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Revelation
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Wed Nov 03, 2021 4:20 pm

Noshow wrote:
It just came too early for some technologies, it took too long to define and it was planned with too much fast growth in mind weakening the first version's performance.

With hub airlines still a reality and with big cities and passenger population growing I wonder who will try the next big aircraft?

I can't think of any technology that could have saved the A380 as it was initially defined.

Even a generation newer engines, ala A380neo, did not save it.

In theory UltraFan may have made a difference, but as we now see that is STILL years away from now.
 
Noshow
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Wed Nov 03, 2021 4:34 pm

Full CFRP, flexible but more standardized cabin like A350, A350 engine generation for starters.
However I am not sure about the double decker concept in general anymore leaving not enough space for cargo. Maybe they should have made the main deck a convertible to cargo deck as a standard option?
 
DfwRevolution
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Wed Nov 03, 2021 5:08 pm

SteelChair wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Speedy752 wrote:
I always find these executive comments to be interesting. The execs at the time were able to get the A330neo to become the a350 because they didn’t like it’s competitiveness, but they were powerless to stop the a380s from launching with deficiencies? It always feels like blame shifting rather than just saying “the direction we thought the market would take didn’t pan out”

True, yet looking back at post #15:

We all have misjudged the future of the twins, and that led to the efficiency problem of the A380,” (former Airbus CEO Tom) Enders says. “I only admit this reluctantly, but Boeing has largely been right with its point-to-point argument.” He is referencing the idea that passengers, when having the choice, prefer nonstop flights over hub connections. Both Leahy and Clark disagree with the idea that the hub concept has weakened. “I don’t share the view that the days of the superhub are over at all,” Clark says.

I've always appreciated Enders's frank statements, also former COO Tom Williams was very forthright. People like Leahy, Clark, AAB: not so much.


But even when admitting that they were wrong and Boeing was right, he couches his confession within the infernally fallacious point to point statement. That entire argument is wrong. I would wager that most twins serve hubs on most days, though I don't have data.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words though, someone can probably find the picture of a gaggle of Delta A330s nuzzled up to the terminal in AMS. They're all headed to......hubs: JFK, ATL, DTW, MSP. AMS-DTW on Delta alone is a case study for why the A380 failed. In the summer, pre-covid Delta ran 4x/day AMS-DTW. They could have easily bought A380s and run 2x/day, but they didn't. Customers want frequency.....and the airlines (the real airlines anyway) seek to provide that frequency even if it eats up other resources like pilots, gates, landing slots etc etc. And by running the smaller plane, they can redeploy that asset to other markets at other times of the year. You can't cut an A380 in two. The A380 only makes sense to airplane makers.....airlines have a different set of priorities. The US3 figured that out as they watched PAA and TWA fail with their 747s. Some worldwide carriers still haven't broken the code.

Even when the twins aren't serving hub to hub, they normally serve a hub on one end. You see IND-CDG for example, not IND-NCE or IND-DUS.


“Hub-to-point” versus “point-to-point” is just arguing semantics.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Wed Nov 03, 2021 7:36 pm

DfwRevolution wrote:
SteelChair wrote:
Revelation wrote:
True, yet looking back at post #15:


I've always appreciated Enders's frank statements, also former COO Tom Williams was very forthright. People like Leahy, Clark, AAB: not so much.


But even when admitting that they were wrong and Boeing was right, he couches his confession within the infernally fallacious point to point statement. That entire argument is wrong. I would wager that most twins serve hubs on most days, though I don't have data.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words though, someone can probably find the picture of a gaggle of Delta A330s nuzzled up to the terminal in AMS. They're all headed to......hubs: JFK, ATL, DTW, MSP. AMS-DTW on Delta alone is a case study for why the A380 failed. In the summer, pre-covid Delta ran 4x/day AMS-DTW. They could have easily bought A380s and run 2x/day, but they didn't. Customers want frequency.....and the airlines (the real airlines anyway) seek to provide that frequency even if it eats up other resources like pilots, gates, landing slots etc etc. And by running the smaller plane, they can redeploy that asset to other markets at other times of the year. You can't cut an A380 in two. The A380 only makes sense to airplane makers.....airlines have a different set of priorities. The US3 figured that out as they watched PAA and TWA fail with their 747s. Some worldwide carriers still haven't broken the code.

Even when the twins aren't serving hub to hub, they normally serve a hub on one end. You see IND-CDG for example, not IND-NCE or IND-DUS.


“Hub-to-point” versus “point-to-point” is just arguing semantics.


Imho the whole argument is specious. Yet it is quoted ad infinitum.
 
CFRPwingALbody
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Wed Nov 03, 2021 8:47 pm

Years back I heard at an university that when the A380 material strategy would have been applied on the A350 or 787 programs, these planes would have been several metric tons lighter. Reversely the A380 would have been several tons heavier. They stated the A380 material selection strategy would be beter for future clean sheet projects. Hence my user name.
Composite technology has been advanced for more than 20years since the A380 program, so it's not current CFRP tech isn't comparable with the tech they had then.
I think the A380's being scraped suffered from the Catia non-backward compatibility that caused the wiring issue. Another reason the A380 isn't liked is because Airbus implemented new alloys into the A380 that weren't ready to enter market, they behave differently than expected. This is causing the requirement for lots of inspections for material defects all over the A380, but mostly inside the wings. Thus A380 maintenance is expansive for at least half of the fleet.
The fact engine EOM's were working on newer engines that weren't offered for the A380. The decision from Airbus to size the wing for a heavier stretched A380-900 and A380F version. And with airlines using low cabin density layouts on the A380's because they can't fill the huge A380. All lead to the image of the A380 being inefficient. With higher emphasis on fuel consumption and the market transitioning to more point to point travel. All these factors and on top of this the market crash caused by covid-19 lead to the A380 being not successful.
The A380 reengining didn't work because the wings also needed to be redesigned and that market case didn't work.

