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Boeing757100
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Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 2:55 pm

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/exclu ... conversion

So, they're basically putting the top deck as a pax area and the bottom for cargo. Does anyone see this working? I personally don't really know, but I express some skepticism. First off, it is still inefficient and second of all, the idea of combi aircraft in general was kind of declining, as stated on this forum several times. Combis were/are only used in remote areas, and they for sure don't have the infrastructure to handle A380? I don't know if it hasn't been discussed, so please remove it it has.

Also, here is a simple flying article for those who want to have their sides hurt from trying not to laugh
https://simpleflying.com/airbus-a380-fr ... nversions/
Boeing is bringing back the 707 tomorrow, with Shinkai as the Chief Executive Officer and FLAIRPORT as the Chief Financial Officer.


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ikolkyo
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:04 pm

Yeah, not happening.
 
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Boeing757100
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:11 pm

How many people can the top deck of an A380 carry? Also, what makes the A380 worse than a 747 in the freight market? Less feedstock? Is the cockpit too low for nose loading or what?
Boeing is bringing back the 707 tomorrow, with Shinkai as the Chief Executive Officer and FLAIRPORT as the Chief Financial Officer.


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TC957
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:16 pm

Too late now for any A380 conversion ideas, they should have offered a combi from the very beginning.
Airbus should instead develope the A338 / 9 into a good freighter.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:25 pm

Boeing757100 wrote:
https://www.freightwaves.com/news/exclusive-airbus-floats-concept-for-a380-freighter-conversion

So, they're basically putting the top deck as a pax area and the bottom for cargo. Does anyone see this working? I personally don't really know, but I express some skepticism. First off, it is still inefficient and second of all, the idea of combi aircraft in general was kind of declining, as stated on this forum several times. Combis were/are only used in remote areas, and they for sure don't have the infrastructure to handle A380? I don't know if it hasn't been discussed, so please remove it it has.

Also, here is a simple flying article for those who want to have their sides hurt from trying not to laugh
https://simpleflying.com/airbus-a380-fr ... nversions/

The article is mostly a list of why this won't work.

A few snips:

An A380 converted freighter has merit, but only if there is significant interest to recover the non-recurring development, testing and certification costs associated with a major alteration, said Stan Wraight, co-founder and president of Strategic Aviation Solutions International, an aviation consultancy.

“They better get 50 or 60 orders to make that work,” he said.

Today, the dual-use planes are mostly used to serve remote areas because they allow airlines to split flights with freight and people for locations where there isn’t huge demand for either. Experts say they are difficult to manage because airlines are trying to serve two markets at the same time, often requiring them to make operational compromises and comply with increasingly stringent fire safety standards.

“We do not believe that a passenger-to-freighter conversion of the A380 would be viable, especially given the high empty weight of the aircraft relative to its potential freight payload,” said Chris Seymour, head of market analysis at Ascend, the consulting arm of aviation data provider Cirium. “Specifically, the passenger design and location of the upper deck are not optimal for cargo use and the aircraft would be relatively compromised in the context of payload, with significant volume but with potential weight restrictions.”

IBA’s Seymour said retrofitting the main deck of the A380 for cargo while maintaining access stairs to the upper deck could pose an engineering challenge for smoke and flame suppression because the ventilation systems need to be isolated.

“It’s not really a case of putting up a partition and few fire extinguishers. The whole air conditioning infrastructure needs to change as well,” he said in an interview.

Where does that leave us?
  • You'd need to find customers wanting 50-60 of these to even start
  • The whole combi concept itself is marginal to begin with
  • The A380 itself is poorly suited to becoming a combi
  • The amount of work to create an A380 combi is huge

So, a bad idea, no matter how you look at it.

TL;DR:
Investing in an A380 combi is akin to setting cash on fire.

Opus99 wrote:
A350F not getting enough traction?

It does seem like someone in Airbus is being tasked with stirring the pot on the freighter side of the business.

You would think they would look back at A330F and decide maybe they could do something more productive with their time and money.

However, salesmen are an optimistic breed, always willing to go out and press the flesh.
Last edited by Revelation on Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Boeing757100
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:25 pm

TC957 wrote:
Too late now for any A380 conversion ideas, they should have offered a combi from the very beginning.
Airbus should instead develop the A338 / 9 into a good freighter.



