The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport board will be asked next week to approve construction at the airport’s Terminal D to accommodate an Airbus A380, the airline industry’s largest passenger airplane.
The A380 supposedly will arrive in October. But the airport doesn’t say which airline plans to bring the A380.
Here’s some info from briefing information provided the airport board, and we quote:
– Recent gate capacity studies have identified that terminal modifications are needed to accommodate forecasted growth. Based on industry knowledge, there is the need to accommodate ADG VI aircraft in 2014. The objective of this project is to provide one ADG VI gate at Terminal D.
– This action will provide for construction at Terminal D to accommodate ADG VI aircraft by the anticipated required date of October 1, 2014.
– Without the construction of the Terminal D jetbridge modifications, DFW Airport can not accommodate scheduled service of passenger-carrying ADG VI aircraft.
The airport staff is asking the board to approve a $2,847,777 construction contract to modify gates D15 and D16 with such changes as a second jet bridge and walkway to load passengers.
An airline spokesman politely declined to say who’s coming. It’ll be up to the airline to announce.
I enjoy a good rumor, just as I enjoyed the rumor that Turkish Airlines is considering leasing four A380s (a rumor, for the record, which the Turkish CEO has acknowledged, though we still don’t have final details).
So which airline could be launching A380 service to Dallas?
The major international carriers to DFW Airport include:
Dallas is of course a big American Airlines and OneWorld hub, so I think it’s very likely that it will be a OneWorld carrier that’s even pondering A380 service to Dallas, given the possibility for connections. That leaves British Airways and Qantas. Or to throw out a “wild card” option, I wouldn’t totally be shocked if it were Emirates, for reasons I’ll cover below.
They presently have one daily flight between Dallas and London on a 747, though American and British Airways basically have a monopoly on the market. So British doesn’t have a ton to gain by sending an A380 there. That being said, surely they could easily route more connecting passengers through Dallas, so I’d say they definitely could make the route work. Though in my opinion they don’t have a whole lot to gain with that equipment change.
British Airways A380
This is an interesting one. Qantas announced a massive restructuring yesterday given that they’re bleeding money on their longhaul routes. So one hand surely they can’t be considering sending another A380 on an ultra longhaul route, which are tough to turn a profit on. Furthermore, Qantas did just cancel their remaining A380 orders, so clearly it isn’t totally “working” for them.
At the same time, Qantas presently flies a 747 to Dallas, and apparently it has major payload restrictions, to the point that they’re having to consistently block off dozens of seats per flight. After all, the Sydney to Dallas flight is the world’s longest 747 flight, at 8,578 miles. Chances are that the A380 could do this route without payload restrictions, so it would not only represent a massive increase in capacity, but also mean that they’d actually have the ability to maximize the loads on the flight.
Furthermore, Qantas did just re-time one of their flights from Melbourne to London, which frees up one of their A380s. They also do sometimes fly an A380 to Hong Kong, so if they swapped a plane on that route they’d potentially have two free A380s, which is enough to operate the Dallas route.
I think Emirates is highly unlikely, since they don’t partner with American, so therefore they’d be relying almost solely on passengers originating or terminating in Dallas. Also, they only fly a 777-200LR to Dallas, so aren’t even flying their larger 777-300ER to Dallas, which suggests they don’t think the demand and/or yields are there.
Why do I think it’s even a possibility? Well, the two other Middle Eastern “giants,” Etihad and Qatar, are launching service to Dallas this year, so Emirates could just be sending them a message that they’re the Middle Eastern “alpha male.” And Emirates does have the largest A380 fleet of any airline, so it wouldn’t proportionally be as much of a fleet commitment for them as it would be for other airlines.
What do you guys think?
Will it be British Airways, Qantas, Emirates, or some other airline altogether?