The A380 just had a lot of headwind. It turned out all carts were stacked against it. Airbus learnt a lot from it, the company was restructured because of it. And while the A380 as aircraft wasn't very successful. It was crucial in the formation of how Airbus operates today.

The A380 is an aircraft for very busy and long range routes. It can be used to route as many as possible passengers trough an airport with limited flight rate. I expect Emirates, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, and ANA will utilize their A380 for a long time.
I hope after the market recovers from covid-19 the fleet stabilizes at a size of around 100 for the next 15years.
I think; high investments for heavy modifications are required for more A380's to remain in operation.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 04, 2021 12:29 am

Sq106 today 03/11 operating on 9v-SKU.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 04, 2021 10:50 am

Noshow wrote:
It just came too early for some technologies, it took too long to define and it was planned with too much fast growth in mind weakening the first version's performance.

With hub airlines still a reality and with big cities and passenger population growing I wonder who will try the next big aircraft?

While it is true that there are large cities with slot restricted airports where logic would indicate that VLAs are the best solution to moving people between them, the reality is that there are not enough of them to justify the enormous expense of designing, building, and flying a VLA. These routes compromise a very small portion of most airlines’ routes, but would consume a disproportionate amount of their plane purchasing budget were they to buy VLAs. As planes are getting ever more efficient it gets harder and harder to justify large planes. Just look at the current widebody market. There are three very efficient models available, with increasing efficiency as they get larger. And which is selling the best? The smallest of the bunch, the 787. The A350 has two sizes, with the larger one significantly more efficient than the smaller. And it is selling like month old flapjacks. The largest and most efficient of the bunch (we are told) is still in testing, so we are not totally sure it will live up to its hype, but since the initial flurry of orders has attracted almost no interest. So why would either Boeing or Airbus even think of spending tens of billions to develop another VLA that will only appeal to a very small number of airlines for only a few routes? It just makes no economic sense. I predict that the 779 (assuming it does actually enter service) will be the largest airliner for a very, very long time.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 04, 2021 2:24 pm

CFRPwingALbody wrote:
The A380 just had a lot of headwind. It turned out all carts were stacked against it. Airbus learnt a lot from it, the company was restructured because of it. And while the A380 as aircraft wasn't very successful. It was crucial in the formation of how Airbus operates today.


I disagree with some of your detail, but in general yes - this is what I was saying earlier in the thread. The aircraft had way more potential than it's poor stumble out of the starting blocks implied. In fact, with all the bad luck it had it's done quite well, considering...

@Revelation, it's true that it "never occured to us" that it was simply too big because it *wasn't* simply too big if development/manufacture had gone to plan instead of being crippled on several occasions. Even financially - break even at 247 aircraft (IIRC) would easily have been achieved but for all the SNAFUs. And smooth entry into service would have meant the freighter, the -900 with much better economics, re-engining, weight loss etc. etc.

People like to forget that the 777ER came after the A380, and hadn't proven itself at the time, so at EIS the A380 was expected to be the best plane for airlines as well as passengers.
 
BB78710
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 04, 2021 2:54 pm

SomebodyInTLS wrote:
\
People like to forget that the 777ER came after the A380, and hadn't proven itself at the time, so at EIS the A380 was expected to be the best plane for airlines as well as passengers.


Are you saying the 77Ws success and popularity with airlines around the world which really took off between 2007-2017 was a direct result of the fact the A380 hadn't yet proven itself? The first A380 wasn't delivered to Singapore until October 2007 by that time the 77W had already been in service for nearly 2 years perhaps more. I don't see the correlation between the success of the 77W and the relative low sales of the A380.

The A380 was expected to be a great aircraft for passengers, and there was a lot of excitement coming from passengers hoping their favorite airline would order a few, but I don't remember there being a lot of interest from many of the worlds top major airlines prior to the original EIS.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 04, 2021 3:20 pm

SomebodyInTLS wrote:
@Revelation, it's true that it "never occured to us" that it was simply too big because it *wasn't* simply too big if development/manufacture had gone to plan instead of being crippled on several occasions. Even financially - break even at 247 aircraft (IIRC) would easily have been achieved but for all the SNAFUs. And smooth entry into service would have meant the freighter, the -900 with much better economics, re-engining, weight loss etc. etc.

I value your input, but I don't think that's true.

We now have Nico Buchholz (sp?) from LH saying that when LH put A380 into service it did provide lower CASM but it also lowered yield to a similar degree, so the aircraft really was too big. That meant there always going to be a market void for a big twin to come along and fill, be it 77W, A350, or some other big twin design. The -900 would not have won new business, IMO. Its size would have depressed yields even further. Its development probably would only add red ink.

The implementation issues are orthogonal to the size issue, IMO. A perfect path to EIS does not fix the size issue. It may have made Airbus feel better internally because the books were cleaner, but it doesn't fix any of the issues the airlines were experiencing.

Some manufacturing/design issues were fixable with perfect hindsight, such as somehow getting everyone in Airbus to get onto the same CATIA version even if this meant a lot of expense and a lot of political in-fighting, and streamlining the process for all that custom wiring, or simply not allowing as much customization. I don't know how one attains perfect hindsight though. Other issues were more fundamental, such as the use of more expensive materials or less proven alloys because the originally chosen ones did not scale up as well as needed. It seems it always was going to be an expensive and high maintenance aircraft because it needed to push the boundaries to work.

I think it's clear we were never going to see 800+ seat A380s being produced at 4 per month as the early Airbus product developers projected, the market forces were never going to produce that outcome.
Last edited by Revelation on Thu Nov 04, 2021 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 04, 2021 3:32 pm

BB78710 wrote:
SomebodyInTLS wrote:
\
People like to forget that the 777ER came after the A380, and hadn't proven itself at the time, so at EIS the A380 was expected to be the best plane for airlines as well as passengers.


