Emirates Wants Airbus To Design A New Kind Of A380

Emirates Wants Airbus To Design A New Kind Of A380

48

Emirates President Tim Clark is one of the brightest and most reasonable guys in the airline industry. When he talks, it’s worth listening. Along those lines, he has just made some interesting comments about the future of “superjumbo” air travel.

Why the Airbus A380 was such a failure

Back in the 2000s, many believed that the Airbus A380 represented the future of air travel. As the demand for global air travel continues to increase, and as airports are increasingly capacity constrained, higher capacity jets are needed. Unfortunately that’s not how things have played out.

A380 production has already ended due to lack of demand — just over 250 of the planes were ever produced, and Emirates purchased around half of those. Emirates executives think the A380 is a brilliant aircraft, while most other A380 customers regret having purchased the jet.

The challenge for the A380 has been that we’ve seen Airbus and Boeing introduce smaller, long range, and fuel efficient jets, including the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787. These airplanes are great, as they allow airlines to efficiently operate point-to-point long haul routes that may not have previously been economical.

So why has Emirates had such success with the A380, while virtually all other airlines haven’t?

  • Economies of scale are required to make the A380 work; you need a massive hub & spoke network to fill A380s, and having just a dozen A380s doesn’t really accomplish that
  • You need access to a lot of capital, and being owned by an oil rich country certainly helps with that
  • CEOs of publicly traded airlines are just conservative by nature; they generally won’t get blamed for things they don’t spend money on, while they will get blamed for things that they do spend money on
All too many A380s have already been scrapped

Tim Clark’s argument for a new A380 variant

Emirates took delivery of its last Airbus A380 in September 2021. Before A380 production stopped, Emirates President Tim Clark was vocal about asking Airbus to keep the A380 alive. We haven’t heard much from him about the jet since then… until now.

CNN Travel has an interview with Clark, where he’s once again talking about the long term need for an A380 equivalent, and how the plane could be even more efficient. The basis of his argument is that the demand for global air travel grew by around 4.5% per year pre-pandemic, and we’ll probably continue to see that level of growth in the future.

Here’s what Clark views as the problem with there not being any superjumbo planes in the pipeline:

  • “The notion that the A380 was a spent force was always a little bit of a difficult one for us to swallow.”
  • “I was chuckling to myself, thinking ‘wait and see.’ We started flying the A380 into Heathrow six times a day in October of last year, and we haven’t had a [free] seat on any of them since.”
  • “The math tells you that you need a big unit, much bigger than we’re getting at the moment. The biggest one will be the 777-9, whenever that comes to market, which in our configuration [will seat] 364 people against 484 on the A380s with our new premium economy. And it was 519 before, so you get where I’m coming from.”
  • “Even with multiple 787s and A350s all busy flying around the world, I still don’t get how you will pick up that growth curve. Supply will be suppressed, demand will continue to grow, and when that happens prices rise, it’s inevitable.
  • “If you take the A380s out of the frame by the mid-2030s, how are you going to make it work? Do we see massive upgrades of airfields or new airfields? At Heathrow, they can’t even agree on the third runway. Schiphol has just reduced the number of landings and takeoffs that they will allow. So, one wonders, how would this demand be accommodated?”

So, what’s the solution, according to Clark?

  • “Is it possible to redesign a new A380? Yes. Is it possible to lighten the aircraft? Yes. When they brought this aircraft to market, composites weren’t really [widespread]. Imagine a composite wing and a predominantly composite fuselage. Imagine engines that are giving you a 20 to 25% improvement compared to what you get today.”
  • “We’re trying to get everybody working on the big fans for the bigger aircraft as well. If you can get them to do what I think they could do in terms of fuel efficiency and power, then you have the makings of an airplane that would match or beat the economics of the [twin-engine aircraft] that we see today, by quite a long way.”

Clark is a realist, however, and acknowledges that this likely won’t be happening anytime soon:

  • “Do I think that airlines will step up and sign up to this project? Doubtful at this stage.”
  • “On the one hand I’m very keen to take a good hard look at this, on the other I’m not optimistic that the stakeholders in the ecosystem are up for it.”
  • “The airline industry is, rightly so, populated with people who are conservative in nature, because they’ve lost their shirts — this has been a seriously bad time for air travel. But now, things are starting to look a lot better, demand is back. So they have the ability to think hard about the future. Whether they’ve got the appetite for it, I don’t know. I know we have it.”
What does the future of flying shower suites look like?!