I don't think the A380 would've EVER worked as a Combi. It came about when the ideas of Combis were declining. Making the largest plane in pax service enter the starving market would be a shot in the foot for them. And in order for the A330neo freighter to come, wouldn't it compete internally with the A350F? Plus, with the used A330s on the market, there might not be a big enough customer pool.
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:29 pm

OK: Someone who owns a few late model A380's might do a simple conversion like this (most likely by removing the 1st floor seats and strapping cargo to the floor as has been recently done by other airlines). However, that severely limits the types of cargo that can be carried and requires hand loading/unloading.

I don't see anyone fronting the certification cost to install a proper cargo deck with cargo doors, fire protection, etc. as the market is too limited. I may be wrong in that (how desperate is Airbus?). Should such a conversion be developed and certified... then I could see this being done for 5-20 A380's.
 
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:33 pm

EK is going to be the driver of this. As more 777's come back into the fleet based on pax demand, the dedicated preighters are going to be gone from the network. Demand for full pax load of 380's is going to be such a long ways away, if EK/Airbus were able to have something developed in two years, I could certainly see them jumping on that where they could keep their 380's for another 10 years while they rebuild their new fleet with smaller a/c.
 
Antarius
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:35 pm

Revelation wrote:
You would think they would look back at A330F and decide maybe they could do something more productive with their time and money.


To me, the issue isn't Airbus building freighters, They had a good run with the a300. The issue was the a330F, a too big but not capable enough freighter that got squeezed by the 767 and 777.

The a350F is a whole different ballgame. Sure, it may not work out (as any project with any manufacturer), but the lane is clear for it to succeed unlike the a330F.
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Noshow
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:44 pm

I don't see a combi making any sense. The only thing might be some A380P2F (freighter) for express cargo companies. Like those early customers of the factory built A380F.
If you can get a young used aircraft with -say 20 years- life left for almost nothing (otherwise they part them out already) the business case might change for operators. Good 747F might become rare and expensive over time and A380s have quite some range.
However I am not sure about the floor beams of passenger A380 being cargo load capable?
 
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:47 pm

Antarius wrote:
Revelation wrote:
You would think they would look back at A330F and decide maybe they could do something more productive with their time and money.

To me, the issue isn't Airbus building freighters, They had a good run with the a300. The issue was the a330F, a too big but not capable enough freighter that got squeezed by the 767 and 777.

The a350F is a whole different ballgame. Sure, it may not work out (as any project with any manufacturer), but the lane is clear for it to succeed unlike the a330F.

Sure, viable from a technical point of view, but the real issue is the financial point of view.

I think A350F will also need to find likely orders for 50 or more before it can become a reality.

I think it will have a hard time securing that many orders, but clearly it's not impossible, depending on how good a deal AB is willing to cut.
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Antarius
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:07 pm

Noshow wrote:
I don't see a combi making any sense. The only thing might be some A380P2F (freighter) for express cargo companies. Like those early customers of the factory built A380F.
If you can get a young used aircraft with -say 20 years- life left for almost nothing (otherwise they part them out already) the business case might change for operators. Good 747F might become rare and expensive over time and A380s have quite some range.
However I am not sure about the floor beams of passenger A380 being cargo load capable?


IMO, this is as unlikely as a combi. I don't see anyone spending money certifying a P2F.
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Boeing757100
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:17 pm

Noshow wrote:
I don't see a combi making any sense. The only thing might be some A380P2F (freighter) for express cargo companies. Like those early customers of the factory built A380F.
If you can get a young used aircraft with -say 20 years- life left for almost nothing (otherwise they part them out already) the business case might change for operators. Good 747F might become rare and expensive over time and A380s have quite some range.
However I am not sure about the floor beams of passenger A380 being cargo load capable?



How is the 747F better than the A380F for the cargo market (or even combi)? More feedstock or more capable?
Boeing is bringing back the 707 tomorrow, with Shinkai as the Chief Executive Officer and FLAIRPORT as the Chief Financial Officer.


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Noshow
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:24 pm

The 747F is a classic cargo airplane or can be made into one and is very versatile. High cabin, steep sidewalls, heavy cargo cabin floor and such. The A380 is more exotic and more special (likely) being a good long range container carrier but needing additional equipment to load and unload.
 