Are you saying the 77Ws success and popularity with airlines around the world which really took off between 2007-2017 was a direct result of the fact the A380 hadn't yet proven itself? The first A380 wasn't delivered to Singapore until October 2007 by that time the 77W had already been in service for nearly 2 years perhaps more. I don't see the correlation between the success of the 77W and the relative low sales of the A380.

The A380 was expected to be a great aircraft for passengers, and there was a lot of excitement coming from passengers hoping their favorite airline would order a few, but I don't remember there being a lot of interest from many of the worlds top major airlines prior to the original EIS.


The 77W's performance was not anticipated during A380 development. The 77W/77L program was immensely smoother and easier development than the A380, so the EIS date happened much sooner, as you mention (77W arrived before A380). By the time A380 arrived, 77W had already changed the world.

There was a very tight connection between the success of the 77W and the difficulty of selling A380. A380 would have sold far better in a world without the 77W.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 04, 2021 3:50 pm

LCDFlight wrote:
The 77W's performance was not anticipated during A380 development. The 77W/77L program was immensely smoother and easier development than the A380, so the EIS date happened much sooner, as you mention (77W arrived before A380). By the time A380 arrived, 77W had already changed the world.

There was a very tight connection between the success of the 77W and the difficulty of selling A380. A380 would have sold far better in a world without the 77W.

From what I can tell from reading various slide decks and media statements from the time, I think internally AIrbus did not view the 777 family as any sort of competitor to the A380. They were looking at a world where 525 seats in 3 classes was the entry point, 650 seats in three classes was the next planned model, and 800 seats was the most probable next growth iteration. We already have the late 90s quote from Jurgen Thomas talking about 800 seats. IMO that's where their mindset was.

It seems they felt they had any future development of the 777 family contained via the A340-500/600 and future optimizations of the A330/A340 family. In this world view, 77W really impacted the A340, not the A380. They only moved to an Xtra Wide Body after it became clear A340-500/600 was a failure. They kept pushing the A380. The A380 IMO failed simply because it was too big.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 04, 2021 3:52 pm

The A380-800 is already certified for 853 passengers. This exit limit got practically tested.
Last edited by Noshow on Thu Nov 04, 2021 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 04, 2021 3:55 pm

Noshow wrote:
The A380-800 is already certified for 853 passengers. This exit limit got practically tested.

RIght, but that was all single class seating, obviously with tight seating. I presume they went for that number just to test the exit configuration once and get it over with for all future planned models.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 04, 2021 4:25 pm

Industrialist Jean Pierson, the "Bear of the Pyrenees" who propelled planemaker Airbus onto the global jet market and began its transformation from a loose consortium into a European giant, has died, former colleagues said on Thursday.

He strongly backed the A380 superjumbo, which flopped in the market and is about to see its last delivery after just 14 years. But he accurately predicted that the A400M military plane would cause trouble for the then civil manufacturer.

https://money.usnews.com/investing/news ... colleagues
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 04, 2021 4:34 pm

Revelation wrote:
LCDFlight wrote:
The 77W's performance was not anticipated during A380 development. The 77W/77L program was immensely smoother and easier development than the A380, so the EIS date happened much sooner, as you mention (77W arrived before A380). By the time A380 arrived, 77W had already changed the world.

There was a very tight connection between the success of the 77W and the difficulty of selling A380. A380 would have sold far better in a world without the 77W.

From what I can tell from reading various slide decks and media statements from the time, I think internally AIrbus did not view the 777 family as any sort of competitor to the A380. They were looking at a world where 525 seats in 3 classes was the entry point, 650 seats in three classes was the next planned model, and 800 seats was the most probable next growth iteration. We already have the late 90s quote from Jurgen Thomas talking about 800 seats. IMO that's where their mindset was.

It seems they felt they had any future development of the 777 family contained via the A340-500/600 and future optimizations of the A330/A340 family. In this world view, 77W really impacted the A340, not the A380. They only moved to an Xtra Wide Body after it became clear A340-500/600 was a failure. They kept pushing the A380. The A380 IMO failed simply because it was too big.


I think we are looking at two sides of the same coin here. Yes, A380 was too big. But Airbus was dead wrong that a 77W was not a viable competitor to A380. Emirates seated 420 on their 77W, which IMO is a VLA payload. And the Boeing’s range was more or less equal to A380. You are absolutely right that Airbus did everything they could to avoid facing the idea that the A380’s main competitor was the 77W. But it was an inescapable reality, IMO. They really tried everything under the Sun to set the A380 apart and avoid the stark comparison.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 04, 2021 4:43 pm

LCDFlight wrote:
Revelation wrote:
LCDFlight wrote:
The 77W's performance was not anticipated during A380 development. The 77W/77L program was immensely smoother and easier development than the A380, so the EIS date happened much sooner, as you mention (77W arrived before A380). By the time A380 arrived, 77W had already changed the world.

There was a very tight connection between the success of the 77W and the difficulty of selling A380. A380 would have sold far better in a world without the 77W.

From what I can tell from reading various slide decks and media statements from the time, I think internally AIrbus did not view the 777 family as any sort of competitor to the A380. They were looking at a world where 525 seats in 3 classes was the entry point, 650 seats in three classes was the next planned model, and 800 seats was the most probable next growth iteration. We already have the late 90s quote from Jurgen Thomas talking about 800 seats. IMO that's where their mindset was.

It seems they felt they had any future development of the 777 family contained via the A340-500/600 and future optimizations of the A330/A340 family. In this world view, 77W really impacted the A340, not the A380. They only moved to an Xtra Wide Body after it became clear A340-500/600 was a failure. They kept pushing the A380. The A380 IMO failed simply because it was too big.


I think we are looking at two sides of the same coin here. Yes, A380 was too big. But Airbus was dead wrong that a 77W was not a viable competitor to A380. Emirates seated 420 on their 77W, which IMO is a VLA payload. And the Boeing’s range was more or less equal to A380. You are absolutely right that Airbus did everything they could to avoid facing the idea that the A380’s main competitor was the 77W. But it was an inescapable reality. IMO

If you view the 77W as a competitor, then the A340-600 would also be a competitor so then what is the point of the A380?