Bottom line

Emirates President Tim Clark is once again campaigning for the A380, in this case asking for a more efficient version of the jet. We’ve seen so much advancement with technology on other planes, between composite fuselages and wings, and more efficient engines. He feels that if a superjumbo would have the same investment in technology, it would make a lot of sense again, especially with demand for air travel continuing to grow.

In many ways new aircraft technology is also a race against the clock, with so many airlines promising virtually no net emissions within a couple of decades. While we’re seeing lots of new technology for smaller jets, this hasn’t extended to planes like the A380.

I’m definitely on #TeamClark here, but unfortunately I don’t see this gaining much traction.

What do you make of Clark’s comments about the need for the A380 in the future?

Conversations (48)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. red_robbo Guest

    There is just no way that Airbus are going to stump up more money to put into something like this, after losing so much on the original A380 project. That proved that there just wasn't enough demand to cover all the development and production costs, and there's no reason to think that times have changed enough to make it so now.
    If Tim Walker thinks differently, let him take the risk and put his...

    There is just no way that Airbus are going to stump up more money to put into something like this, after losing so much on the original A380 project. That proved that there just wasn't enough demand to cover all the development and production costs, and there's no reason to think that times have changed enough to make it so now.
    If Tim Walker thinks differently, let him take the risk and put his (Dubai's) money where his mouth is and bankroll it. If he doesn't (and obviously he won't), it simply ain't going to happen.

  2. Aman Guest

    I somehow think that we will see a dispersion of traffic away from hubs with the new long range narrow bodies. Emirates largest markets include India which has lacked a reliable international airline. With the upcoming revival from India, I expect a considerable number of traffic becoming point to point.
    Plus the A321 XLR could potentially open up routes from between secondary cities in India and Europe. I believe this would negate some of...

    I somehow think that we will see a dispersion of traffic away from hubs with the new long range narrow bodies. Emirates largest markets include India which has lacked a reliable international airline. With the upcoming revival from India, I expect a considerable number of traffic becoming point to point.
    Plus the A321 XLR could potentially open up routes from between secondary cities in India and Europe. I believe this would negate some of Emirates demand.
    As luxurious as the A380 maybe, most passengers will prefer flying direct to a smaller airport near them. And while emirates still may have a central to build a network on A380s, most other carriers cater to point to point O&D markets. It simply doesn’t make sense for them.

  3. Azamaraal Diamond

    Tim Clarke is correct - a larger aircraft is needed on specific high demand routes and it must be more efficient than the A380.

    I have always suggested that Boeing was too conservative with the 747-8. They redesigned the wings but stopped at that point.

    With the new thrust and efficiency levels of modern jet engines there would be a need for only two on a 747 to obtain the same thrust. So if the...

    Tim Clarke is correct - a larger aircraft is needed on specific high demand routes and it must be more efficient than the A380.

    I have always suggested that Boeing was too conservative with the 747-8. They redesigned the wings but stopped at that point.

    With the new thrust and efficiency levels of modern jet engines there would be a need for only two on a 747 to obtain the same thrust. So if the new composite wing was redesigned with different pylons to accommodate a single higher thrust engine on each wing then the new Queen could return to the skies. Given the experience of the Max (engine clearance) it is possible that this modification would not work of course.

  4. Euro Aviation Guest

    Seem newer more efficient long range airframes have higher aspect ratio wings. Maybe folding wings much longer than on the B777X are needed. Otherwise rearrange/widen gates at airports.

    Then, surely they will design it with a freighter version in mind.

  5. P S Babu Rao Guest

    I would like to add to improve the aircraft fuel efficiency. Can we have provision of mid air refueling these kind of aircraft so that the total take off weight can be managed by planning mid air refueling

    1. David Hoffman Guest

      Aerial refueling would require a specialized fleet of aircraft and some very specific mission requirements. B-52s may launch with full payloads and less than full fuel, but get rapidly refueled soon after launch in order to reach a specific target several thousand miles away.
      While the militaries of the world are quite willing to include the risk for expendable soldiers, the civilian regulators aren't so keen on it.

