tortugamon
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Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:31 pm

The Telegraph had an interview with Tom Williams, COO at Airbus. Here is quote from the article:

Quote:

"The decision to go ahead with the A380, which Williams admits “he was part of”, may have been a mistake. The company is breaking even on each one it makes but after multi-billion development costs Williams admits the programme “will never be profitable”. However, he notes the decision more than a decade ago to make the giant jet came at a time when Airbus saw “Boeing making a ton of money on the 747, exchange rates were different, the oil price was different”.
Things have changed at Airbus since the company was set up in the Sixties with backing from European governments to take on US dominance in aerospace, Williams claims. “The days when we did some projects for ego, valour or pride are gone,” he says.
Was the A380 done for these reasons? “I don’t know but it was probably on the cusp,” he says."

.......
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/n...Tom-Williams-Airbuss-Mr-Fixit.html

Overall its a pretty good interview that is really worth the read because it breaks down why this man is so well respected and deservedly so. It also talks about Airbus' relationship with suppliers and the problems that present themselves. He also as this funny quip:

Quote:
“If someone said we can’t build the aeroplane because of the engine or the radar, some hi-tech product, I wouldn’t be sympathetic, but I could understand,” says Williams, who has a reputation for straight talking, unlike many of the slick operators often found in such senior roles.“But a toilet? It’s not even the clever bit of the toilet – the vacuum system – it’s the mirror or door,” he says. “It’s difficult for me to deliver an aeroplane without a toilet door. People are a bit conventional about these things.”

....
Ha! Conventional, right.

But the real takeaway from me is the talk about the A380. In one of the behind the scenes videos about the A380 program there was talk about it being done for ego but I have never heard it even hinted from this level of executive. Also, in the interview he expresses reservations about an A380neo; the article says he is 'circumspect'.

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skipness1E
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Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:43 pm

Aside from the alleged A380, would any other Airbus have been launched out of ego or pride?
 
rigo
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Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:02 pm

Quoting skipness1E (Reply 1):
Aside from the alleged A380, would any other Airbus have been launched out of ego or pride?

It certainly played an important role in the A300. So in a way, Airbus may owe its very existence to ego and pride  
 
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Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:04 pm

Oh this thread should be fun thread to watch.

Quoting skipness1E (Reply 1):

Well I would say since ego is really what started airbus in the first place (and as a jobs program).

One could argue that at least the A300 was also an ego jet, but it obviously did a lot better than the A380.

Quoting tortugamon (Thread starter):

But the real takeaway from me is the talk about the A380. In one of the behind the scenes videos about the A380 program there was talk about it being done for ego but I have never heard it even hinted from this level of executive. Also, in the interview he expresses reservations about an A380neo; the article says he is 'circumspect'.

I don't think it needed to be hinted at because, outside of the die hard Airbus and A380 fans, we all knew it was an ego jet.

and the A380NEO would be a stupid idea and a huge waste of money. Airbus needs to focus on the A330NEO/A350 and A320NEO. After that start saving up for an answer to the next Boeing jet (NSA/MOM whatever we are calling it this week) and evolving the A350 as needed.
 
rigo
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Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:19 pm

Thinking about it, Airbus' history is full of market forecasts that turned out to be fascinatingly wrong. The A300 was based on the "aerial bus" idea, which proved unworkable, and instead found its market as an ETOPS liner, which Airbus didn't envision. In the A330/A340 program, the quadjet was supposed to be the flagship and the twin a niche product. But as we know, it was actually the A330 that became a massive hit and the A340 never really got any love. Then there was the A350 saga, when Airbus completely misread the 787 and for years, they obstinately stuck to the idea that all they needed was some A330neo. It really looks like Airbus has a full-time team of guardian angels that make sure that every time company fires and misses the target, another target serendipitously pops up out of the blue right in front of the bullet  
 
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Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:24 pm

Quoting tortugamon (Thread starter):
the A380, which Williams admits “he was part of”, may have been a mistake.