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:34 pm

Noshow wrote:
The 747F is a classic cargo airplane or can be made into one and is very versatile. High cabin, steep sidewalls, heavy cargo cabin floor and such. The A380 is more exotic and more special (likely) being a good long range container carrier but needing additional equipment to load and unload.



Yep, we have the 747F for capability and versatility, and the 777F for long ranger. Wonder how the 747F will be once the 777XF comes. The only thing I can think of that the 747 has that the 777X doesn't is the nose loading, which might actually be pretty big.
Boeing is bringing back the 707 tomorrow, with Shinkai as the Chief Executive Officer and FLAIRPORT as the Chief Financial Officer.


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tomcat
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:36 pm

The combi conversion is really an exotic proposal but the idea of a conversion to a full freighter may not be that crazy. After all, in a recent interview of the A380's chief engineer we got to learn that the main deck height had been set to make it suitable for a cargo conversion after the aircraft would be retired from the pax services. This was supposed to help the aircraft retain some value at that point.

Today's articles are probably an indication that Airbus is trying to find ways for their customers to limit the heavy depreciations associated with the early retirement of their A380s. How much of these depreciations could be avoided with a conversion? This is what needs to be assessed to evaluate the viability of a conversion program for the A380.
 
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:38 pm

Boeing757100 wrote:
Noshow wrote:
I don't see a combi making any sense. The only thing might be some A380P2F (freighter) for express cargo companies. Like those early customers of the factory built A380F.
If you can get a young used aircraft with -say 20 years- life left for almost nothing (otherwise they part them out already) the business case might change for operators. Good 747F might become rare and expensive over time and A380s have quite some range.
However I am not sure about the floor beams of passenger A380 being cargo load capable?



How is the 747F better than the A380F for the cargo market (or even combi)? More feedstock or more capable?


747 P to F has dried up. But the 747 as poster eluded, has space, loading capability with floor space, performance capability with the amount of payload it can carry. Versatile aircraft that can cover many different kind of Cargo missions where as the A380 will be limited with those missions.
 
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:43 pm

Could the Embraer C-390 work as a combi for isolated towns in the Yukon, NW Territories, Alaska and the such? The needed subsidies may be too high.
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Antarius
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:51 pm

Boeing757100 wrote:
Noshow wrote:
The 747F is a classic cargo airplane or can be made into one and is very versatile. High cabin, steep sidewalls, heavy cargo cabin floor and such. The A380 is more exotic and more special (likely) being a good long range container carrier but needing additional equipment to load and unload.



Yep, we have the 747F for capability and versatility, and the 777F for long ranger. Wonder how the 747F will be once the 777XF comes. The only thing I can think of that the 747 has that the 777X doesn't is the nose loading, which might actually be pretty big.


The 747F production is over. Those aircraft will continue to serve until they cannot and then customers will adapt to the best option on the market.

Given that some of UPS' 7478Fs are brand new, they'll likely be flying till 2050, if not much longer.
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:51 pm

You know what's a better combi aircraft? Well, besides literally everything, one example should be noted. The A350 is right there with plenty of seating and cargo.
 
fcogafa
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:59 pm

Are we sure that this isn't an April fools joke being reported a few days late?
 
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:05 pm

leeham recently wrote about Airbus A350F and that Boeing will have issues continuing with their two older freighter lines (767,777) as new builds.

ref: https://leehamnews.com/2021/04/06/boein ... hreatened/ ( just from the non-paywalled start ) :

International regulations that take effect in 2027 mean the 777-200LRF and 767-300ERF that Boeing builds today can no longer be produced from 2027.


do similar limitations apply to conversions?
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AirbusCheerlead
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:55 pm

A 77F takes > 100t of freight. A 77W takes pax + 25t of payload (per Swiss fact sheet)
The A380 struggles to compete against the 777. How could a A 380 Combi with perhaps 80t payload compete when squeezed between the 77F and 77W ?
And that's not even considering all the 787, 779, and A350...
 
Strato2
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:02 pm

This is a smoke screen. Airbus will build A350-950F and in the process decimate the potential market for the 777XF.
 