The A380 is a size up above the 77W/A346, but Airbus was wrong in how interested airlines were in that size class if the smaller size class had an entry with similar per seat economics. Which just ultimately means the A380 was too big.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 04, 2021 5:19 pm

LCDFlight wrote:
I think we are looking at two sides of the same coin here. Yes, A380 was too big. But Airbus was dead wrong that a 77W was not a viable competitor to A380. Emirates seated 420 on their 77W, which IMO is a VLA payload. And the Boeing’s range was more or less equal to A380. You are absolutely right that Airbus did everything they could to avoid facing the idea that the A380’s main competitor was the 77W. But it was an inescapable reality, IMO. They really tried everything under the Sun to set the A380 apart and avoid the stark comparison.

All true, but I'm trying to get a grip on what the thought process of the late 90s / early 00s as the A380 was being defined and put onto the market. 77W came later, and in particular its performance characteristics weren't known till late in its development.

Doing an apples-to-apples comparison, A380 is at least an A319's worth of pax bigger than a 773 whose size was known at the time, and that was the A380's entry level model. They thought 650 was center of market with 800 as stretch. Airbus was IMO aiming the A380 at a different market, and thought it had the technology to make it a best-of-breed solution. Clearly we agree they didn't see the 77W's potential, but they also misjudged A380's potential even before 77W became a factor.

It's interesting to consider that the A380's biggest customer is also the 77W's biggest customer, and many other A380 operators also have 77W in their fleet. It suggests to me that they do serve different markets, and in the end given how A380 is fading away the A380 market was over-estimated.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 04, 2021 7:10 pm

Revelation wrote:
LCDFlight wrote:
I think we are looking at two sides of the same coin here. Yes, A380 was too big. But Airbus was dead wrong that a 77W was not a viable competitor to A380. Emirates seated 420 on their 77W, which IMO is a VLA payload. And the Boeing’s range was more or less equal to A380. You are absolutely right that Airbus did everything they could to avoid facing the idea that the A380’s main competitor was the 77W. But it was an inescapable reality, IMO. They really tried everything under the Sun to set the A380 apart and avoid the stark comparison.

All true, but I'm trying to get a grip on what the thought process of the late 90s / early 00s as the A380 was being defined and put onto the market. 77W came later, and in particular its performance characteristics weren't known till late in its development.

Doing an apples-to-apples comparison, A380 is at least an A319's worth of pax bigger than a 773 whose size was known at the time, and that was the A380's entry level model. They thought 650 was center of market with 800 as stretch. Airbus was IMO aiming the A380 at a different market, and thought it had the technology to make it a best-of-breed solution. Clearly we agree they didn't see the 77W's potential, but they also misjudged A380's potential even before 77W became a factor.

It's interesting to consider that the A380's biggest customer is also the 77W's biggest customer, and many other A380 operators also have 77W in their fleet. It suggests to me that they do serve different markets, and in the end given how A380 is fading away the A380 market was over-estimated.


Airbus’ idea that 650 was some sort of “center of market” didn’t come from the legitimate airline executives. A big airplane is a source of anxiety to airline execs. The fuel appetite is unrelenting and the tanks must be filled daily. The ownership payment is unrelenting. It was an Airbus pipe dream and to some extent an airline exec nightmare. You point out that it had a shred of truth given that airlines like EK had large fleets of both. Ok, that is true. The airlines did try. My sense is they all regretted it except EK. The big twins won..
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 04, 2021 8:05 pm

LCDFlight wrote:
Airbus’ idea that 650 was some sort of “center of market” didn’t come from the legitimate airline executives. A big airplane is a source of anxiety to airline execs. The fuel appetite is unrelenting and the tanks must be filled daily. The ownership payment is unrelenting. It was an Airbus pipe dream and to some extent an airline exec nightmare. You point out that it had a shred of truth given that airlines like EK had large fleets of both. Ok, that is true. The airlines did try. My sense is they all regretted it except EK. The big twins won..

i agree, that seems to be the case. Note in #163 and onward I'm mostly focusing on how Airbus internally decided these were the design points. I've read more than one source saying the design points were generated when Engineering became fascinated with doing a VLA, and they sold the concept directly to the CEO, and once he fell in love with it, the concept more or less went unchallenged. It seems they fell in love with the idea of doing the world's largest airplane and taking the 747 out of the market, and it seems all objectivity left the process.
 
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SomebodyInTLS
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Fri Nov 05, 2021 12:16 am

BB78710 wrote:
SomebodyInTLS wrote:
\
People like to forget that the 777ER came after the A380, and hadn't proven itself at the time, so at EIS the A380 was expected to be the best plane for airlines as well as passengers.


Are you saying the 77Ws success and popularity with airlines around the world which really took off between 2007-2017 was a direct result of the fact the A380 hadn't yet proven itself?


Not at all. I meant all those people who bang on now about how much more efficient big twins are ignore the fact that the A380 was going to be more efficient than any twins that existed during its development - and that the 77W exceeded even Boeing's expectations.


The first A380 wasn't delivered to Singapore until October 2007 by that time the 77W had already been in service for nearly 2 years perhaps more. I


Maybe I should have phrased it slightly differently - I meant:

"during its development, the A380 was expected to be the best plane upon EIS for airlines as well as passengers"...
remembering also that EIS was originally scheduled for 2005-6
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Fri Nov 05, 2021 11:51 pm

Noshow wrote:
Full CFRP, flexible but more standardized cabin like A350, A350 engine generation for starters.
However I am not sure about the double decker concept in general anymore leaving not enough space for cargo. Maybe they should have made the main deck a convertible to cargo deck as a standard option?


