Re the discussion of airport costs between Revelation
and others, another data point is Vienna's ~$20mn for an A380 gate: viewtopic.php?t=601421
That's below the ~$55mn [168/3] from the Boston case and above the $600k from the YUL case.
I want to point out if $20mn is the number, it's a small fraction of the costs associated with operating a route:
- A380's actual sales price is ~$250mn
- Ownership cost is ~25% of direct operating cost (DOC)
- $20/$250 = 8%
- .08*.25 = 2%
- A380's per gate? Let's say you need one gate for every 4 A380's. That means the gate is only 25% occupied assuming 1.5hr gate dwell.
- .02/4 = 0.5%
Now, it wouldn't be fair to say that we impute all gate costs to the A380 but not to other types. Sure, you have to expand/build a gate/terminals to accommodate A380's, but it's not like you build nothing for A350's or 787's.
But still, even if we impute ALL of $20mn to the A380 and only to it, that is only 0.5% of DOC
An airline that really, really needed to fly the A380 somewhere could pay the airport to build a gate if the A380 were economically attractive to it.
In practice, we see that HNL, BOS, and ORD have all obliged as soon as airlines wanted to fly A380's to them. Earlier in the case of ORD.
SEA is the only U.S. example of an airline wanting to fly in A380's and the airport not obliging, AFAIK. Even there, I'm not sure how motivated EK is to use A380's instead of 777's.
So I believe the infrastructure issues with the A380 are real but are only a marginal economic factor that has not materially impacted its use.
We have to return to the basic fact here: The A380 is a bad airliner.
It massively escalates scale while only marginally escalating efficiency.
In a world in which airlines "right-size" by find an attractive capacity/efficiency tradeoff, the A380 loses.
As I show above, gate/terminal expenses are a small portion of airline system costs, and it would make total sense to spend millions on gates if the A380 were a good VLA. In the marginal cases where the A380 works, airports are willing to spend.
But we don't have that kind of VLA.
Hopefully some day we will; for that the A380 must die.