In other words water is wet.

But admitting it is the first step of recovery..... and lord knows they're likely going to recover quite fabulously.
The NEO will be a goldmine. The A330 still sells. The A350 is looking to be a 777 killer for all but the two newest/largest models.

They'll be fine.
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Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:27 pm

Quoting rigo (Reply 6):
Then there was the A350 saga, when Airbus completely misread the 787 and for years, they obstinately stuck to the idea that all they needed was some A330neo.

Hindsight suggests they may have bern right, first time around.  

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commavia
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:41 pm

I'm not really sure why anything he is saying is in the least bit controversial. His comments seem fairly obvious and self-evident today - just as they were literally a decade ago.

Of course the A380 was done for "ego, valour [and] pride," and of course the program "will never be profitable" on a fully-allocated basis including the massive development cost. And this really isn't a knock on the A380, per se - frankly, as this Airbus executive himself tacitly acknowledges, the primary goal of the program wasn't to make money. As has been obvious for years to anyone being honest, the A380 - much like the Concorde - was as much a political as a market project, and also like the Concorde, the A380 is an incredible technological achievement, but a financially loss-making one.

It's certainly equally true that Boeing may similarly never fully recover its developmental investment on the 787, especially on a net present value basis, but that has as much to do with Boeing's own mistakes and mismanagement of the program as anything else. In terms of market reaction and acceptance, I think the numbers quite clearly speak for themselves in terms of which company targeted the right market segment in the early 2000s - despite a four year head start, the total A380 order book stands at just over one quarter that of the 787, with over 40% of those orders for just a single customer.

[Edited 2016-02-20 16:10:28]
 
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:05 am

I enjoyed reading that interview; very interesting! The A380 is a great aircraft, but i feel that it was either 10 years to late or 20 years early. I think the A380 was always intended to be a niche aircraft, however I'm sure the sales are significantly lower than Airbus expected. I believe to some extent the commercial aircraft industry was built on ego and patriosm , and i fear that it is loosing it's ego, which is kind of sad!
 
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:25 am

I think it was a mistake, but hopefully they've learnt from it. Certainly the introduction to serivce of the A350 seems to show they've learnt from some of their mistakes with testing and early production, and of course the A380 tech is going to find it's way into other Airbus products.

Similarly I would hope Boeing will learn from the 787 debacles next time they do a clean sheet.

Also I hope that both companies continue to take the odd moon shot even if they don't come off. It makes the skys more interesting.

[Edited 2016-02-20 16:27:46]
 
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:38 am

Try to imagine what the resale value of an A380 will be when SQ and EK start to flip their fleets. I see them going straight to the scrappers.

SQ typically flies an airplane for 8-10 years. EK has already divested itself of its last 777ER and it is certainly a short time until they release early A380 frames.
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:44 am

Quoting rigo (Reply 4):
the A340 never really got any love.

What was more of a mistake, the A380 or the A340?
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:52 am

Quoting skipness1E (Reply 1):
Aside from the alleged A380, would any other Airbus have been launched out of ego or pride

I think the A320neo was the least prideful launches of recent memory.

Quoting scbriml (Reply 2):
So Williams says "The A380 may have been a mistake", but your thread title claims he said "the A380 was a mistake?

You're right. That changes everything!  
Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 7):
The NEO will be a goldmine.

A320, I presume? First time I read it I thought you were talking about the A380neo...which I have my doubts about.

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 7):
The A350 is looking to be a 777 killer for all but the two newest/largest models.

Its been around for 20+ years...

Quoting commavia (Reply 8):
I'm not really sure why anything he is saying is in the least bit controversial. His comments seem fairly obvious and self-evident today - just as they were literally a decade ago.

Agreed, I don't think many level headed folks think the A380 was a good idea but its rare to hear someone high up at Airbus state it....hence the thread. In my opinion it shows great maturity.