Instead of a double decked A380, the A350 should have been built as a 10 abreast single decked aircraft instead of 9 abreast.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Sat Nov 06, 2021 8:17 am

Airbus has no GE9X access
- yet (?).
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Sat Nov 06, 2021 10:40 am

Polot wrote:
The A380 is a size up above the 77W/A346, but Airbus was wrong in how interested airlines were in that size class if the smaller size class had an entry with similar per seat economics.


If you put the A380 seats on your regular 77W it will not be similar at all. What Airbus had it wrong was that they launched the A380 when JET-A1 was still quite cheap and before the meteoric rise of fossil fuel prices before the 2008 crash which in turn made airlines put torturous 10-abreast seating on almost all 77W's to make it's per seat economics better. Then Airbus had a big plane with absolutely superior passenger comfort that airlines could not transfer to enough premium pricing power over the competing 77W flight. Ironically now Airbus has the same weapon available to them in the form of awful 10-abreast A350 should the price of kerosene shoot through the roof once again. Such a plane will make even the 777X look like a gas guzzler.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Sat Nov 06, 2021 4:21 pm

Strato2 wrote:
Polot wrote:
The A380 is a size up above the 77W/A346, but Airbus was wrong in how interested airlines were in that size class if the smaller size class had an entry with similar per seat economics.


If you put the A380 seats on your regular 77W it will not be similar at all. What Airbus had it wrong was that they launched the A380 when JET-A1 was still quite cheap and before the meteoric rise of fossil fuel prices before the 2008 crash which in turn made airlines put torturous 10-abreast seating on almost all 77W's to make it's per seat economics better. Then Airbus had a big plane with absolutely superior passenger comfort that airlines could not transfer to enough premium pricing power over the competing 77W flight. Ironically now Airbus has the same weapon available to them in the form of awful 10-abreast A350 should the price of kerosene shoot through the roof once again. Such a plane will make even the 777X look like a gas guzzler.

They could pack more in if the market would support it, but it does not. Airbus offered "A380 plus" with more efficient use of space, including smaller staircases and even 11-across seating in Y. No one took it, because the plane already was too big. Adding more seats would just dilute yield.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Sat Nov 06, 2021 11:43 pm

qantas330 wrote:
Sq106 today 03/11 operating on 9v-SKU.
. 9v-skv the next day
 
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Taxi645
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Sun Nov 07, 2021 10:50 am

1 Optimized A380-800 economic analyses:

Well I gave it a shot with Piano-X. Below is a reworked table.


Weight assumptions:

Tail: -3.2T
MLG: -3T
Wing: -8.5T (-15% wing area).
Engines: -4.5T

Wingbox: nil (by far the most weight saving is in the wing (wing, engines, fuel, so there is not much bending relief).
Total OEW: -19.2T (I rounded it up to 20T, I reckon 800kg saving in fuel and hydraulics systems is reasonable).

Weight per passenger and luggage: 105kg

Other assumptions: engines tech level kept the same. No SFC change was used in this calculation for the initial model, so no “they gave us outdated engines” bullshit has gone into the equation.

Caveats:
1 I did not account for the expensive weight saving measures Airbus took to get the 800 lighter. I don’t know how much weight was saved and how much it cost, so left it as is. That means that in reality an optimized 800 would’ve realistically have been a bit heavier than the calculated values here, but also significantly cheaper. So the expensive real life weight savings are also in this model. Obviously it would’ve been slightly cheaper anyway, as it’s 20T lighter, so material cost will be lower.

2 MLW and MZFW are estimates and are important to determine a realistic payload. If these estimates are too low, then the plane needs to get heavier to carry the required payload. Expert review of the used values is very welcome, to improve the fidelity of the model. Overall I think the fuel saving could potentially reduce to a minimum of around 15% compared to the 19% calculated in the model.

Induced and parasitic drag factors used in the piano-x model are listed below the table.
The 569T MTOW variant of the original A380 is used, because that's what available in Piano-X.


Original A380-800 vs. a more optimized 500T design and follow on models:
Image



2 CASM improvement sufficient to have an impact on A380 sales and the overall market?


To come back to the question asked in post#89

Could a competitive A380, with viable next generations have been built with that generation engines within a 80m box?

To answer that question two main sub questions have to be asked:
1 At what CASM does the revenue potential of such an A380 start to outweigh the yield dilution and frequency drawback vs. a smaller twin?
2 What CASM could’ve been achievable for the A380 given the 80m span limitation and that (engine) generation technology?


So to first answer the second question. Based on the Piano-X calculation the fuel saving could’ve been as much as 19% accompanied with the a CASM reduction of 10%. To then follow on with the first question, I think this CASM reduction would be significant enough to more effectively offset the yield and frequency disadvantage of the A380. Lower cost per seat, means more profit per seat and more seats profitably filled. Making more follow on sales and a broader customer base more likely.

This would most likely also have meant there would have been a business case for a NEO model. The A380 was not competitive enough compared to the 77W. Logically the A380NEO design studies Airbus did proved that an A380NEO based on an unoptimized 800 was also not going to be competitive against a 777x or A350 either. Now having optimized 800, with a 10% CASM reduction, means that the airplane to base a possible NEO on would’ve been much more competitive by itself. So the business case for a stretched NEO model would significantly improve as well. The Piano-X seems to indicate this as well with a calculated 18-21% CASM improvement over the original A380-800.


I feel in the more recent posts in this thread the difference between the market success of the real life A380-800 and the potential success of an more optimized 800, has again started to blur again. Using the lack of success of the A380 as is, as an argument to state that VLA can't be viable against the twins. The above analyses tries to bring back more nuance to that discussion. Based on the above calculation I reckon a oversee-ably sized, yet profitable niche for a well executed double decker and follow on models was there, had it been better optimized for the size on offer instead of for the rather bizarre market projections Airbus had at the time.

Any expert feedback on the numbers used in the calculation are very welcome to rerun the calculation and add credibility and usefulness to the analyses.
 