  6. Heinous Guest

    Clark is always worth listening to, but sometimes he should think before he speaks.
    Clark killed the A380, by failing to make a commitment he'd previously promised, which would have allowed for an updated more fuel efficient version. And, worse, he cost Airbus millions by spinning out his change of heart over many months.
    No, they won't build a Mark II based on his words.

  7. Spuwho Guest

    If Mr Clark wants an airframe to his liking and no other, then he will have to design and build it himself. He put the screws to Airbus to turn around the A380 as quickly as possible and it cost Airbus dearly in lost returns. Then he made noise about an A380neo when it was clear all the other airlines were getting buyers remorse. Lufthansa keeping their Dash 8's over the 380 is telling that...

    If Mr Clark wants an airframe to his liking and no other, then he will have to design and build it himself. He put the screws to Airbus to turn around the A380 as quickly as possible and it cost Airbus dearly in lost returns. Then he made noise about an A380neo when it was clear all the other airlines were getting buyers remorse. Lufthansa keeping their Dash 8's over the 380 is telling that it was a single purpose design. A purpose no one else was embracing outside the office of Mr Clark. They came, they tried, they left. If Mr Clark is so smart and so full of vision, then he will need to bring along his wallet of petro dollars to fulfill it.

  8. Jason Brandt Lewis Guest

    I was convinced that the Concorde would "die" after one accident. I've been saying the same thing since I first heard of the A380's development. Fuel economy and having four-engines is another reason for this program to "die," and it's no surprise to me (nor should it be to anyone) that Airbus announced the end of the program.

    Tim (Dr. Frankenstein) Clark is trying to breathe like back into a moribund program. I have...

    I was convinced that the Concorde would "die" after one accident. I've been saying the same thing since I first heard of the A380's development. Fuel economy and having four-engines is another reason for this program to "die," and it's no surprise to me (nor should it be to anyone) that Airbus announced the end of the program.

    Tim (Dr. Frankenstein) Clark is trying to breathe like back into a moribund program. I have no doubt that he is correct -- the A380 *could* be made to be lighter and more fuel efficient. But he would need other airlines to sign on to support the A380 v2.0 and, as he pointed out, that's doubtful.

    I've only flown the A380 on EK and BA -- in Economy and Business, respectively. The service on EK, for being in Economy, was actually superb, but a) it was in Economy, and b) it was a 5th Freedom flight JFK-MXP. On BA, it was Business (LHR-BOS), and the seats were facing backwards. The EK flight was dirt cheap and so the inconvenience of Economy was worth it for 8 hours, but never all the way to the Middle East. BA -- the same; for 7.5 hours, it's doable, but I wouldn't want to fly backwards to/from the West Coast. I would MUCH rather be on an A350 or a Boeing wide body.

    (Ben, not all of us fly EK in First and get to take a shower...)

    1. red_robbo Guest

      But you don't HAVE to fly backwards on the BA A380 - half of them face forwards!

  9. RF Guest

    Tim Clark wants to see the A380 NEO. It would be an interesting product.

  10. M.Webb Guest

    Ben - you state “Emirates President Tim Clark is one of the brightest and most reasonable guys in the airline industry. When he talks, it’s worth listening”.

    When their primary aircraft (777) in business class seats five (5) across in a 2-3-2 configuration with angled seats, a middle seat and no direct isle access, and hasn’t been updated in a decade, and Clark absolutely has no plans to do so, how can you call him “one of the brightest guys on the industry”????

    1. Mike Guest

      Not defending the dates business class seats or anything, but that’s precisely what makes him brilliant.
      Making your airline to be considered one of the world’s best, and filling every single seat (at least on the Emirates flights I have taken this year) demonstrates that he does have a very unique ability.

    2. glenn t Diamond

      I can attest that the Emirates 2-3-2 Business config is the worst executed of any airline I can think of.
      Way behind the times 5 years or so ago, and laughably obsolete today.
      The only good experience on Emirates was their pre-pandemic F cabin.