Quoting commavia (Reply 8):
It's certainly equally true that Boeing may similarly never fully recover its developmental investment on the 787,

Not even close to 'similar'. One is a huge loss and one will have to work for years to reach break even but has a chance.


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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:52 am

I think in the end, the big issue with the A380 was the fact airports needed expensive upgrades to runways, taxiways, and parking gates to accommodate the big dual-level airliner. Meanwhile, the 777X--even the 777-9 model--doesn't need as much drastic upgrades of airport infrastructure to accommodate the plane.

Indeed, I expect the 777-9 to be the plane that will drive future growth in passenger travel, even to slot-restricted airports like LHR. It'll be like accommodating the 744, but with more cargo capacity.
 
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:08 am

Quoting RayChuang (Reply 14):
I think in the end, the big issue with the A380 was the fact airports needed expensive upgrades to runways, taxiways, and parking gates to accommodate the big dual-level airliner.

What orders do you think the A380 lost due to airport limitations?

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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:09 am

Quoting tortugamon (Thread starter):
A380 May Have Been A Mistake 

As soon as I saw this, I instantly thought "this'll be good."

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 5):
The A350 is looking to be a 777 killer for all but the two newest/largest models.

So that's the 777-8, -300ER and -9   Those models are the pinnacle and cream of the 777 family. 777 Killer, my A$$.

Quoting airboeingbus (Reply 9):
The A380 is a great aircraft, but i feel that it was either 10 years to late or 20 years early.

No, it's definitely 10 years too late. Remember the MD-12? That would been a hot seller!
And then 20 years from now, the A380 will be even more outdated, as I expect twin engine double deck planes to be made. Perhaps that'll be what replaces the 777X:

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kasimir
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:28 am

I totally agree that the A380 program has not been the economic dream machine for airbus they envisioned it to be, but the good news is that they are running breakeven on it.

Where I totally disagree is with everything else he said, doesn't matter if the market wants it or not or if it was build out of ego and pride or not, ofcourse this is prestige project, but one thing it did to Airbus that he doesn't speak about is, that the A380 has firmly put the brand Airbus on the map and Airbus is now close or on the same level as Boeing and in my opinion that is all because of the A380.

Lets try to remember the past for a bit, outside of the a.net and the aviation enthusiasts, nobody really cared about Airbus that much, for most out there the planes all looked the same, except for the iconic 747 which put Boeing on the map and now Airbus has its iconic bird with the A380!

The amount of (media) attention its still receiving is staggering, especially for such a "niche" airliner and the airlines that operate them use it as their flagship and in my opinion (and many others) its still the most comfortable way of flying no matter what class you are in.

One point that actually might end up being very favorable for the A380, is the current low fuel price environment, which takes the economic pressure away to fill up the entire plane to make a profit, but have the extra capacity when its needed.

Lets not forget that the aviation market is still growing and much more people are flying now then nearly 11 years ago when the A380 had its first flight. I think the big future of the A380 is still to come and airlines are now experimenting with different configurations (2 class config at EK, AF new configuration, ANA will use the A380 on leisure routes etc etc).

I really hope that Airbus will offer the A380neo, because I firmly believe that there is still a place for this aircraft in the future...
 
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:46 am

Who knows if in the long-term it might turn out to be sucessful. I think part of the problem was that there was room for a VLA from either Boeing or Airbus, but not both. If they had the orders that went to the 747-800, then perhaps both Boeing and Airbus would be better off. Anyway, if they can keep the line going for long enough and eventually get another large order for the next generation, it might eventually make a good profit.
 
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:47 am

Quoting rigo (Reply 2):

We can say that all airliners are launched out of ego and pride otherwise Boeing and Airbus don't exist! The 747-8 and A380, the A300, the IL-96, anything made in China right now etc. Welcome to capitalism at its best!
Inspire the truth.
 