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:05 pm

The main reason this won’t work is the twin engine widebodies are already superb combi freighters. They can carry a giant amount of cargo. Without the downside risk of A380 combi program. The additional cargo an A380 could carry would not justify the exercise.
 
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:06 pm

While combis were indeed not really en vogue for the last two decades in regular services, Covid might change that to some extent and open up opportunities that were not feasible before? I would definitively have a look at new opportunities if I'm Airbus, before I say "will never happen, because it didn't (well) in the past"
 
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:31 pm

Boeing757100 wrote:
How is the 747F better than the A380F for the cargo market (or even combi)? More feedstock or more capable?

This, and more spare parts, more trained pilots and mechanics, less field restrictions, no need for special equipment to unload the upper deck, military operators keeping the base supply chain of consumables going for the foreseeable future, etc.

IMO it's easy to see a supply chain for 747s still going into the 2050s. IMO it's hard to see A380s in anything but niche roles by the mid 2030s. By that time EK's 12 year lease on the last A380 will be over, and chances are good the whole fleet will get rolled up earlier than that, just like we saw aging 744s get taken out en mass lately.

tomcat wrote:
The combi conversion is really an exotic proposal but the idea of a conversion to a full freighter may not be that crazy. After all, in a recent interview of the A380's chief engineer we got to learn that the main deck height had been set to make it suitable for a cargo conversion after the aircraft would be retired from the pax services. This was supposed to help the aircraft retain some value at that point.

The thread starter article contradicts that by saying FX still was unhappy with the main deck height.

tomcat wrote:
Today's articles are probably an indication that Airbus is trying to find ways for their customers to limit the heavy depreciations associated with the early retirement of their A380s. How much of these depreciations could be avoided with a conversion? This is what needs to be assessed to evaluate the viability of a conversion program for the A380.

Dr Peters claims it made more money parting out the early SQ A380s than it would have received by selling them at market price. That is the base line to compare to. Can someone find customers for 50 A380 combis, pay for development and certification, pay for the feedstock, new parts and labor to do 50 combi conversions and make more money than just parking them in some obscure European bone yard and parting them out?
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Antarius
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:34 pm

LucaDiMontanari wrote:
While combis were indeed not really en vogue for the last two decades in regular services, Covid might change that to some extent and open up opportunities that were not feasible before? I would definitively have a look at new opportunities if I'm Airbus, before I say "will never happen, because it didn't (well) in the past"


This.

It never hurts to kick the tires. Doesn't mean that
a. Airbus will do this
b. Airbus won't do it
c. This has anything to do with the a350F and their plans for it's launch

COVID has changed things, so it never hurts to look around and see what the market wants. I personally think this is a bad idea, but then again, I'm not the one with an a380 fleet.
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:38 pm

fcogafa wrote:
Are we sure that this isn't an April fools joke being reported a few days late?

You beat me to it - was going to ask the same thing
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:52 pm

tomcat wrote:
Today's articles are probably an indication that Airbus is trying to find ways for their customers to limit the heavy depreciations associated with the early retirement of their A380s. How much of these depreciations could be avoided with a conversion? This is what needs to be assessed to evaluate the viability of a conversion program for the A380.


A carrier's rate of depreciation of A380 assets isn't even among the top three financial questions to be answered.

Certification costs. Certification costs. Op costs, including load/unload labor premiums.
 
ScottB
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:55 pm

fcogafa wrote:
Are we sure that this isn't an April fools joke being reported a few days late?


Yeah, I was wondering if April Fool's had become a week-long event.

Boeing757100 wrote:
Does anyone see this working? I personally don't really know, but I express some skepticism. First off, it is still inefficient and second of all, the idea of combi aircraft in general was kind of declining, as stated on this forum several times. Combis were/are only used in remote areas, and they for sure don't have the infrastructure to handle A380? I don't know if it hasn't been discussed, so please remove it it has.


It's a ridiculous idea. A380 Combi operators would have to use terminal facilities with jet bridges which can reach the upper deck, so it's really not suitable for airports which don't already see A380 service without terminal modifications. They're also limited to airports which can physically handle the A380. It'd probably be more cost-effective to send an A330 with the passengers and a 767F with the cargo.

