|Quoting HALtheAI (Reply 83):|
It's less about Airbus needing the money than ensuring that if EK's growth predictions turn out to be overly optimistic, EK doesn't make any adjustments to their order. A large deposit from Emirates protects Airbus better against such a possibility. Airbus also has to take into consideration a MH-style meltdown for EK, even if very unlikely. Airbus doesn't want to get stuck in a line with all the other creditors to collect any 'penalties'. If Airbus is going to invest billions in an A380neo, they want rock-solid assurances that those A380s will be bought.
I think you are very right on this, HAL. It is not like Airbus would have any problems to finance a NEO. They just want to be pretty sure that the money is well spent.
It is not long time ago when EK
just overnight cancelled an order for 70 A350.
While it had little or no impact on the foreseeable A350 production schedule, then it would be an entirely different story if EK
ordered 100 A380neo, and then cancelled it when a couple billion had been spent on making it.
I am, however, not very optimistic about a neo in the near future. People, including Tim Clark, generally seem to expect a double digit improvement. I don't think Airbus can deliver more than 6-7-8%, and then only at a somewhat higher sticker price, reducing the gain to near nothing. The current A380 is simply too good and efficient, and its engines are already so much more efficient than slightly older engines such as CF6, T700 or PW4000.
The Trent XWB seems to be a marvel, but it comes at a price, sticker price. It's a very complicated engine made of very exotic materials.
Thank God the A350 only has two of them. But the A380neo shall have four of them. Four TXWBs is an enormous pile of money, much more than four T900s.
With only single digit efficiency gain it takes both very long time and very high fuel prices to "earn" just the extra engine costs. And very high fuel price isn't exactly what helps sale of very large aircrafts.
I have a feeling that for the time being airlines prefer to invest in "too small" aircrafts in order to improve fleet flexibility. So many things have happened lately to scare them: SARS, Ebola, GFC, volcanic eruptions, fuel price fluctuations etc.
All these events ended up rather "contained" and didn't really become catastrophic for the market. But had just one of them escalated violently, then the survivors would have been those who could park half of the fleet in the desert, and continue a decent schedule, because they already had too many aircrafts which were all too small.