3AWM
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Sun Nov 07, 2021 5:58 pm

Increasing the seating capacity will improve the CASM but it won't improve the profitability unless those seats are sold at a commercially viable price. The more seats you put on it the fewer missions are available that will see it full and the more niche it becomes.

Meanwhile there are routes that could sell more seats than a 747 but not enough for a viable load on the A380.

If you operate from a slot restricted airport with a lot of premium demand being able to sell an few more seats without hurting yield trumps getting the best absolute CASM due to the profit you would make on those seats. The A380 has overshot this market by being too big.
 
2175301
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Sun Nov 07, 2021 7:44 pm

3AWM wrote:
Increasing the seating capacity will improve the CASM but it won't improve the profitability unless those seats are sold at a commercially viable price. The more seats you put on it the fewer missions are available that will see it full and the more niche it becomes.

Meanwhile there are routes that could sell more seats than a 747 but not enough for a viable load on the A380.

If you operate from a slot restricted airport with a lot of premium demand being able to sell an few more seats without hurting yield trumps getting the best absolute CASM due to the profit you would make on those seats. The A380 has overshot this market by being too big.


And this is the base argument I made 14-15 years ago when I joined A-Net. There were too few Airport & Route combinations where the A380 could be used to make it a viable project. I think I may have estimated the overall A380 market in the range of several hundred aircraft where it could realistically be used.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Mon Nov 08, 2021 1:51 am

Meanwhile, STC tells us that other airlines are "nuts" to not bring back A380s.

Guess that's what you have to say with 120 A380s in the fleet and 95 still on the ground.

Ref: https://www.airlineratings.com/news/air ... tes-chief/
 
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SEPilot
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Mon Nov 08, 2021 1:24 pm

Remember that the 747 succeeded because not only did it offer substantially better CASM than anything else at the time but also offered substantially greater range than anything else. In fact, Boeing says that more customers bought it for its range than for its size. The A380 only offered better CASM, but not by a big enough margin, especially once the 77W came into service. So in the end the A380 only worked for one customer who had a special situation. EK had a geographically unique location that gave it an almost unlimited supply of potential passengers for long haul flights, but they all had to go through an airport with limited capacity. That meant that the larger the plane they could get the more passengers they could carry, and yield dilution was much less of a problem than it was for most airlines. But the COVID crisis may have dealt a big blow to that, as well as the fact that the appearance of the 787 and A350 have changed the economics of vey long routes and may make Dubai’s geographical location less of an advantage by enabling more direct flights.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Wed Nov 10, 2021 10:03 pm

The "premature end" is getting nearer...

Dirk Grothe | Aviation Photography @digro65

the last one ever...
@emirates #A380 A6-EVS msn 272 did the engine runs, taxi test and compass-swing today at Airbus Hamburg... the last A380 delivery is scheduled for December 10th from Hamburg...

Ref: https://twitter.com/digro65/status/1458497949319712771
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Wed Nov 10, 2021 10:33 pm

Emirates is operating some of their giant fleet of A380's. British Airways, Singapore Airlines and Qantas are taking some A380's back into operation in early 2022. So indeed the production ended much earlier than anticipated at project launch, but I think end of A380 usage lies decades into the future.
 
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Taxi645
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:26 pm

Article on Leehamsnews about the A380 and it's approaching production end:

https://leehamnews.com/2021/11/18/the-e ... more-37857

Summary

Competing visions to meet future air travel growth;
A relatively smooth development and entry into service;
Ongoing struggles to accumulate new orders;
Future operational prospects;
Where the Superjumbo works and does not.
 
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Polot
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 18, 2021 1:01 pm

Taxi645 wrote:
A relatively smooth development and entry into service;

Lol what? Development was hardly smooth at all. Are we just pretending it’s smooth now because the 787 and C series development was worst?
 
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Taxi645
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 18, 2021 3:23 pm

Polot wrote:
Taxi645 wrote:
A relatively smooth development and entry into service;

Lol what? Development was hardly smooth at all. Are we just pretending it’s smooth now because the 787 and C series development was worst?


Yes, that is a bit of a surpising entry on their summary list. I can't access the article so can't check their reasoning in the article itself.
 
blooc350
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 18, 2021 3:57 pm

Singapore Airlines is re-launching the A380 today from LHR-SIN.
 
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 18, 2021 4:12 pm

Taxi645 wrote:
Article on Leehamsnews about the A380 and it's approaching production end:

https://leehamnews.com/2021/11/18/the-e ... more-37857

Summary

Competing visions to meet future air travel growth;
A relatively smooth development and entry into service;
Ongoing struggles to accumulate new orders;
Future operational prospects;
Where the Superjumbo works and does not.

The first point is where they really got it wrong. They had a clean sheet opportunity, they aimed it at 525 seats, with growth built in for 650 and eventually even 800 seats, they aimed wrong. Since a clean sheet opportunity only comes with a massive investment, they got it massively wrong.

The second point is false, it was not a relatively smooth R&D/EIS. The wiring snafu had them pulling people from Airbus plants all over the world to camp out in TLS and hand-patch wiring bundles. It resulted in an Airbus CEO getting fired.

Ongoing struggles were really because while the plane had a leading edge CASM value at EIS, it still wasn't good enough to make up for dilution of yield as you sold more tickets, and as planes came into service with a generation newer engines, the problem got worse.

Future operational prospects are basically a slow death. Many have been retired to never return, others will be worked till they are totally economically unviable.

The Superjumbo does work on a few city pairs with de-facto or actual slot controls, bilateral limitations and noise curfews, where you can charge prices that make up for yield dilution. It may actually get cheaper to service in the near term as more A380s end up as parts donors at the bone yard, yet its fuel burn will not be improving. Eventually it will end up like all aging aircraft, economically unviable. I think that will happen faster than STC is predicting.

Maybe VV will make an appearance and defend the article, maybe not...
 