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:49 am

The title is misleading (isn't it at least the 3rd such case recently?). If one reads the article, The "A380 may have been a mistake" sentence is NOT attributed to Williams. What was attributable was that he was part of the management team that made the decision to launch A380. I don't think someone in his position would be stupid enough to suggest a model that his company is actively attempting to sell was a mistake.
And just to nitpick, A380 has more than 300 orders but a backlog of 139 (exact number not checked for accuracy)

Quoting tortugamon (Thread starter):
In one of the behind the scenes videos about the A380 program there was talk about it being done for ego

Where is this video?

Quoting tortugamon (Thread starter):
Also, in the interview he expresses reservations about an A380neo; the article says he is 'circumspect'

Williams being circumspect could be due to many possible reasons. Please don't add your personal interpretation and state it as fact. One would have thought Williams would be unwise NOT to be circumspect given the many delicate discussions that are no doubt taking place. For someone in his position to state anything definite or even something that can be interpreted as being definite would bring significant, sometimes unintended and unwelcome consequence. I doubt he needed to be reminded about his CFO colleague.

Quoting rigo (Reply 4):
Thinking about it, Airbus' history is full of market forecasts that turned out to be fascinatingly wrong.

Both Airbus and Boeing had their fair share of erroneous reading of the market.

Quoting Boeing778X (Reply 16):
As soon as I saw this, I instantly thought "this'll be good."

Good? In what way? The umpteenth thread of similar content, with a misleading title to boot?
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:02 am

Quoting 777Jet (Reply 12):
What was more of a mistake, the A380 or the A340?

With the A340 the mistake was the A340-500/600.
 
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:21 am

At least we can lay to rest the speculation if they brought forward the A380 because of pride or not. The A380 NEO is going to be an interesting round table discussion in 2020. By then we'll know if Airbus is going to bring forward a 779 comparable and if the A380 in its current form can garner more orders.

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 5):
The A350 is looking to be a 777 killer

I love it when I see where a poster says something is killing something. In order for something to be killing another, it needs to be, dead? Remind us how long the A350 has been around compared to that of the 777.   

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 11):
Try to imagine what the resale value of an A380 will be when SQ and EK start to flip their fleets. I see them going straight to the scrappers.

SQ typically flies an airplane for 8-10 years. EK has already divested itself of its last 777ER and it is certainly a short time until they release early A380 frames.

SQ just signed a MRO agreement for its A380 fleet so scrapping might be on ice.
 
sixtyseven
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:23 am

Ego and prid are things you can get away with when someone else is paying the bills.
Stand-by for new ATIS message......
 
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:42 am

It looks like the history of Airbus is full of ego and "me too" rather than careful evaluation of market needs. A380 is far from being the only example.
Also: when a manufacturer works on a new program they always work with major Airlines. They ask feedback, our needs etc. However an airline can be a good adviser on the product parts but certainly not on the market part.

[Edited 2016-02-20 19:03:01]
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:56 am

Instead of floating insane comments about Airbus Ego or Ubris (your choice) I recommend reading Bill Gunston "Airbus an european Triumph" Circa 1990. It will let you have a clear view of how Airbus planned its aircraft and in some facts were years ahead of the market. But heck! this is Anet, where facts are simply ignored.

Another "A380 is dead, should not have been made or will fail" YAWN.

The A380 will keep selling in small drops and eventually it will sell a lot... simply economics, demographics and space.

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rigo
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 3:06 am

Quoting 777Jet (Reply 12):
What was more of a mistake, the A380 or the A340?

The A340 can't be dissociated from the A330, Airbus' golden eggs goose, so in that regard it certainly wasn't a mistake. But the sales forecasts for both of these models were spectacularly off.
 
AngMoh
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 3:29 am

A whole interview on supply chain issues and A.Net start a long tread on a single paragraph on the A380 which states the obvious....

Quoting timpdx (Reply 7):

Captain has put the seatbelt light on and popcorn at the ready....