  11. John Ward Guest

    I'm with Tim all the way. Heathrow will choke. Travel by air will become so stressful.

  12. Jasper Guest

    Dubai doesn't have oil.

    1. GringoLoco Gold

      Only about 100 BILLION barrels. Current production ~3.5 million per day.

    2. RRA.DXB Guest

      That is incorrect. The 100 billion barrels estimate is true for the entire country that is UAE. Dubai, however, is only one of seven emirates that make up UAE. Dubai's oil reserves are estimated to be about 4 billion barrels. At its peak in 1991, Dubai produced a little over 400,000 barrels per day.

    3. Kor Guest

      Proven reserves- 100 million, not billion. Production max 50.000 barrels a day. Overall 5% in GDP.

      Do not mix Dubai with UAE. Every emirate is run by a different family. If Dubai want money from Abu Dhabi (biggest oil producer in UAE) they have to borrow it.

    4. Azamaraal Diamond

      Not really - they just have to rename the tallest building in the world after Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Kalifa and the money's theirs.

  13. Jance Guest

    There's an unspoken assumption here that I am not sure will be true: That airlines will be free to fly as much as they want. With policies driven by concerns over carbon emissions, I'm not sure how long that will remain true.

    What's needed to enable Clark's hopes is the rapid development and deployment of some breakthrough technology for carbon-free jet engines. Without that, air travel as we know it (massive, cheap and available to...

    There's an unspoken assumption here that I am not sure will be true: That airlines will be free to fly as much as they want. With policies driven by concerns over carbon emissions, I'm not sure how long that will remain true.

    What's needed to enable Clark's hopes is the rapid development and deployment of some breakthrough technology for carbon-free jet engines. Without that, air travel as we know it (massive, cheap and available to nearly anyone) will dwindle and become something that only the real elites can do.

    I don't know what form it would take, but something like hydrogen-fueled engines will be needed -- and soon -- if mass air travel is going to be a thing in the decades to come.

    Developing a carbon-free jet engine should be pursued with as much urgency as the COVID vaccines were. A "moon shot" effort is needed if Airbus and Boeing are going to continue building passenger airliners. Hey General Electric, hey Rolls Royce, are you listening?

    1. David Hoffman Guest

      Hydrogen? So you are going to carry liquid hydrogen and keep it liquid using what magic technology? The existing cooling systems for liquid hydrogen weigh thousands of pounds. You also need huge amounts of electricity to produce the hydrogen from water, but we have somewhat decimated our nuclear power industry so now you need new reliable electricity generating capacity. Fusion? A dream technology that consistently uses more watts of electricity per watt of electricity produced.

      Hydrogen? So you are going to carry liquid hydrogen and keep it liquid using what magic technology? The existing cooling systems for liquid hydrogen weigh thousands of pounds. You also need huge amounts of electricity to produce the hydrogen from water, but we have somewhat decimated our nuclear power industry so now you need new reliable electricity generating capacity. Fusion? A dream technology that consistently uses more watts of electricity per watt of electricity produced.

  14. Jan Guest

    It's funny, and sad, how the 747 will likely outlive the A380. Makes me wonder why Airbus didn't design the A380 to be an effective freighter as well.

    20+ yrs ago same thing happened in the automotive world when Ford released the Excursion to be a bigger Suburban competitor. It just happened to be too big and went out with a whimper, while the Suburban lives on.

    That said, I will miss the A380 when...

    It's funny, and sad, how the 747 will likely outlive the A380. Makes me wonder why Airbus didn't design the A380 to be an effective freighter as well.

    20+ yrs ago same thing happened in the automotive world when Ford released the Excursion to be a bigger Suburban competitor. It just happened to be too big and went out with a whimper, while the Suburban lives on.

    That said, I will miss the A380 when they all eventually die out. I wonder if the next big thing, the 777x, will recapture some of the glamour that the A380 had.

    1. Hoosier in Paradise New Member

      It was due to cost and schedule considerations at the time that resulted in the EADS decision not to develop a freighter A380 and focus solely on the passenger version.

