Anyone interested in applying some old rule-of-thumb quick analyses?
Airbus says that the A380 (555 seats) can beat the B747-400 (416) on seat-mile costs by 15%. Boeing says that the B747-8 can beat the -400 fuel burn by -14%. (Based on what I know about the GEnx and CF6-80, this seems to be an accurate figure.)
First Rule of Thumb
In today's prices, fuel is conservatively 30% of operating cost. So, just on fuel-burn alone, the B747-8 should have -4.2% seat-mile costs vs B747-400. On fuel alone, that closes Airbus' "15% gap" (which I'm here to tell you, doesn't exist) to 10.8%.
Second Rule of Thumb
For each 2% of extra passengers carried by a stretch, the seat-mile costs are reduced by 1%. The B747-8 (450) has 8.2% more seats than a -400. Corrected to taking out the fuel component that we used in above, the -8 has another -2.9% improvement on the -400.
That closes Airbus' "15% gap" to 7.9%. All in two minutes.
Thus, even if we believe Airbus' "15% gap" (which we shouldn't, just ask the airlines that have bought it), we should see that the A380 has a big problem. Or, should I say, a smaller problem.
Even a 7.9% gap just isn't enough.
Using our second rule again, if Airbus stretches the A380 20%, then they'll reduce seat-mile costs by 10%. That will put the gap back between the A380 and B747. (I'd like to say that they could leverage the improved efficiency of A350/B787 engines, but the actual A380 engines aren't that short of the A350/B787 engines.)
|Quoting RJ111 (Reply 2):|
However we are yet to see either operate in regular passenger service and history has shown us, until we see both, it's anyone's guess.
No disrespect to you, RJ
, but I loathe when this comes up. The airplanes may not be in service, but airlines are still deciding what to buy off the drawing board. So, even if the figures change in future, right now what is on paper is reality.
Ideally, a stretch would give Airbus the seat-mile costs they need to achieve. OTOH, a 650-seat airplane is in a small niche. Besides, we are also comparing A380 to a re-engined 1960s design. If we compared A380-900 to, say, a second B787 stretch, the -10X, then even a -900 would be in trouble in terms of lowest-offerable seat-mile costs.
IMHO, what has happened today is that the A380 is cornered. The -800 no longer carries weight in seat-mile terms, and the -800F is even worse off. Launching a -900 will only garner incremental sales right now (but sure, many more perhaps in the latter half of next decade presuming that Boeing does nothing with its Y3 study). Today, the A380 was relegated to only being of interest in terms of capacity.
That is, noone is going to buy it for seat-mile cost, now. Now, it's all about revenue.
|Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 11):|
Should Airbus have offered a 500 and 580 seat aircraft rather than a 550 and 650 seat design, with a smaller wing?
That was the original A3XX. Airbus had to grow the airplane to get to their "15% gap" because of the square-cube law and the inefficient-sized double-deck design. If they could have, I think Airbus would have started at 500-seats. (D'uh, you might think, considering that I just pointed out that the A3XX started life at 500 seats.)
|Quoting Wiggidy (Reply 13):|
Ya, keep telling yourself that. The A389 will happen, its not really a question. It has been on the table since day one, it is the plane that the A380 is meant to be, period. And with the incredible interest airlines have voiced, I think it will happen as soon as possible. The only question I have is why didnt A start with the A389? Im sure someone knows.
The A330-400X was on the table from day one. The A340-400X. The "B747 Stretch". The B757-100X. The B767-100X. The B777-100X. The twin-engine versions of the DC-10 and L-1011.
Just because an OEM says something is on the table doesn't mean that it is on the table. The B747 was designed to be stretched from the outset, too. Yet, it will take 39 years (if we disclude the EUD) for that to occur. The B757-300 took 18 years, too.
|Quoting Stitch (Reply 15):|
Well the 748I may indeed have a lower CASM then the A388, but if you can distribute you passenger loads across, say three A388s instead of four 748Is, then I imagine the A388 comes out ahead in terms of "total cost of ownership".
You said CASM, right? That includes ownership.
|Quoting Stitch (Reply 15):|
And even 1:1, if you need to carry more then ~400 people (assuming a "real" config and not the defaults B and A use to reach their 450/555 numbers), then it doesn't matter if the A388 is not quite as efficient, since a 748I can't get the job done, anyway.
Exactly. Once you need 451 seats, the B747-8 becomes irrelevant. However, it's not many times that airlines sit down and find that to be true.