The cost of the conversion would probably be higher than cabin refurbishments which A380 operators already rejected due to high cost.

FWIW I think Airbus is floating this idea to try to keep A380 service/parts revenue alive. Plus they're going to be on the hook with certain customers (like EK) to maintain parts availability, and having more A380s in service makes this more economical.

Revelation wrote:
tomcat wrote:
The combi conversion is really an exotic proposal but the idea of a conversion to a full freighter may not be that crazy. After all, in a recent interview of the A380's chief engineer we got to learn that the main deck height had been set to make it suitable for a cargo conversion after the aircraft would be retired from the pax services. This was supposed to help the aircraft retain some value at that point.

The thread starter article contradicts that by saying FX still was unhappy with the main deck height.


Was the main deck height really set with the intent of a cargo conversion? I expect it was more an artifact of the original plan to offer the A380F.
 
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:26 pm

Revelation wrote:
Dr Peters claims it made more money parting out the early SQ A380s than it would have received by selling them at market price. That is the base line to compare to. Can someone find customers for 50 A380 combis, pay for development and certification, pay for the feedstock, new parts and labor to do 50 combi conversions and make more money than just parking them in some obscure European bone yard and parting them out?

Going forward, if there is virtually no operational fleet, the parting option quickly becomes non-existent.

Airbus and related parties could be the ultimate owners of a significant proportion of the A380 fleet. Local high net worth investors were / are highly active in EK A380 financing (and other airlines too). Much of the RR-powered fleet is subject to engine maintenance and ownership contracts, which lessors and operators will need to buy out.

So perhaps a group of owners, interested parties, lessors, financiers and an operator (maybe two), with enough skin in the game to have an interest in low cost developments which delay or reduce write offs.

Never say never.
 
tomcat
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:32 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
tomcat wrote:
Today's articles are probably an indication that Airbus is trying to find ways for their customers to limit the heavy depreciations associated with the early retirement of their A380s. How much of these depreciations could be avoided with a conversion? This is what needs to be assessed to evaluate the viability of a conversion program for the A380.


A carrier's rate of depreciation of A380 assets isn't even among the top three financial questions to be answered.

Certification costs. Certification costs. Op costs, including load/unload labor premiums.


I'm not talking about a regular rate of depreciation but the one-time depreciation of the remaining asset value of a fleet that was meant to keep flying for several years and that will be forced out of service due to the new market conditions. For instance, Lufthansa is taking 1+ billion charge to depreciate its fleet of A380/A346 and I believe that most of this charge pertains to the A380 retirement.

So close to 1 billion depreciation just for LH. Multiply this by the number of A380 that are affected and you get to a substantial amount of equity. Of course this depreciation doesn't affect the cash-flow of the airlines but a conversion program wouldn't affect it immediately either.

The point is not whether an A380-P2Combi or P2F would be the best freighter in town but just what would create the least financial damage to today's A380 owners: letting their A380 fleets go and losing a few billions in asset value today or investing in a conversion program and operate a so-so freighter for quite a few years.

I had missed it when I first read it but the thread starter article is actually stating that:
Airbus, which is part of a joint venture that does modification work, is offering a combination aircraft in an apparent effort to help customers that are stuck with the aircraft.


This is exactly the point I'm trying to make.
 
tomcat
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:52 pm

Revelation wrote:

tomcat wrote:
Today's articles are probably an indication that Airbus is trying to find ways for their customers to limit the heavy depreciations associated with the early retirement of their A380s. How much of these depreciations could be avoided with a conversion? This is what needs to be assessed to evaluate the viability of a conversion program for the A380.

Dr Peters claims it made more money parting out the early SQ A380s than it would have received by selling them at market price. That is the base line to compare to. Can someone find customers for 50 A380 combis, pay for development and certification, pay for the feedstock, new parts and labor to do 50 combi conversions and make more money than just parking them in some obscure European bone yard and parting them out?


Just to clarify the point I was trying to make. The tone of the thread so far was to wonder how desperate Airbus is to come with such proposals. It's actually the other way around: the A380 owners are the ones loosing big money by having to (sometimes significantly) depreciate their A380 assets all of a sudden. Airbus is simply making a proposal to evaluate the opportunity of converting the otherwise worthless fleets of A380.