  15. Mark Olsen Guest

    I'd vote more for a redesigned 747 than the A-380.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      The final copies of the B747 are rolling off the assembly line soon; it was a far more successful aircraft than the A380 but an aircraft that large isn't even wanted. Orders of the largest version - the 747-8 - were largely for the freighter model.

  16. Niko_jas Guest

    If the A380 works so well for Emirates but it's no longer being built why don't they buy up the used and unwanted A380s lying around?

    1. DCYukon Guest

      They probably will -for spare parts.

    2. Steven Elliott Guest

      If you read the article - Clarke talks about “new” improved composite made aircraft that are more fuel efficient , why would he be wanting to purchase old aircraft …….

    3. Nick Guest

      They almost certainly will.

  17. Luke Guest

    Question for anyone with knowledge on the subject - how recyclable are the composite materials used on the new-gen aircraft (e.g. A350 / B787)?
    While planes need to be lighter to use less fuel, their materials also need to be sustainable, i.e. easily recycled and reused infinitely (cradle-to-cradle rather than cradle-to-grave).
    For example, can the composite fuselage material of a 787 be recycled/reused like the metal fuselage from a 747? Or is it...

    Question for anyone with knowledge on the subject - how recyclable are the composite materials used on the new-gen aircraft (e.g. A350 / B787)?
    While planes need to be lighter to use less fuel, their materials also need to be sustainable, i.e. easily recycled and reused infinitely (cradle-to-cradle rather than cradle-to-grave).
    For example, can the composite fuselage material of a 787 be recycled/reused like the metal fuselage from a 747? Or is it like one of those composite water cartons, which appear better than a plastic bottle but have a plastic lining which is difficult to separate and therefore hard to recycle?

    1. Lisa Guest

      Less recyclable than aluminum, but not trash. There is a massive effort in the industry to find different uses for byproducts and scrap material and that has been moderately successful. If you want to see some applications look into chopped fiber.

    2. VE Guest

      None of the composite of A350 and B787 are recyclable since most of them are thermosetting composites. There might be some tiny fraction of thermoplastic in those A350 & B787, but it's just negligible.

      There is currently no such thing as "scalable recycling" of thermoset plastic except probably in some niche trial in academic research lab. Currently after the lifecycle end of these A350 / B787, either they have to be reused in smaller part...

      None of the composite of A350 and B787 are recyclable since most of them are thermosetting composites. There might be some tiny fraction of thermoplastic in those A350 & B787, but it's just negligible.

      There is currently no such thing as "scalable recycling" of thermoset plastic except probably in some niche trial in academic research lab. Currently after the lifecycle end of these A350 / B787, either they have to be reused in smaller part or simply incinerated. The bad part of using thermoset for reuse is that they can't be (re)-formed due to the polymer chain entanglement, so you have to think about any reuse application that has a similar shape / form to that of either aircraft wing or fuselage.

  18. Prithvi Bhushan Prabhakar Guest

    A380 may not be a solution in the near future as airlines are struggling to cope with the competition.

  19. Tim Dunn Diamond

    Emirates designed a model-busting network design with massive amounts of capacity flowing THROUGH Dubai. No other airline was willing to do that in their hubs because that much capacity depresses revenues below cost, something a mature airline cannot do.
    Covid provided a hard reset for the global airline industry and it is doubtful that any global airline is going to allow near as much demand to spill to the Middle East carriers; the current...

    Emirates designed a model-busting network design with massive amounts of capacity flowing THROUGH Dubai. No other airline was willing to do that in their hubs because that much capacity depresses revenues below cost, something a mature airline cannot do.
    Covid provided a hard reset for the global airline industry and it is doubtful that any global airline is going to allow near as much demand to spill to the Middle East carriers; the current huge demand is not necessarily indicative of the future as markets reopen. The closure (by airline and country choice) of Russian airspace does give the ME airlines an advantage but there are solutions for other airlines that will be refined in the airspace closures remain permanent.

    The A380 was a vanity project for Airbus and it was a given that it would become less commercially viable than even the L1011 which was an equally impressive plane in its time.

  20. D3kingg Guest

    I don’t see a redesign of an a380 with the efficiency of a 787. Unless they can design a lighter version of the a380 with only 2 engines. I don’t see it.

