just by having good market forcast done for it?
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frmrCapCadet
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:07 pm

res 777 competition. In 1989 as the 777 was being developed as the first computer designed liner bits and pieces of development leaked out, and the ongoing news was consistent and powerful. While it was more expensive than expected, it was also better than expected. Seattle was abuzz with rumors of its excellence. The first couple iterations were only 'good', but the bones ensured future developments would be great. News media and public television news reports. Aviation enthusiasts remember those early 90s as a golden age.
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tomcat
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:08 pm

Revelation wrote:
The engine thing is a convenient excuse/rationalization, the kind marketing guys are great at finding. He and Thomas are avoiding looking into the fundamental mistake: they made a plane far bigger than the market could support, and planned to make an even bigger follow-up. As I wrote in the earlier thread, I really wish Spaeth had explored this angle deeper with Thomas, and now I feel the same about Leahy. The mere fact he isn't pushing on this question suggests to me at least that it is a very sensitive subject that all involved prefer to avoid.


My take is that in Airbus'mind, the only way to make substantial efficiency gains was to make a larger aircraft than what was on the market at the time. Following that train of thought, the airlines that would operate that aircraft would dominate the market and these airlines would obviously be operating from large hubs. All this is very consistant with the vision of Airbus at the time. Too bad that they hadn't made their homework and that they only realized once they actually started designing the A380 that the efficiency gains were far below their expectations. And as I wrote upthread, it's obvious that Airbus also realized way too late that it had become possible in the 90s to design a large twin that was competitive with even larger 4-engines aircraft with the engine technologies that were being developed at the time (first for the GE90-115 and later for the GEnx). I would say that Airbus doesn't seem to have ever challenged their own view that going big with 4 engines was the only way to obtain a more efficient design. It's really sad when one considers that there is as much CFRP weight in an A380 than in a 787 if not more but most of this CFRP was used to save a design rather than make an agressive innovative move.
 
ILNFlyer
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 5:14 pm

Revelation wrote:
TheSonntag wrote:
The engines were surprisingly inferior to what came just a few years later. Insofar, he is not completely wrong.

Yet they were the same ones Boeing was considering putting onto the 747-500/600, that's why the GE/PW project that led to GP7200 was formed in the first place, the A380 target emerged later. The difference was that Boeing looked at the market and looked at the engines and talked with customers and decided to not go forward. Chances are they wish they did not go forward with the 747-8 as well, so I think we can say the issue really is not the engines, it is that there really is not a big market for VLAs and that Airbus has so much zeal to build the world's largest airliner that they talked themselves into thinking there was a much bigger market for VLAs than actually existed.

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.

Well, to be specific, we now have Jurgen Thomas saying it was too damn big, in the sense that it did not maintain efficiency as it scaled up so costly exotic materials (CFRP, titanium, etc) were needed to try to hit the targets they set based on efficient scaling.

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.

It's pretty clear the 747 had far more efficient (if not reliable) engines compared to its competitors of the time, 707 and DC-8. This allowed them a degree of structural inefficiency (highly swept wings that favor speed over efficiency) that became more difficult to overcome as the airframe aged and new clean sheet airliners emerged. Yet their early thirst for fuel meant the 747 could carry enormous amounts of fuel, so as second (PW4000,CF6-80,Trent) and third (GEnX) rounds of engines were fitted the airplanes gained even more range.

Thomas points out the main deck is taller than a pax airliner would want due to cargo requirements. Leahy now agrees compromises were baked into the -800 to allow for -800F and -900. Leahy complains about needing to hit the QC2 standard, but it seems a clean sheet meant to be around for decades would need to do so.

Overall I find JL's comments to be a self serving distraction. It's pretty clear there was a huge amount of hype around A380 internally akin to what Richard Abulafia described as the 787's "drug like rush", and JL was a very keen hype merchant back in the day. The engine thing is a convenient excuse/rationalization, the kind marketing guys are great at finding. He and Thomas are avoiding looking into the fundamental mistake: they made a plane far bigger than the market could support, and planned to make an even bigger follow-up. As I wrote in the earlier thread, I really wish Spaeth had explored this angle deeper with Thomas, and now I feel the same about Leahy. The mere fact he isn't pushing on this question suggests to me at least that it is a very sensitive subject that all involved prefer to avoid.