BrianDromey
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 18, 2021 4:38 pm

Polot wrote:
Taxi645 wrote:
A relatively smooth development and entry into service;

Lol what? Development was hardly smooth at all. Are we just pretending it’s smooth now because the 787 and C series development was worst?


Indeed. The development exposed enormous fissures right to the heart of Airbus as an organisation. Political in-fighting, empire building and poor communication across teams in several countries. The repetitional and financial costs were enormous. Airbus does seem to have recovered very well from a very difficult period and now ha the objectivity to kill the A380 off. "Old" Airbus might have NEO ± stretched it and I think EK would have bought it. Other than DXB the A380 appears to work from London and Singapore because there is enough demand in premium cabins to utilise the floorspace in a way that the 777 or A350 can't. Look at the size of the Economy cabin on the 77W at BA, just 132Y seats. You can't realistically develop and build an aircraft for DXB and LHR and even on routes like LHR-JFK BA deploys their 787s and 777s rather than A380s.
 
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JerseyFlyer
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:29 pm

I suggest Airbus seduced itself into thinking that the CASM margin conferred by sheer size would not be undermined by newer technology for many years. They should have had much better knowledge of the technology development pipeline in their industry.

The design issues, redundant structure for a stretch, restricted wing size, led to the CASM margin being less than it could have been. The production issues and delays allowed newer technology into the market earlier in the 380's delivery cycle ramp up than anticipated.

Thus the CASM advantage was whittled away, and finally killed by the market reality of yield dilution.
 
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SomebodyInTLS
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Sun Nov 21, 2021 2:21 pm

JerseyFlyer wrote:
I suggest Airbus seduced itself into thinking that the CASM margin conferred by sheer size would not be undermined by newer technology for many years. They should have had much better knowledge of the technology development pipeline in their industry.

The design issues, redundant structure for a stretch, restricted wing size, led to the CASM margin being less than it could have been. The production issues and delays allowed newer technology into the market earlier in the 380's delivery cycle ramp up than anticipated.

Thus the CASM advantage was whittled away, and finally killed by the market reality of yield dilution.


That's a pretty fair summary, I'd say. The first paragraph would not have been such an issue if EIS had been smooth and allowed for earlier upgrade projects.
 
moa999
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Sun Nov 21, 2021 10:12 pm

Plus I think engines.

Was a mistake to go with two suppliers for what was at best a moderate selling aircraft and turn out to be low selling, meaning neither could recoup investment and didn't want to invest in a neo.

And related to this would have been better if the engine was more closely related to those on a two engined aircraft, reducing development costs and allowing you to share a neo.
 
xl0hr
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Sun Mar 13, 2022 9:18 am

I joined anet because I was wondering/sad about how badly the A380 did. I couldn't fathom that it wouldn't blow everything else out of the water in terms of efficiency.

Over time, I read many typical anet threads with few arguments and many year-old opinions and little room for actual discussion and insight. Still, I learnt a lot.

In this thread I expected the typical fanboy A hates all B and vice versa. But after avoiding it for weeks it turns out to be the most informative and interesting thread I have ever read here. Thanks all for great insights, arguments, sources!
 
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par13del
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Sun Mar 13, 2022 1:40 pm

moa999 wrote:
Plus I think engines.

Was a mistake to go with two suppliers for what was at best a moderate selling aircraft and turn out to be low selling, meaning neither could recoup investment and didn't want to invest in a neo.

And related to this would have been better if the engine was more closely related to those on a two engined aircraft, reducing development costs and allowing you to share a neo.

I though that at EIS the A380 only had the Engine Alliance engine?
 
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reidar76
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Sun Mar 13, 2022 7:19 pm

moa999 wrote:
Was a mistake to go with two suppliers for what was at best a moderate selling aircraft and turn out to be low selling, meaning neither could recoup investment and didn't want to invest in a neo.

And related to this would have been better if the engine was more closely related to those on a two engined aircraft, reducing development costs and allowing you to share a neo.


Yes, I think so too, but the mistake was made at programme launch. By going with two engine suppliers neither took the risk of investing in a state of the art engine for the A380. The A380 should have gone for the 787 RR engine.

Remember the timeline: It was about three years from Airbus launched the A380 programme, to Boeing launched the 787 programme. Airbus targeted 2006 service entry, while Boeing targeted 2008. First flight for the A380 was in 2005, and service entry was in 2007.

The A380 was late, but Boeing really struggled with the 787. It wasn't the engines that delayed the 787. The 787 RR engine was ready and certified before the first A380 was delivered.

Remember that the A380 has four engines. ;-) With 251 A380 delivered, that's 1000 engines, compared to about 1000 787 delivered, that's 2000 engines, and RR have less than 50 % market share on the 787.

The point is, if RR had been an exclusive engine supplier to the A380, it would have delivered more engines to the A380 than to the 787. And that is assuming that the A380 wouldn't have had any additional sales if it had a much better engine from the start.
 
2175301
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Sun Mar 13, 2022 8:32 pm

reidar76 wrote:
Yes, I think so too, but the mistake was made at programme launch. By going with two engine suppliers neither took the risk of investing in a state of the art engine for the A380. The A380 should have gone for the 787 RR engine.

Remember the timeline: It was about three years from Airbus launched the A380 programme, to Boeing launched the 787 programme. Airbus targeted 2006 service entry, while Boeing targeted 2008. First flight for the A380 was in 2005, and service entry was in 2007.

The A380 was late, but Boeing really struggled with the 787. It wasn't the engines that delayed the 787. The 787 RR engine was ready and certified before the first A380 was delivered.

Remember that the A380 has four engines. ;-) With 251 A380 delivered, that's 1000 engines, compared to about 1000 787 delivered, that's 2000 engines, and RR have less than 50 % market share on the 787.

The point is, if RR had been an exclusive engine supplier to the A380, it would have delivered more engines to the A380 than to the 787. And that is assuming that the A380 wouldn't have had any additional sales if it had a much better engine from the start.


Given all the problems with the RR 787 engine... It would have further reduced the possibility of the A380 being successful.