You are getting what you were expecting. Enjoying it?
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 3:43 am

Quoting theredbaron (Reply 25):
Instead of floating insane comments about Airbus Ego or Ubris (your choice) I recommend reading Bill Gunston "Airbus an european Triumph" Circa 1990. It will let you have a clear view of how Airbus planned its aircraft and in some facts were years ahead of the market. But heck! this is Anet, where facts are simply ignored.

If you took the time to read the whole article in it entirety, you would see that the conversation regarding the A380 is minute and not what you make it out to be. Tom Williams himself said that they once did do projects on ego and pride.
 
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 3:53 am

Quoting kasimir (Reply 17):
I totally agree that the A380 program has not been the economic dream machine for airbus they envisioned it to be, but the good news is that they are running breakeven on it.

It cost $25 Billion and only just now they are not losing money on every aircraft they deliver. Lets keep this 'breakeven' in context. There is zero hope of returning the initial investment.

Quoting kasimir (Reply 17):
Where I totally disagree is with everything else he said, doesn't matter if the market wants it or not or if it was build out of ego and pride or not, ofcourse this is prestige project, but one thing it did to Airbus that he doesn't speak about is, that the A380 has firmly put the brand Airbus on the map and Airbus is now close or on the same level as Boeing and in my opinion that is all because of the A380.

Completely disagree. I think the A300 was a remarkable achievement only outdone by the A320 and that is what put the 'brand on the map'.

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 20):
If one reads the article, The "A380 may have been a mistake" sentence is NOT attributed to Williams.

I love the logic where an Airbus executive admits that the program will lose money but some posters still won't admit it is a failure. Just wondering what metric we use if profitable is no longer relevant.

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 20):
Williams being circumspect could be due to many possible reasons. Please don't add your personal interpretation and state it as fact.

I just used his word. Circumspect. If you want to read that word differently feel free but I don't even think I offered a different personal interpretation to be read differently. Circumspect. I am too. I agree with the second in command at Airbus. And honestly almost entirely agree with the first in command. If you want to offer up a different interpretation to these guys feel free.

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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 3:54 am

Quoting sixtyseven (Reply 23):
Ego and prid are things you can get away with when someone else is paying the bills.

You mean like the 748i?   

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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:08 am

Quoting tortugamon (Reply 29):
I love the logic where an Airbus executive admits that the program will lose money but some posters still won't admit it is a failure. Just wondering what metric we use if profitable is no longer relevant.

"Profitable" is irrelevant to me. The VC 10 used to be my favourite aircraft and I don't think that was ever profitable, nor Concorde which gave me my most thrilling flight (and landing) ever.   

I'm not in finance or an accountant. I come here for love of civil aviation, not to celebrate Wall Street.

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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:09 am

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 11):
Try to imagine what the resale value of an A380 will be when SQ and EK start to flip their fleets. I see them going straight to the scrappers.

SQ typically flies an airplane for 8-10 years. EK has already divested itself of its last 777ER and it is certainly a short time until they release early A380 frames.

BA is after second hand A380s.
 
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:17 am

Quoting tortugamon (Reply 29):
I love the logic where an Airbus executive admits that the program will lose money but some posters still won't admit it is a failure. Just wondering what metric we use if profitable is no longer relevant.

And how does this have anything to do with you attributing someone else's words to Williams?
No one's disputing A380 is, from an overall program point of view, likely to be loss-making. How much of this is due to a misreading of the market or terrible execution of the production? If A380 was executed like A350XWB, would its financial position look very much different? It is all too simple to label a project a "failure" where a degree of sophistication may be required.

Quoting tortugamon (Reply 29):
I just used his word. Circumspect.

Let me quote you gain

Quoting tortugamon (Thread starter):
he expresses reservations about an A380neo

1. Circumspect is not his (Williams) words, its the journalist's impression of his answer with regard to A380neo
2."expresses reservation" is YOUR interpretation of his "circumspection". He was simply repeating the party line.

Oh, and where is this video that you mentioned?