A rather spot on analysis IMHO.
 
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seahawk
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 5:17 pm

Revelation wrote:

seahawk wrote:
Let me put it differently. With the GEnx or Trent 1000 under the wing, the disadvantage of the A380 would be smaller and this must have been enough to at least consider a NEO, which made no sense as by 2025 both engines would be into the second part of their commercial life. It is no saving grace, but the engines on the A380 are really more than half a generation worse than the engines on the 787.

It does not fix the other problems he mentions and would not save the whale, but the point he makes is valid.

Right, yet when Airbus had its hands on TXWB the platform they chose to put it onto was A330 not A380. It's a tacit admission that bad engines did not kill A380, lack of market did.


T7000 would take the plane to an equal level (at best) compared to the 787 (after PiPs) and the A350. It would probably still be worse than the 777X and way worse than the NEO versions of the 787/A350 one could expect around 2030. When the decision was up, not only was the demand for the A380 non-existent, but also there was no workable up-grade path that made the plane competitive for 10-15 years. But I still think that the A380 was barely having the most efficient engines for 2-3 years after launch. From then on the 787, A350 and later A330NEO all got better engines, the 777X probably even bettering those 3. And with all the burdens created through wrong design decisions, that plane could not make up for having worse engines.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 5:29 pm

A380-800 carrys the wings and wingbox for the A380-900 or potential 1000. I think they made a mistake in not offering a -900 out of the gate. That extra weight made it a difficult sell for efficiency.

But I also think the 4 engines also did this bird in. Even if they offered the -900 II am not sure this is a successful frame.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 5:49 pm

Antarius wrote:
glideslope wrote:
VV wrote:
In any case, the A380 always succeeds to generate a full spectrum of emotions here.


Indeed. It's always the same point, counter point, over, and over, and over as well. Like watching ice build on you're LE until you stall......


Haha.

But yeah, there's the reality of the situation and "alternative facts" that keep this conversation going in circles forever.



I thought the 251st delivery would be the last one.
Are they restarting the production?
 
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FrenchPotatoEye
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 6:26 pm

VV wrote:
Antarius wrote:
glideslope wrote:

Indeed. It's always the same point, counter point, over, and over, and over as well. Like watching ice build on you're LE until you stall......


Haha.

But yeah, there's the reality of the situation and "alternative facts" that keep this conversation going in circles forever.



I thought the 251st delivery would be the last one.
Are they restarting the production?


Production finished.

Airbus just fitting out the last few for EK.

Would be a waste and funny if ek cancel them.
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 6:44 pm

VV wrote:
Antarius wrote:
glideslope wrote:

Indeed. It's always the same point, counter point, over, and over, and over as well. Like watching ice build on you're LE until you stall......


Haha.

But yeah, there's the reality of the situation and "alternative facts" that keep this conversation going in circles forever.



I thought the 251st delivery would be the last one.
Are they restarting the production?


Depends on which set of facts you want to go with :P
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PhilMcCrackin
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 7:04 pm

Elementalism wrote:
A380-800 carrys the wings and wingbox for the A380-900 or potential 1000. I think they made a mistake in not offering a -900 out of the gate. That extra weight made it a difficult sell for efficiency.

But I also think the 4 engines also did this bird in. Even if they offered the -900 II am not sure this is a successful frame.


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.
 
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lightsaber
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 7:04 pm

FrenchPotatoEye wrote:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/2003-09/30/content_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.

The engine makers were not willing to invest the billions for advanced A380 engines. This wasn't about waiting, it was the business case.

Right before the A380, Airbus was working the A305, a small twin that was very much like an aluminum wing and body 787 (but with GLARE and other A380 materials). The competition for that engine was intense. Every manufacturer was offering the latest technology.