You should read up on the RR 787 issues (my memory is that there were multiple significant issues); and why GE is now the dominant engine supplier for the 787.
 
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Polot
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Sun Mar 13, 2022 8:40 pm

2175301 wrote:
reidar76 wrote:
Yes, I think so too, but the mistake was made at programme launch. By going with two engine suppliers neither took the risk of investing in a state of the art engine for the A380. The A380 should have gone for the 787 RR engine.

Remember the timeline: It was about three years from Airbus launched the A380 programme, to Boeing launched the 787 programme. Airbus targeted 2006 service entry, while Boeing targeted 2008. First flight for the A380 was in 2005, and service entry was in 2007.

The A380 was late, but Boeing really struggled with the 787. It wasn't the engines that delayed the 787. The 787 RR engine was ready and certified before the first A380 was delivered.

Remember that the A380 has four engines. ;-) With 251 A380 delivered, that's 1000 engines, compared to about 1000 787 delivered, that's 2000 engines, and RR have less than 50 % market share on the 787.

The point is, if RR had been an exclusive engine supplier to the A380, it would have delivered more engines to the A380 than to the 787. And that is assuming that the A380 wouldn't have had any additional sales if it had a much better engine from the start.


Given all the problems with the RR 787 engine... It would have further reduced the possibility of the A380 being successful.

You should read up on the RR 787 issues (my memory is that there were multiple significant issues); and why GE is now the dominant engine supplier for the 787.

Neither the T1000 or GENx were in a great spot ~2008 in terms of meeting specs. While the 787 delays were not caused by them RR and GE benefitted greatly from the extra development time the delays afforded them.

Not sure it would have been worse for the A380 program though. The initial A380s would have probably missed specs but the engines were still better than everything else available at the time and having the same engines as the 787 means the A380 would have benefitted from engines improvements developed for the 787.

Engine exclusivity wasn’t really a big thing in the early 2000s though, especially in the wide body arena. So I don’t think Airbus and RR would have very come to a such a deal. GE’s GE90 deal on the 77L/77W was seen as very risky.
 
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Matt6461
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Sun Mar 27, 2022 7:35 pm

Checking in on the A380 postmortems...

Folks have made the most important points:

  • 1. A388 wing/empennage/engines/MLG were sized for growth with disastrous results
  • 2. A380 fuselage is not very efficient for a double-decker (though still more efficient than any single decker)
  • 3. Leahy's excuse about A380's engines won't do: GEnx/T1000 are only ~3% better and ~3 years later: a predictable improvement.
  • 4. P2P vs. H2H is a stupid debate for non-specialist consumption.
  • 5. A380's efficiency edge over smaller planes insufficient to compensate for yield dilution.

Re #2, this factor may be highly underrated. Here, for example, is a 24.5ft circular fuselage:

Image

If we restrict MD height to 84in (vs. 100in on A380 and MD12), we can fit a 12-10 Y layout in a cross section with smaller diameter (therefore drag and weight) than the A380's (~25.6ft circle-equivalent).

This fuselage is so efficient that we can fit ~A388 capacity into a ~200ft fuselage that has about as much surface area as the 777-300ER's fuse: 1300m2 (vs. 1564m2 for A388).

Attach that fuselage to an 80m wing with effective span of 90m (winglets or folding mechanism) and it's hard not to get an L/D of >25.

With Ultrafan-generation engines, this plane would have ~half the per-seat fuel burn of 777-9 and feasibly lower trip COC.
 
flipdewaf
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Mon Mar 28, 2022 4:45 pm

Matt6461 wrote:
Checking in on the A380 postmortems...

Folks have made the most important points:

  • 1. A388 wing/empennage/engines/MLG were sized for growth with disastrous results
  • 2. A380 fuselage is not very efficient for a double-decker (though still more efficient than any single decker)
  • 3. Leahy's excuse about A380's engines won't do: GEnx/T1000 are only ~3% better and ~3 years later: a predictable improvement.
  • 4. P2P vs. H2H is a stupid debate for non-specialist consumption.
  • 5. A380's efficiency edge over smaller planes insufficient to compensate for yield dilution.

Re #2, this factor may be highly underrated. Here, for example, is a 24.5ft circular fuselage:

Image

If we restrict MD height to 84in (vs. 100in on A380 and MD12), we can fit a 12-10 Y layout in a cross section with smaller diameter (therefore drag and weight) than the A380's (~25.6ft circle-equivalent).

This fuselage is so efficient that we can fit ~A388 capacity into a ~200ft fuselage that has about as much surface area as the 777-300ER's fuse: 1300m2 (vs. 1564m2 for A388).

Attach that fuselage to an 80m wing with effective span of 90m (winglets or folding mechanism) and it's hard not to get an L/D of >25.

With Ultrafan-generation engines, this plane would have ~half the per-seat fuel burn of 777-9 and feasibly lower trip COC.


If you make the changes you suggest to the fuselage (if you can fit the PAX in to the 61m fuselage) then you get a reduction in weight of about 8t. Adding the extra length to the wing loses that plus an extra ~20t in extra empty weight.

The cruise L/D changes from about 17.5 and goes to about 19.4, nowhere near 25...

Fred
 
ReverseFlow
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Re: Analyzing The Airbus A380’s Premature End

Mon Mar 28, 2022 5:15 pm

par13del wrote:
moa999 wrote:
Plus I think engines.

Was a mistake to go with two suppliers for what was at best a moderate selling aircraft and turn out to be low selling, meaning neither could recoup investment and didn't want to invest in a neo.

And related to this would have been better if the engine was more closely related to those on a two engined aircraft, reducing development costs and allowing you to share a neo.

I though that at EIS the A380 only had the Engine Alliance engine?
No, MSN1 flew with RR and SIA as first customer also had RR
https://www.airfleets.net/ficheapp/plane-a380-3.htm

MSN9 was the first EA test aircraft.

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