[Edited 2016-02-20 20:26:57]
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:23 am

Quoting tortugamon (Reply 29):
It cost $25 Billion and only just now they are not losing money on every aircraft they deliver. Lets keep this 'breakeven' in context. There is zero hope of returning the initial investment.

It is a $25 Billion dollar loss that Airbus has already acknowledged years ago and written off against other more profitable programs.
 
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:37 am

Quoting tortugamon (Reply 13):
A320, I presume?

Yes


Quoting peterinlisbon (Reply 18):
If they had the orders that went to the 747-800, then perhaps both Boeing and Airbus would be better off

Practically no one ordered the 748 though, of the few that did, all but one either operated or had orders for the A380 as well.


Quoting rotating14 (Reply 22):
I love it when I see where a poster says something is killing something. In order for something to be killing another, it needs to be, dead? Remind us how long the A350 has been around compared to that of the 777

Not really following your (attempt at) logic here, but to drive home the point: remind me how many 772 orders we've seen since the A350's (and arguably the 789's) debut?
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JoeCanuck
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:42 am

Way back when, I used to care about the financial health of aircraft programs, concerned about their profit potential from a purely economic standpoint...and at some point in the past, I realized I only cared because eventually, programs that don't make money, die.

That's bad because eventually, another aircraft type will no longer fly. The actually profit or loss suffered by a company in which I don't own stock has ceased to move me.

I could not possibly care less why the A380 was made. The fact is...it WAS made, and is still being produced. Why it was made is completely irrelevant a this point. It can't be unmade and it will probably stay in production for at least another decade.

Quibbling now about the logic of producing it in the first point, is as productive as pondering angels dancing on heads of pins.

I think it's as homely as a bar of soap but I really dig the sheer audacious hugeness of the thing. I like it and can see the virtue of it being used as a mass hauler of people rather than a point of prestige. It's beauty lies in its ability to haul an unequal number of rather common people, in relative comfort, a third of the way around the world...all at once...non stop.

It can carry more people on a single flight than lived in quite a few of the towns in which I lived. It might be my geek showing, but I think that's pretty cool.

Airbus will somehow muddle through whether or not the 380 makes a dime towards the program.

And one more thing...for all of the A v. B cheerleaders....remember, no matter how much you may care for your favourite company, you can bet your bottom dollar, (or Euro), that the company doesn't give one tiny damn about you.
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RickNRoll
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:47 am

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 36):
I think it's as homely as a bar of soap but I really dig the sheer audacious hugeness of the thing. I like it and can see the virtue of it being used as a mass hauler of people rather than a point of prestige. It's beauty lies in its ability to haul an unequal number of rather common people, in relative comfort, a third of the way around the world...all at once...non stop.

I can still remember the thrill of my first 747 flight. I don't know why the A380 doesn't get the same respect.
 
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:54 am

Airbus had to make the A380. Overall the program has lost money but for the pride and morale of Airbus towards the world, there can be no doubt - Airbus can make the mighty jets just as excellently as rival Boeing. That's easily worth $25 billion of upfront investment costs. It's also a nice plus when the most luxurious airlines indicate a preference for your top product.
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:03 am

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 20):
Good? In what way? The umpteenth thread of similar content, with a misleading title to boot?

It's called sarcasm   

Quoting PhoenixVIP (Reply 19):
The 747-8 and A380, the A300, the IL-96, anything made in China right now etc. Welcome to capitalism at its best!

Um...the A300, A380, IL-96 and everything made in China right now are either socialist or communist made    Being from Red China, I'd think you'd know that.

Quoting sparkingwave (Reply 38):
Airbus had to make the A380. Overall the program has lost money but for the pride and morale of Airbus towards the world, there can be no doubt - Airbus can make the mighty jets just as excellently as rival Boeing. That's easily worth $25 billion of upfront investment costs. It's also a nice plus when the most luxurious airlines indicate a preference for your top product.