For the A380, engine makers just were not willing to invest a few billion more into the development as they didn't see the business case.

Honestly, around 2000, engine makers were humoring Airbus on 4 engine concepts as not participating would have locked them out of any potential projects, including an effort in 2001 to re-engine the A320.

When the A380 was announced, Airbus cancelled all side projects to prevent vendor distraction. So vendors bid as that is what they could bid on. No one bid high risk on the A380 as the business case was so marginal.

Heck, Pratt was more focused on unseating the BR700 line of business jet engines (yes, it took forever to get out the PW815 and PW812).

Lightsaber
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JayinKitsap
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 7:05 pm

Well, the airlines spoke with their orders paid with dear cash, I recall there were more orders before EIS than were made in the next dozen years. Not a big vote of confidence. Now young planes will be heading to the desert, no used plane market beyond the spares pool. Far fewer 748I's flying, they also might retire early, or be taken up by a government for possibly a dozen.

It is incredible how both have cratered in the market and less than 15 years after first flight one cannot order one as both lines are closing.
 
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Revelation
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 8:05 pm

seahawk wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Right, yet when Airbus had its hands on TXWB the platform they chose to put it onto was A330 not A380. It's a tacit admission that bad engines did not kill A380, lack of market did.

T7000 would take the plane to an equal level (at best) compared to the 787 (after PiPs) and the A350. It would probably still be worse than the 777X and way worse than the NEO versions of the 787/A350 one could expect around 2030. When the decision was up, not only was the demand for the A380 non-existent, but also there was no workable up-grade path that made the plane competitive for 10-15 years. But I still think that the A380 was barely having the most efficient engines for 2-3 years after launch. From then on the 787, A350 and later A330NEO all got better engines, the 777X probably even bettering those 3. And with all the burdens created through wrong design decisions, that plane could not make up for having worse engines.

Based on this I think we are saying:

A) Poor engines did not kill A380, other design decisions did

B) There is no point in time where Leahy's assertion, "Had we had that better fuel burn, on a 65 or 70 percent load factor you could have done very well with the A380" would have been true except if there was an alternate reality where Airbus decided to sit on the project for ~3 years hoping new engines he said he had no hope of expecting would emerge and the engine vendors took the risk of building new engines that were the right size for the A380 market as opposed to the 787 market.

Elementalism wrote:
I think they made a mistake in not offering a -900 out of the gate. That extra weight made it a difficult sell for efficiency.

Leahy is saying he feels they should have designed a very efficient -800 sized plane and not tried to build for a family of -800, -800F, -800R and -900.

This all goes back to the Charles Champion slides I've shown many times where Airbus decided they needed a family of planes for 550 and 650 seats in all economy configuration, which drove them to the 10+8 cross section, which pretty much guaranteed -800 would not be efficient.

lightsaber wrote:
The engine makers were not willing to invest the billions for advanced A380 engines. This wasn't about waiting, it was the business case.

Right before the A380, Airbus was working the A305, a small twin that was very much like an aluminum wing and body 787 (but with GLARE and other A380 materials). The competition for that engine was intense. Every manufacturer was offering the latest technology.

For the A380, engine makers just were not willing to invest a few billion more into the development as they didn't see the business case.

Honestly, around 2000, engine makers were humoring Airbus on 4 engine concepts as not participating would have locked them out of any potential projects, including an effort in 2001 to re-engine the A320.

When the A380 was announced, Airbus cancelled all side projects to prevent vendor distraction. So vendors bid as that is what they could bid on. No one bid high risk on the A380 as the business case was so marginal.

You have pretty much obliterated Leahy's claim that all AIrbus needed to do was wait 3 years and they would have gotten all-new engines for A380 that would let it make good money flying around with a 65 or 70 percent load factor.