The tradeoff you depict is not complete:
...make more money than just parking them in some obscure European bone yard and parting them out?
and zeroing their asset value which amounts to several billion of depreciations. Such an amount would more than cover the investment of developing, certifying and actually converting the aircraft. The next question would then be: 'what would be the market value of such a P2Combi or P2F A380?'
 
tomcat
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:04 pm

ScottB wrote:

Revelation wrote:
tomcat wrote:
The combi conversion is really an exotic proposal but the idea of a conversion to a full freighter may not be that crazy. After all, in a recent interview of the A380's chief engineer we got to learn that the main deck height had been set to make it suitable for a cargo conversion after the aircraft would be retired from the pax services. This was supposed to help the aircraft retain some value at that point.

The thread starter article contradicts that by saying FX still was unhappy with the main deck height.


Was the main deck height really set with the intent of a cargo conversion? I expect it was more an artifact of the original plan to offer the A380F.


According to an interview of the 'father of the A380' that we discussed in a previous thread ("The A380 Turns 15 today"), here's what the intent was:

And at this point, I ask myself, to be honest, whether the successors at Airbus that hadn't been involved in this concept phase, whether they really knew that this aircraft was conceived for a long time, for a large family, including a freighter. We accepted penalties for that, we made a main deck that was higher* than regular, we gave ourselves a limit of 1.5% additional operating cost for that - through additional weight, fuel burn - but it had to fit the 8''x8'' containers to allow the development of a freighter. And the freighter was important, not just to offer a cargo aircraft of this size to airlines [at the time] but also to convert old passenger aircraft to freighters. That's a common occurence, to give aircraft a longer lifespan via a freighter conversion. This has an effect on price, often you have to guarantee a residual value at 10, 12, 15 years. Of course it has a higher value if it can [still] be used for something [after this time]. All this was built into the aircraft."


https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1445295&p=22472491&hilit=residual#p22472491
 
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ClipperYankee
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:15 pm

Sorry if I missed it elsewhere in the thread but aren't there many regulatory issues now that makes new combis very unlikely to come to market? Fire suppression, etc? I believe it's not just economics.
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Revelation
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:17 pm

tomcat wrote:
According to an interview of the 'father of the A380' that we discussed in a previous thread ("The A380 Turns 15 today"), here's what the intent was:

And at this point, I ask myself, to be honest, whether the successors at Airbus that hadn't been involved in this concept phase, whether they really knew that this aircraft was conceived for a long time, for a large family, including a freighter. We accepted penalties for that, we made a main deck that was higher* than regular, we gave ourselves a limit of 1.5% additional operating cost for that - through additional weight, fuel burn - but it had to fit the 8''x8'' containers to allow the development of a freighter. And the freighter was important, not just to offer a cargo aircraft of this size to airlines [at the time] but also to convert old passenger aircraft to freighters. That's a common occurence, to give aircraft a longer lifespan via a freighter conversion. This has an effect on price, often you have to guarantee a residual value at 10, 12, 15 years. Of course it has a higher value if it can [still] be used for something [after this time]. All this was built into the aircraft."


https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1445295&p=22472491&hilit=residual#p22472491

From the thread starter's article:

One reason for such a configuration is that the ceiling of the A380’s main deck may not be high enough to fit 10-foot pallets, said Steve Fortune, who heads investment consulting firm Fortune Aviation Services. The floor height of the passenger aircraft was different than what FedEx (NYSE: FDX) needed before Airbus canceled plans in 2007 to build a freighter version over concerns about sales and different engineering requirements.

Fortune, who worked in FedEx management at the time, said he assumes if the deck height was an issue, then it could still be one for an all-cargo airline.