I mean, if they're beginning to break even now, that's all that matters. It sold and it works, but besides that, the A380 was just 10-15 years too late to be a runaway success. I could say the same about the 747-8i, as a 747 stretch was being discussed years before the -8i was a twinkle in anyone's eye.

Was the A380 a mistakes? I'd say no, not really.
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rotating14
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:08 am

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 35):

Not really following your (attempt at) logic here, but to drive home the point: remind me how many 772 orders we've seen since the A350's (and arguably the 789's) debut?

The point is that you mention A350's to 777's as though we are supposed to guess which model of A350 you are referring to, even though you managed to clarify which 777 model you wanted to bring up.

We're all aware the 772 hasn't sold since the introduction of the 77W but it doesn't get you off the hook for trying to convince whomever that the best-selling wide body aircraft is suddenly dead on arrival from a model that has 16 total copies flying.
 
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:13 am

Quoting RickNRoll (Reply 37):
I can still remember the thrill of my first 747 flight. I don't know why the A380 doesn't get the same respect.

Probably a lot of reasons. The 747 was the first VLA and the first double decker. I think that even though the 380 has 2 full decks, it seems to have more of an evolutionary feel to it, rather than revolutionary like the 747. Also, while beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, I reckon the 747 is visually a more attractive aircraft.

In some ways, I think the 380 gets too much respect, as in being the prestige model in a fleet. I think its strength is as a vehicle of transit for the masses, rather than the elite.

Just like any really big bus, it probably won't get the most respect but it will get the job done like nothing else out there.
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:51 am

Quoting rotating14 (Reply 22):
Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 5):
The A350 is looking to be a 777 killer

I love it when I see where a poster says something is killing something. In order for something to be killing another, it needs to be, dead? Remind us how long the A350 has been around compared to that of the 777.

The A340 is still flying, so I guess the 777 didn't kill it  
Quoting rotating14 (Reply 40):
We're all aware the 772 hasn't sold since the introduction of the 77W but it doesn't get you off the hook for trying to convince whomever that the best-selling wide body aircraft is suddenly dead on arrival from a model that has 16 total copies flying.

It's funny how a new version of the dead, 25+ year old designed 777 is giving this brand spanking new A350 a run for its money - so much so that there is already talk of a stretched A350 to compete against the 777-9  
Quoting rigo (Reply 26):
The A340 can't be dissociated from the A330, Airbus' golden eggs goose, so in that regard it certainly wasn't a mistake.

Luckily the 2-less-holed A330 was around to help its quad sibling then  
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:04 am

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 10):

Try to imagine what the resale value of an A380 will be when SQ and EK start to flip their fleets. I see them going straight to the scrappers.

Lets just make it clear that aircraft from SQ and EK usually go straight to the scrapper once the airlines have finished with them. As such the hypothetical scrapping of either airline's first A380s would say very little about the aircraft itself. If you were talking about different carriers, you might have a point.


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Quoting peterinlisbon (Reply 17):
the 747-800

A vanity driven ego project if there ever was one! Specifically designed so that it was three meters longer than the A380.
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tommy1808
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:26 am

Quoting 777Jet (Reply 11):
What was more of a mistake, the A380 or the A340?

If the A340 had gotten the Superfan, it would have been a revolution for long haul flying, pretty much on the order of magnitude the 787 was supposed to be. The Superfan failed, and Airbus had to make the wing bigger to lift that extra fuel.
With the superfan working or the A340 not being made, there wouldn't be a 233, 235, 238, 242 or possibly 245ton version of the A330 and it would still be a midhaul aircraft with a rather small, but highly effective wing.

The same isn't true for the A380, but the lessons learned from the program in terms of program management probably saved billions in the A350 and A320neo programs and their rather flawless execution.

I don't think there is a way to figure out how the overall market would have developed if there hadn't been an A380, nor will we ever know if the A380 was a good decision, but starting with the A388 and not the A389 was the big mistake.