It makes me wonder if Leahy was that poorly informed, or if he's just rationalizing the A380's failure. I say it is the later. He is more intelligent than he is coming across here. For instance he was spot on during the A320 vs Boeing clean sheet narrowbody discussion. I don't see how he believes what he is saying, so it has to be him being a marketing guy and putting the best spin onto things that he can muster.
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Noshow
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 8:15 pm

Coming back to market forecasts: Airbus expected A380 business to come from legacy mainlines and their reorders. Something like Emirates had not been in their predictions. Imagine the program without EK's order.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 8:55 pm

Airlinerdude wrote:
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+.

In tech ops a few members have done very accurate estimates using advanced models. Had the A380 design been fully optimised for the 800 capacity with no room for a stretch it would be more than 20t and have a MTOW nearly 50t lower. A nearly 10% fuel burn improvement per seat with the same engine technology.

The fuselage would have been skinnier to fit the full 80m fuselage length. Probably like a 747-8 but with a full length upper deck. The wing would still be 80m but with a much higher aspect ratio. With the much lower MTOW it would not have needed as much wing area to fit inside the 80m box.

Such an optimised A380 would still have a long order book. Nothing would come close to it in terms of per seat cost.

The overweight version only manages to equal the A350/787 in per seat costs. Airlines will always take the smaller aircraft if per seat costs are equal.
 
Noshow
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:03 pm

Well this didn't work for the 747-8 it seems. Not sure if it would have been different for a more light weight A380. A one shot big airplane instead of a modular family plan could not work either.
 
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SEPilot
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:12 pm

Designing a new airliner is the world’s biggest crapshoot. It is the most expensive product there is to design, and decisions have to be finalized years before the plane will enter service. Meanwhile, things happen. The world when the decisions are made might be very different from the world when it finally enters service. To me the biggest mistake Airbus made was building the wings and landing gear for the -900 and -F.. But what really sunk it was the phenomenal success of the 77W, which was completely unexpected (even by Boeing). The A380 did offer better per seat economics, but not enough. The risk of flying the 77W was so much lower that the potential greater returns was outweighed by the risk of not filling it.
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WayexTDI
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:14 pm

FrenchPotatoEye wrote:
brindabella wrote:

JL takes responsibilty for decisions that were not his to make.

He had nothing to do with the decision to launch the "Whale"


Revisionism.

Leahy was sales man, he knew the product and sold to launch anywhere he could.

Also, he could have wait for 7E7 engines, see my link earliers, but he didn't. He was too busy to launching fast to make sales.

He is at the faults. And his crying about engines now in this interview is very 2-faced.

The A380 was already late to the party; waiting another 2 years or so would have killed even more sales.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 9:29 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
Airlinerdude wrote:
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+.

In tech ops a few members have done very accurate estimates using advanced models. Had the A380 design been fully optimised for the 800 capacity with no room for a stretch it would be more than 20t and have a MTOW nearly 50t lower. A nearly 10% fuel burn improvement per seat with the same engine technology.

The fuselage would have been skinnier to fit the full 80m fuselage length. Probably like a 747-8 but with a full length upper deck. The wing would still be 80m but with a much higher aspect ratio. With the much lower MTOW it would not have needed as much wing area to fit inside the 80m box.

Such an optimised A380 would still have a long order book. Nothing would come close to it in terms of per seat cost.

The overweight version only manages to equal the A350/787 in per seat costs. Airlines will always take the smaller aircraft if per seat costs are equal.


Would that have ruled out a 787-10 type stretch with limited range?
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Revelation
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:04 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
In tech ops a few members have done very accurate estimates using advanced models. Had the A380 design been fully optimised for the 800 capacity with no room for a stretch it would be more than 20t and have a MTOW nearly 50t lower. A nearly 10% fuel burn improvement per seat with the same engine technology.

The fuselage would have been skinnier to fit the full 80m fuselage length. Probably like a 747-8 but with a full length upper deck. The wing would still be 80m but with a much higher aspect ratio. With the much lower MTOW it would not have needed as much wing area to fit inside the 80m box.