So, apparently Airbus designed the A380 main deck for 8 foot high containers (and took a 1.5% fuel burn hit to do so!) whereas FedEx wanted (needed?) 10 foot.
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tomcat
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:05 pm

Revelation wrote:
tomcat wrote:
According to an interview of the 'father of the A380' that we discussed in a previous thread ("The A380 Turns 15 today"), here's what the intent was:

And at this point, I ask myself, to be honest, whether the successors at Airbus that hadn't been involved in this concept phase, whether they really knew that this aircraft was conceived for a long time, for a large family, including a freighter. We accepted penalties for that, we made a main deck that was higher* than regular, we gave ourselves a limit of 1.5% additional operating cost for that - through additional weight, fuel burn - but it had to fit the 8''x8'' containers to allow the development of a freighter. And the freighter was important, not just to offer a cargo aircraft of this size to airlines [at the time] but also to convert old passenger aircraft to freighters. That's a common occurence, to give aircraft a longer lifespan via a freighter conversion. This has an effect on price, often you have to guarantee a residual value at 10, 12, 15 years. Of course it has a higher value if it can [still] be used for something [after this time]. All this was built into the aircraft."


https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1445295&p=22472491&hilit=residual#p22472491

From the thread starter's article:

One reason for such a configuration is that the ceiling of the A380’s main deck may not be high enough to fit 10-foot pallets, said Steve Fortune, who heads investment consulting firm Fortune Aviation Services. The floor height of the passenger aircraft was different than what FedEx (NYSE: FDX) needed before Airbus canceled plans in 2007 to build a freighter version over concerns about sales and different engineering requirements.

Fortune, who worked in FedEx management at the time, said he assumes if the deck height was an issue, then it could still be one for an all-cargo airline.

So, apparently Airbus designed the A380 main deck for 8 foot high containers (and took a 1.5% fuel burn hit to do so!) whereas FedEx wanted (needed?) 10 foot.


Indeed I doubt that there are 10 feet between the main deck and the lower surface of the upper deck floor. And the extra width of the main deck would be of no use if the pallets cannot be transferred to the main decks of the 747F and of the 777F. This main deck height was obviously a compromise between giving as much height as possible for a freighter application while not compromising too much the efficiency of the pax version. We are maybe having the ultimate confirmation that Airbus shouldn't have made this compromise and should have optimized the design for the pax application. Easy to say this now of course.

Having said that, I'm wondering if an A350F could accommodate 10 ft high pallets :-). This also makes me wonder if one of the design drivers for the 777 fuselage diameter wasn't the ability to accommodate 10 ft high pallets like the 747.
 
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:31 pm

ClipperYankee wrote:
Sorry if I missed it elsewhere in the thread but aren't there many regulatory issues now that makes new combis very unlikely to come to market? Fire suppression, etc? I believe it's not just economics.


There are some, but on the other hand, every normal airliner does carry cargo on the lower deck on a regular basis, so the A380 may have an advantage here: if you don't need to build in a (probably movable) vulnerable bulkhead, but can instead seal off the main deck completely (without the foremost set of doors) in a similar way regular cargo holds are, then there might be a case for the thing that a single deck plane doesn't offer. We need to get rid of the picture of a plane with a "cardboard" wall halfway back in the fuselage, that was our idea of a combi for the last 60 years.

For how many seats is the upper deck certified? About 300 iirc, so about 30 tons of SLF. Gives us some 50 tons for cargo on the main deck. Cargo rates skyrocketed in the past 12 months - if this thing is financially feasible or not is mostly dependent on how cargo rates develop post Covid in my opinion. If the rates go back to pre-Covid levels, then there is no chance. But if there is lack of cargo space for another decade or longer, due to heavily reduced long haul travel (as some experts expect), the beancounting will look way different than it was. It might become... Well, not a game changer, but maybe a viable second half of life solution for some operators.
 
moa999
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:04 am

Question really is who is driving this?

Simple answer is if EK wants it, then it might happen, otherwise no chance.

Airbus has limited skin in the game here, and I suspect most parts are going to come from retired aircraft.

I could see this possibly be appealing to QF who own all 12 aircraft, and have dedicated freighters. And maybe some of the other Asian carriers.

