Airbus A380neo back on the board as Emirates eyes 20-strong order

By Bloomberg News, June 8 2017

Emirates, the biggest operator of the Airbus A380 superjumbo, is in talks about the purchase of 20 more of the double-decker jets in a move that could extend the lifespan of a program dogged by slow sales, people familiar with the discussions said.

The contract would be worth US$8.7 billion before discounts, though negotiations are at an early stage and it hasn’t been established exactly how many aircraft the Persian Gulf carrier requires, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are private.

Airbus might also be required to commit to measures to make the A380 more efficient before a deal is signed.

Dubai-based Emirates could reach an agreement to acquire the planes before the end of 2017 for deliveries starting in 2020, two people said. That would hand Airbus a lifeline in maintaining production at a level where it can break even on each jet, after the company warned this week it would have to cut output further in the absence of new orders this year.

Performance gains

Emirates, the world’s leading long-haul carrier, is by far the biggest buyer and operator of the A380, with orders for more than 140 planes configured for 489 to 615 seats.

Tim Clark, the airline’s president, had indicated that it would buy as many as 200 more superjumbos if Airbus and engine supplier Rolls-Royce agreed to develop an upgraded version equipped with more efficient turbines.

That’s something the planemaker is reluctant to do given the lack of demand from other carriers, though Emirates is still pushing for performance improvements, according to one of the people.

The purchase under discussion, which could be split between firm orders and options, may be intended to replace A380s on leases that are set to expire in coming years, rather than to boost capacity at a time when regional demand is at a low ebb.

Emirates will decide in 2018 whether to extend those leases or dispose of the aircraft into the second-hand market, one person said.

Emirates said an email it has no plans “at this time” to buy more A380s, though regularly engages with manufacturers on “product updates and enhancement of current and future aircraft.” A spokesman for Toulouse, France-based Airbus said it doesn’t comment on confidential client discussions.

Sluggish sales

Airbus sold no superjumbos in 2016 after Iran scrapped an outline deal, and Didier Evrard, the company’s head of programs, said Monday that a decision would need to be taken on how best to slow output below the level of one plane a month that it said last year should be sustainable from 2018.

Sales chief John Leahy, speaking with Evrard, said Airbus remained in talks that could secure fresh commitments for the A380. He added that he hadn’t given up on maintaining the agreed build rate, which is intended to prolong the program until a hoped-for revival in demand for bigger jets fired by Asian economic growth and crowded runways at major hubs.

While Airbus delivered 27 superjumbo aircraft in 2015 and 28 last year, the dearth of orders had reduced the backlog to 107 planes as of April 30. Some of those orders may be vulnerable to cancellation or deferral. Adding 20 aircraft to the tally would therefore help sustain the program only in the short-term.

05 May 2016

Total posts 526

If the A380 could be made more fuel efficient and get a bit longer range or be viable to fly with lower loads that would certainly help.

I don't think QANTAS will get any more of these planes unfortunately even if improvements are made.
Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 400

By far the best flying experience of any aircraft to date.

04 Jun 2017

Total posts 11

I agree, Emirates A380 super jumbos are awesome to travel on. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Nov 2013

Total posts 14

People forget that the Boeing 747's sales only improved with each development of the jet. The 100 series only sold about 200 frames. The current A380 has wings built for a longer fuselage and if a new longer model is produced the cost per seat would drop and compete strongly with the long range twin jets. Another factor in favour of the A380 is the growing number of major airports with a shrinking number of slots will need airlines to use larger aircraft to accommodate the increasing number of air travellers.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 108

Such a shame.. this aircraft came too early when airports do not absolutely need them.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 451

Too early?  You mean too late.  The era of such big aircraft is unfortunately coming to an end.

09 Jun 2017

Total posts 16

I avoid the A380 if I can - too unreliable with long delays. I am yet to have a flight that is on time. An Emirates flight I was on out of Melbourne - we boarded and deplaned twice before we were eventually allocated to other flights. I found out later the aircraft stayed on the ground in Melbourne for 5 days. Heathrow slaps Qantas with fines regularly for missing slots.
It's VA for me to the USA - by far the best seats and service.
For Europe  - CX or SQ 777 flights. I find the 777 to be a great aircraft with the front cabins very quiet without almost entire decks (A380) configured Business class.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 May 2017

Total posts 18

Underwhelmed in A380 economy with Qantas from LHR to MELB. Airspeed unimpressive. Noisy in rear seats. Dilution of cabin crew to passengers strained. Enforced daytime darkness the whole stretch Dubai to Melb. Possible extra space was wasted by tight seating.

 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 327

Reliability of the A380 is not great. And QF has them timetabled so tightly so when there is any sort of issue, it throws the timetable into chaos. 
Yes love this. Would force Airbus to build the new technology thus having physcial aircraft to promote the Neos new beneifts. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2014

Total posts 52

On the topic of reliability, I recall Richard de Crespigny (QF32 captain) saying in his book that the 747 had similar issues when it was launched. I've flown the A380 around 10 times and only 2 were delayed which wasn't too bad.
As others have said, the A380 is one of (if not the) most comfortable aircraft to fly in. You can barely hear the engines spool up on takeoff! 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Sep 2013

Total posts 3

I reckon A380 is one of the most quiet aircraft to fly in, it is quieter than 787 and more stable. Hopefully i can fly in SIA's A350 soon for comparison

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

I am just curious where is second-hand market for this behemoth? EK operates almost half of them, so I question what will happens if EK decides steer away from A380 (unlikely) or collapse altogether (also unlikely) or simply start to dispose them because they became too old (will happens eventually)? Who will buy them and what residual value they will hold? It is normal practice when manufacture buying planes back to convert them into cargo planes, but cargo variant of A380 only exist on paper. So any sharp move from EK may spell end of the program in one single day.
From other hand it is clear trend in current aviation to operate smaller more efficient two-engines plastic-fantastic planes like B787 or A350 - smaller plane make it easier to schedule necessarily seats capacity and run more than one flight (i.e. making morning and evening flights catering for different requirements)  and with growing demand from public to fly from point A to point B bypassing big hubs this trend will only grow.
So in my eyes future of A380 is quite murky.

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