Such an optimised A380 would still have a long order book. Nothing would come close to it in terms of per seat cost.

The overweight version only manages to equal the A350/787 in per seat costs. Airlines will always take the smaller aircraft if per seat costs are equal.

Would that have ruled out a 787-10 type stretch with limited range?

Well, yes, unless you can get airports to find ways to accommodate something outside of the 80m box, which of course was enough of a challenge for A380 Mk I.

In the Jurgen Thomas interview he said Airbus in those days were unhappy that the A340 turned out to be difficult to stretch and they weren't going to make that mistake again so they built the A380 with a stretch in mind. It turns out by doing so they made a different mistake, IMO a worse one.
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uta999
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:26 pm

The A380-800 was the Airbus equivalent of the Boeing 747-SP

It was shortened but retained all that extra weight, ready for the -900 which never came.

It only sold as many as it did because of EK and other vanity carriers trying to keep up. Without EK it too would also have only sold 58 frames.

COVID has probably done the same to the A380 as it has already done to the 744.
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william
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:30 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
Airlinerdude wrote:
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+.

In tech ops a few members have done very accurate estimates using advanced models. Had the A380 design been fully optimised for the 800 capacity with no room for a stretch it would be more than 20t and have a MTOW nearly 50t lower. A nearly 10% fuel burn improvement per seat with the same engine technology.

The fuselage would have been skinnier to fit the full 80m fuselage length. Probably like a 747-8 but with a full length upper deck. The wing would still be 80m but with a much higher aspect ratio. With the much lower MTOW it would not have needed as much wing area to fit inside the 80m box.

Such an optimised A380 would still have a long order book. Nothing would come close to it in terms of per seat cost.

The overweight version only manages to equal the A350/787 in per seat costs. Airlines will always take the smaller aircraft if per seat costs are equal.

Best post of this thread, everyone talks about the A380 being too heavy but never how efficient it would had been if optimized for its size. Even more efficient if given 787 generation era engines.
 
IPFreely
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Wed Nov 25, 2020 1:24 am

A poor carpenter blames his hammer when he builds a shoddy house.

And a poor plane salesman blames the engines when he can't sell his planes.
 
n7371f
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Wed Nov 25, 2020 4:24 am

Ha!

John never met a defeat he didn't have an excuse for.

xwb777 wrote:
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/
 
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Wed Nov 25, 2020 6:39 am

Revelation wrote:
seahawk wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Right, yet when Airbus had its hands on TXWB the platform they chose to put it onto was A330 not A380. It's a tacit admission that bad engines did not kill A380, lack of market did.

T7000 would take the plane to an equal level (at best) compared to the 787 (after PiPs) and the A350. It would probably still be worse than the 777X and way worse than the NEO versions of the 787/A350 one could expect around 2030. When the decision was up, not only was the demand for the A380 non-existent, but also there was no workable up-grade path that made the plane competitive for 10-15 years. But I still think that the A380 was barely having the most efficient engines for 2-3 years after launch. From then on the 787, A350 and later A330NEO all got better engines, the 777X probably even bettering those 3. And with all the burdens created through wrong design decisions, that plane could not make up for having worse engines.

Based on this I think we are saying:

A) Poor engines did not kill A380, other design decisions did

B) There is no point in time where Leahy's assertion, "Had we had that better fuel burn, on a 65 or 70 percent load factor you could have done very well with the A380" would have been true except if there was an alternate reality where Airbus decided to sit on the project for ~3 years hoping new engines he said he had no hope of expecting would emerge and the engine vendors took the risk of building new engines that were the right size for the A380 market as opposed to the 787 market


Yes, you can even take it one step further and say that without the 787 better engines would not become a reality for a long time and the A380 would do equally bad against the 777W as it did in reality. The engine OEMs did not go all in for the A380, they did for the 787, which was the right decision.
 
strfyr51
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Re: John Leahy blames the engines for the A380 failure

Wed Nov 25, 2020 6:46 am

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?

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?
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