EK has a very large fleet. They have 60 A380s or will any day now. And over 100 77Ws, as well as some other aircraft in smaller numbers. But historically, they currently aren't dramatically bigger than a few other carriers in their heyday, and pretty much even when factoring in population growth and worldwide air travel growth. JL for example.
Going from what EK is NOW, to what they plan it be, is still uncharted territory. If they truly want to be operating 120 A380s at once, plus 125 773/9s, plus 50-60 A359/789s, that would be larger than we have seen before, but as of yet, it hasn't actually happened. It's just planned. What has happened is a carrier that has grown quickly to a large size that we have seen before (in a way we have seen before) in a country/region that came from little to be a financial powerhouse who doesn't think it will ever end (a story we have seen before) has run into trouble when the country hit stagnation, the airline met strong competition, and there was more opportunity to bypass the stopover.
Getting from "one of the largest ever" to "the largest ever by nearly a factor of 2" is not as easy as it sounds and doesn't simply involve ordering more aircraft or building a new airport. As I've been saying for years, the more you want to move passengers, the more you need to do so at the expense of other carriers, and the more you will meet resistance from the governments representing those carriers. And we are seeing that now from all around the globe. And of course there is competitive pressure in the region from QR, TK, etc.
It's still a very risky move for Airbus to commit a large amount of money to the A380NEO on the promise of one airline doing something that hasn't been done before,
|Quoting EPA001 (Reply 196):|
Which is telling. And if Airbus was confident in January that they could make a decision somewhere in the middle of March, it means that their business case was already very far in development, regardless the outcome.
True. But it doesn't mean the it's favorable. Just that the study is being done and probably because it has to be done now in order for the future of the A380 line to be more concrete and less uncertain.
The question I have is: what happens if Airbus pitches the NEO to the board, but also of course has information on improvements that could be made without a NEO, and the board says "No NEO, just make an A380E and be done with it."
Won't EK still have to buy 100+100 to keep their model going? Would an 7% improved A380E through PiP and Aero tweaks be enough to keep the line going rather than a 15% improvement from an expensive NEO project?