But without EK it doesn't happen
 
ScottB
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:12 am

tomcat wrote:
According to an interview of the 'father of the A380' that we discussed in a previous thread ("The A380 Turns 15 today"), here's what the intent was:

And at this point, I ask myself, to be honest, whether the successors at Airbus that hadn't been involved in this concept phase, whether they really knew that this aircraft was conceived for a long time, for a large family, including a freighter. We accepted penalties for that, we made a main deck that was higher* than regular, we gave ourselves a limit of 1.5% additional operating cost for that - through additional weight, fuel burn - but it had to fit the 8''x8'' containers to allow the development of a freighter. And the freighter was important, not just to offer a cargo aircraft of this size to airlines [at the time] but also to convert old passenger aircraft to freighters. That's a common occurence, to give aircraft a longer lifespan via a freighter conversion. This has an effect on price, often you have to guarantee a residual value at 10, 12, 15 years. Of course it has a higher value if it can [still] be used for something [after this time]. All this was built into the aircraft."


https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1445295&p=22472491&hilit=residual#p22472491


I get that's what was stated in an interview. I mean, if the entire original intent of the A380F program was to enable future P2F conversions -- rather than as a product in itself -- then it makes sense. But otherwise the passenger and freighter programs were going to have to accept compromises made for each other. The decks are structural, so they weren't going to have different heights between the A380P and A380F programs. My point being: it's probably more accurate to say that the main deck height is an artifact of the original plan to offer new-build A380 freighters, rather than a design decision for future P2F conversions.
 
UA735WL
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:50 am

Pretty bad April fool's joke. Would really hate to be on the upper deck of this thing with a cargo fire on the main deck sending heat and smoke up and burning through the floor.
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Antarius
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:05 am

UA735WL wrote:
Pretty bad April fool's joke. Would really hate to be on the upper deck of this thing with a cargo fire on the main deck sending heat and smoke up and burning through the floor.


To be fair, that can happen on any aircraft right now. They carry cargo too.
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WIederling
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:02 am

AirbusCheerlead wrote:
A 77F takes > 100t of freight. A 77W takes pax + 25t of payload (per Swiss fact sheet)
The A380 struggles to compete against the 777. How could a A 380 Combi with perhaps 80t payload compete when squeezed between the 77F and 77W ?
And that's not even considering all the 787, 779, and A350...


A380:
Regular MZFW is 368t
regular OEW is ~376t
lose the stuffing for the lower deck: -10t

+-100t payload ( 20..25t pax for the upper deck and 75..80t cargo for the lower deck and belly.

nothing to sneer at.
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WIederling
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:13 am

ScottB wrote:
The decks are structural, so they weren't going to have different heights between the A380P and A380F programs. My point being: it's probably more accurate to say that the main deck height is an artifact of the original plan to offer new-build A380 freighters, rather than a design decision for future P2F conversions.


The A380 freighter was expected to have the decks in slightly different positions to the PAX liner.
( you'll probably find some X-section drawings around.
hmm, freighter: https://line.17qq.com/articles/gghmhgcov.html )
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wjcandee
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:39 am

Nobody has mentioned how much the FAA dislikes combis, for safety reasons.
 
Noshow
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:52 am

The A380 freighter was expected to have the decks in slightly different positions to the PAX liner.


First time I hear this claim. That wouldn't make much sense as the loadpaths and structure would change it to a separate airplane. Boeing even more costly.
What they would have changed were the floorbeams and the sidewalls. The F-wing would have been the planned wing of the -800R, -900 with some different "better" high lift system.
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:17 am

Is this a proposed P2F conversion of existing frames, it appears the line has already stopped for new builds.

Which airlines would be the expected customers? EK? If 50 planned at $ 10M per conversion for design & certification that's only $ 500M. Is that sufficient to cover certification of such a P2F? There were only 61 new build 744 combi's with nearly all converted to either pax or freight only or out of service.
 
m66
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:22 am

wjcandee wrote:
Nobody has mentioned how much the FAA dislikes combis, for safety reasons.


And that is probably the most relevant reason - fire/smoke protection must be massive. Even the 747-400 didn't made it to a combi version because of that.
 
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Polot
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Re: Exclusive- Airbus floating concept for A380 combi

Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:44 am

m66 wrote:
wjcandee wrote:
Nobody has mentioned how much the FAA dislikes combis, for safety reasons.


And that is probably the most relevant reason - fire/smoke protection must be massive. Even the 747-400 didn't made it to a combi version because of that.

Yes it did, KLM being the most notable 744 Combi operator.

In addition to new regulatory requirements, combis just fell out of favor with airlines. Modern wide bodies have so much more cargo space than first gen wide bodies (look up the underfloor capacity of the DC-10/L-1011/747-it’s laughably low by modern standards considering sizes) so they became unnecessary.

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