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Spiderguy252
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:01 am

Quoting rigo (Reply 4):
Thinking about it, Airbus' history is full of market forecasts that turned out to be fascinatingly wrong. The A300 was based on the "aerial bus" idea, which proved unworkable, and instead found its market as an ETOPS liner, which Airbus didn't envision. In the A330/A340 program, the quadjet was supposed to be the flagship and the twin a niche product. But as we know, it was actually the A330 that became a massive hit and the A340 never really got any love. Then there was the A350 saga, when Airbus completely misread the 787 and for years, they obstinately stuck to the idea that all they needed was some A330neo. It really looks like Airbus has a full-time team of guardian angels that make sure that every time company fires and misses the target, another target serendipitously pops up out of the blue right in front of the bullet  

Ha! That's a very interesting way to put it.
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:30 am

Quoting 777Jet (Reply 11):
What was more of a mistake, the A380 or the A340?

neither was a mistake. the A340/A330 combo was the perfect contigency plan
to go with tech advances and the political advances on ETOPS.

( is the 787 a mistake ? the 787 was the worth run project that always got the simpering attention
of the press : super this, super that, next best thing to ... while the A380 got the non stop bed pan treatment
from all sides. So many "787 firsts" borrow from tech developed for the A380 which is silently ignored. )
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scbriml
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:32 am

Quoting tortugamon (Reply 12):
You're right. That changes everything!

Well it does. First you change "may have been" to "was" but even that completely ignores the fact the Williams didn't utter those words!   

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 19):
The title is misleading (isn't it at least the 3rd such case recently?). If one reads the article, The "A380 may have been a mistake" sentence is NOT attributed to Williams.

Exactly. But why let that little fact get in the way?   

Quoting Aither (Reply 23):
It looks like the history of Airbus is full of ego and "me too" rather than careful evaluation of market needs. A380 is far from being the only example.

Which other "ego programs" has Airbus launched?
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art
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:34 am

Quoting sixtyseven (Reply 22):
Ego and prid are things you can get away with when someone else is paying the bills.

Yes, repayable loans were made by governments to help launch the A380. That was a small element of financing the project. Most of the financing was from Airbus resources ie nobody else was paying the bills.

Now that production has reached breakeven, I wonder how much profit will be made on outstanding orders. Or will Airbus throw it all away by maintaining breakeven at a smaller and smaller number of frames produced each year in order to extend production?
 
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enzo011
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:38 am

Quoting LAX772LR (Reply 34):
Not really following your (attempt at) logic here, but to drive home the point: remind me how many 772 orders we've seen since the A350's (and arguably the 789's) debut?

You have it all wrong, only Airbus products takes away sales from its own, the 789 created a market all on its own and totally separate from the 772.


Back to the article, very good article about the supply chain and the man at Airbus in charge of it. I do hope the person who will take over will be learning as much as he can from Tom Williams.

I also don't see any different quotes from him than I have from any of the executives for the A380neo. If there is a business case they will go ahead with it. No different from Boeing and the MOM.
 
parapente
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RE: Airbus COO: A380 May Have Been A Mistake

Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:45 am

For me Airbus' biggest mistake was dropping the World lead they had in building large twins (300)) and 'falling in love' with the 1970's era quads.
The point made about the 'super fan' is fair but other than that? The 335/6 was a debacle that Boeing fully took advantage of.Once Airbus decided to make a VLA quad they were doomed.Make it the size of a 747 and Boeing would simply have 'neo,d' . Make it a bit bigger and clearly Boeing would have stretched and NEO,d as they did.So it 'had' to be 388 size.which is too big.At this point they should have returned to their roots and built a big twin 'Ecoliner' style.

But as others have said Airbus have this knack of getting targets to jump in front of the gun.In their case the whole ME3 and a new way of traveling around the Globe.This will be their 'get out of jail for free' card for the 380.

It should be noted that had they got their sums right B/E would have been in sight by now for thee 380.

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