    The planes in the 2050s will be all single aisle ultra ultra long range.

  21. JOJO Guest

    Boeing can always make a 777-10 by adding a few plugs front and rear

  22. Scudder Diamond

    How long before DL picks up some used ones for MCO-ATL?

  23. Love to Fly Guest

    Tim Clark needs to come back to the real world and realize the A380 is dead. When Airbus first introduce the idea of a fully double decker airplane they envisioned they would sell somewhere between 550-700 frames world wide perhaps more. The envisioned a program that would last 40 to 50 years instead the program was retired in 2021. According to multiple articles the development cost for the A380 program cost 30 Billion Euros and...

    Tim Clark needs to come back to the real world and realize the A380 is dead. When Airbus first introduce the idea of a fully double decker airplane they envisioned they would sell somewhere between 550-700 frames world wide perhaps more. The envisioned a program that would last 40 to 50 years instead the program was retired in 2021. According to multiple articles the development cost for the A380 program cost 30 Billion Euros and some articles claim the bulk of that money actually came from European taxpayers. And people are still debating if the A380 was a success or failure economically. Some argue it was a success because Airbus took the lessons learned from the A380 program and applied them to the A350 program. While others argue if you look at the A380 as a stand alone program it was a complete failure and waist of money. If Airbus hasn't recouped the money invested in the current A380 I don't see them reviving the program no matter how vocal Tim Clark becomes.

  24. Jim Guest

    The A380 was designed on the assumption that Heathrow would be the model going forward: extremely tightly congested hubs where slots are a precious commodity and maximizing slot efficiency is king. This would be due to the general difficulty in expanding major airports in most Western countries for cost and political reasons.

    The problem for the A380 is that isn't how things turned out. Growing markets in Asia and the Middle East have generally had...

    The A380 was designed on the assumption that Heathrow would be the model going forward: extremely tightly congested hubs where slots are a precious commodity and maximizing slot efficiency is king. This would be due to the general difficulty in expanding major airports in most Western countries for cost and political reasons.

    The problem for the A380 is that isn't how things turned out. Growing markets in Asia and the Middle East have generally had no problem expanding or building entirely new airports to avoid congestion. Even the more established Asian airports like Changi have been quick to expand, while China and the gulf states have been happy to build entire new airports at the drop of a hat to meet demand passenger projections decades into the future.

    Meanwhile, the 787 and A350 have cut a lot of the hub traffic off at the knees in North American and European markets where congestion is at its worst. Many of these markets were already optimizing for high-frequency narrowbody flights rather than lower-frequency widebody flights, and growth in these markets just hasn't been all that huge (relative to other markets). This is why none of the North American carriers showed any serious interest and even the European carriers barely got their toes wet.

    There no longer appear to be any major, lasting structural changes to the aviation industry in the currently foreseeable future that would encourage the development of new super-jumbos. As much as Clark likes to talk about range and capacity per aircraft, the workhorses of most airlines (aside from Emirates!) aren't their 787s, 777s, A350s, or A330s, it's their 737s and A320s. These planes are much less of a financial risk and much easier to reallocate and substitute than bigger planes. The market for Emirates clones (flag carriers that fly almost exclusively long-haul international routes to distant major hubs)

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      "This is why none of the North American carriers showed any serious interest"

      Well, no. The main reason by far that N.American carriers never showed any interest whatsoever, is because their traffic flow is spread over multiple large hubs, none of which have the concentration to profitably fill an A380.

      IINM, LH was the only A380 purchaser with more than 1 large full-service intercontinental gateway hub.

      Perhaps one could make the argument for BA...

      "This is why none of the North American carriers showed any serious interest"

      Well, no. The main reason by far that N.American carriers never showed any interest whatsoever, is because their traffic flow is spread over multiple large hubs, none of which have the concentration to profitably fill an A380.

      IINM, LH was the only A380 purchaser with more than 1 large full-service intercontinental gateway hub.

      Perhaps one could make the argument for BA and AF, even though their LGW/ORY longhaul networks are primarily leisure-focused O&D: the exact opposite of what one would generally want to use an A380 for.

      All the rest funnel everything they have, unto a single point of connection. That'd never work for the N.American carriers, which is why the A380 would've never worked for any of them.

    2. LEo Diamond

      CZ? CZ have CAN and then PEK as hubs, however, it's true that CZ never actually wanted them

  25. AnishReddi New Member

    What's your take on a new superjumbo

  26. Reyyan Member

    BA is filling up those A380’s like crazy to and from the US. I believe there is definitely demand in some markets since air travel will only increase in the future.

    1. Eve Guest

      That’s true but the question is whether those “demands”, which I don’t see being that high is enough for Airbus to build a whole new programme. I doubt that

      A few orders for a few dozen aircrafts from various airlines and maybe 50-100 from Emirates isn’t enough to justify investing billions on it again. The A380 was already very niché and it did struggle becoming a value proposition for many of its customers

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      But nothing you said rebuts what's long-since been the problem with this model: it works well for 1 or 2 airlines in unique situations (DXB + LHR), but was a fiscal disaster for just about every other airline who had it.

      AF for example, couldn't WAIT to get rid of their A380s. Yet I tried getting a nonstop from CDG to LAX or LAX-via-SFO (both of which previously saw the AF A380) last week, and...

      But nothing you said rebuts what's long-since been the problem with this model: it works well for 1 or 2 airlines in unique situations (DXB + LHR), but was a fiscal disaster for just about every other airline who had it.

      AF for example, couldn't WAIT to get rid of their A380s. Yet I tried getting a nonstop from CDG to LAX or LAX-via-SFO (both of which previously saw the AF A380) last week, and every single flight for two days was oversold. Had to route via JFK (another A380 route) which also ended up selling out slightly after my ticket was altered.

    3. Euro Aviation Guest

      Then surely in some markets air travel will experience another recession. It's not, "if," but "when." Surely airlines forecast holistically over an airframe's lifespan. If they hadn't then we can guess they do now.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Jim Guest

The A380 was designed on the assumption that Heathrow would be the model going forward: extremely tightly congested hubs where slots are a precious commodity and maximizing slot efficiency is king. This would be due to the general difficulty in expanding major airports in most Western countries for cost and political reasons. The problem for the A380 is that isn't how things turned out. Growing markets in Asia and the Middle East have generally had no problem expanding or building entirely new airports to avoid congestion. Even the more established Asian airports like Changi have been quick to expand, while China and the gulf states have been happy to build entire new airports at the drop of a hat to meet demand passenger projections decades into the future. Meanwhile, the 787 and A350 have cut a lot of the hub traffic off at the knees in North American and European markets where congestion is at its worst. Many of these markets were already optimizing for high-frequency narrowbody flights rather than lower-frequency widebody flights, and growth in these markets just hasn't been all that huge (relative to other markets). This is why none of the North American carriers showed any serious interest and even the European carriers barely got their toes wet. There no longer appear to be any major, lasting structural changes to the aviation industry in the currently foreseeable future that would encourage the development of new super-jumbos. As much as Clark likes to talk about range and capacity per aircraft, the workhorses of most airlines (aside from Emirates!) aren't their 787s, 777s, A350s, or A330s, it's their 737s and A320s. These planes are much less of a financial risk and much easier to reallocate and substitute than bigger planes. The market for Emirates clones (flag carriers that fly almost exclusively long-haul international routes to distant major hubs)

4
Mike Guest

Not defending the dates business class seats or anything, but that’s precisely what makes him brilliant. Making your airline to be considered one of the world’s best, and filling every single seat (at least on the Emirates flights I have taken this year) demonstrates that he does have a very unique ability.

3
M.Webb Guest

Ben - you state “Emirates President Tim Clark is one of the brightest and most reasonable guys in the airline industry. When he talks, it’s worth listening”. When their primary aircraft (777) in business class seats five (5) across in a 2-3-2 configuration with angled seats, a middle seat and no direct isle access, and hasn’t been updated in a decade, and Clark absolutely has no plans to do so, how can you call him “one of the brightest guys on the industry”????

3
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,788,713 Miles Traveled

27,627,500 Words Written

32,315 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT