Airbus Kills off the A380, last plane due in 2021

 
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Many in the industry said years ago before it even hit the skys that it is going against industry trends with Boeing also of the same view that the future is in twin jets and only kept the B747 program going more for its freighter customers than passenger. The last passenger B747 left the assembly line a year or so ago. You'd have to wonder with shrinking 747 orders what sort of presentation the guys did to the board to get it approved.

...

Tough times ahead for Airbus!
I think you're being a bit too generous to Boeing here - they went into the 748 with a pretty strong passenger commitment, but i think what serendipitously worked for them is that the 747 design has the range and strength to also do freight, whereas the A380 was designed for passenger only and freight was never a serious consideration in the A380 design.  IMO Boeing lucked in that they could still make freighters, but even so, the 777 freighters can do a better job and with he numbers of second hand 777s coming up soon, id be thinking that a P2F program will also come,

Also, I think Airbus are now looking better.  Without the A380 to focus on they can tweak the A350 into longer range variants that don't have to work about competing with the A380.  So many resources in the A380 program can now be thrown at the A350 (and A330/A220 to some extent) and really make those frames work well.
Fair points

Additional comments

Boeing knew the 747 pax was on borrowed time. They had previously gone to the market and asked about a fully DD 747 and got limited interest that didn't justify the cost. The 747-8i seating is only marginal (10% more) increase over the 777 and the airlines were telling them 2 engines are cheaper than 4.

So if you want a 4 engine plane to stack up on economics it needs to be +600, maybe even 700 people. No one wants a 3 engine plane so that's out and building a DD plane with 4 x GE90's (777 engine) hanging off it would probably see the wing structural engineers run for cover. To go for an engine between that of 747 and 777 forces the engine suppliers to invest in new model engine designed for one plane, read cost.

I suspect the 47 or so orders they got for the 747-8i was purely by airlines that couldn't get a A380 in the time frame needed, adding to their existing 747 fleet, and/or not comfortable with such a large investment or confidence for Airbus to deliver in time and this was true as the A380 was delayed a few years.

For Boeing the 747-8i was a low risk investment. They had the basic tried and trusted platform design from 747-400 and they had an existing a reliable customer base for the Freighter version to under write some of the investment required for the 747-8i. They also knew that there would be a few orders at least for Presidential planes, both US and foreign especially if word got out the 747 production is coming to an end as many heads of state will only travel in four engine planes and the A380 is too over the top. As it was the Boeing 747 manufacturing rate was actually linked to the expected US Presidential planes required in originally 2023 to 2025 with these two planes likely the end of the 747 production. However this changed when the Air Force agreed to use the two unsold planes that have never left Boeing's custody which will now be partially dismantled and rebuilt some enormous cost (I assume nothing changed on this).

Additional evidence that Boeing did not see a bright future for the 747 is that the 747 was never part of their Yellowstone project, ie three new cleansheet air-frames by 2030. 787, 777-X and a new 737. However it looks like it will now be four new airframes with Boeing investigating a new 767 to take on the A330.

Anyway, it looks like there are about 20 more 747's to build at roughly one every 2mths and that will be it. I was at Boeing in 2003 and they were building then one every 6 days, down from 2-3 week and they thought that was slow.

The problem with the A350, is how much more tweaking does it have left in it, its only a few metres shorter than 777. Can yu extend without the tail hitting on take off? Not challenging, just asking.
RTT_Rules
Also many fair points and none that I disagree with.  I didn't note above that IMO the 748 was in many ways a spoiler by Boeing to try and mud the A380 market.  Perhaps it worked by keeping it at the size it is.  We might never know.

Re A350 - I've avoided the threads on that at airliners.net but might have to dive in now and see what it's about.  From what I know about QF's project Sunrise it is not as large as the 777 but comes close and so might be able to occupy a niche below that and above the A330 which is itself just above the 787 fleets.  There are many subypes in this category, and perhaps the solution is to go smaller with the A350 and do away with making new A330 models thereby dominating that size range?

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  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
The fun is really going to start when airlines try to sell off the A380's that they no longer want. Qantas, for example, usually has no trouble selling it's older aircraft due to the airline's immaculate maintenance record. But, and a big but, to date Qantas surplus has comprised aircraft that others want. I doubt that this happy state of affairs will continue unless the A380's can be easily converted to freighters.
Posted by someone else that A380's will make horrible freighters as the upper deck floor cannot be removed, so no point, may as well use a 777 or 747. Still some may end up as freighters, but "some", being the key word, as there will be around 270 odd A380's made. A few will crash by 2030, a few used for parts, a few used for freighters, the rest.....
RTT_Rules
Qatar is just going to scrap theirs full stop when they get 777X's in the mid 2020's.

A380's are largely unsuitable for freight, full stop.

Aan the 3 Hifly lease A380's aren't doing that well with Norwegian Airlines.....
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
The fun is really going to start when airlines try to sell off the A380's that they no longer want. Qantas, for example, usually has no trouble selling it's older aircraft due to the airline's immaculate maintenance record. But, and a big but, to date Qantas surplus has comprised aircraft that others want. I doubt that this happy state of affairs will continue unless the A380's can be easily converted to freighters.
Posted by someone else that A380's will make horrible freighters as the upper deck floor cannot be removed, so no point, may as well use a 777 or 747. Still some may end up as freighters, but "some", being the key word, as there will be around 270 odd A380's made. A few will crash by 2030, a few used for parts, a few used for freighters, the rest.....
Qatar is just going to scrap theirs full stop when they get 777X's in the mid 2020's.

A380's are largely unsuitable for freight, full stop.

Aan the 3 Hifly lease A380's aren't doing that well with Norwegian Airlines.....
speedemon08
I think the A380 will follow the A340, young retirements in the hope to sell them for parts but reality most parts went un sold and in the end many A340's were scrapped before their 12th birthday largely for their metal content only.

I didn't know Qatar will just scrap them outright, any links to this?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Also many fair points and none that I disagree with.  I didn't note above that IMO the 748 was in many ways a spoiler by Boeing to try and mud the A380 market.  Perhaps it worked by keeping it at the size it is.  We might never know.

Re A350 - I've avoided the threads on that at airliners.net but might have to dive in now and see what it's about.  From what I know about QF's project Sunrise it is not as large as the 777 but comes close and so might be able to occupy a niche below that and above the A330 which is itself just above the 787 fleets.  There are many subypes in this category, and perhaps the solution is to go smaller with the A350 and do away with making new A330 models thereby dominating that size range?
james.au
Boeing had the means to not simply hand over the Jumbo market on a plate, (again, like they did with B767 to A330), so why not. There was low risk with the B747-8 platform design costs, so why not put the B747-8i on the market. However i think I've read Boeing also expected to sell more than they did and didn't appreciate the rapid change to twins as much as it was. As I said before, the A340 was dropped like a stone with many planes going to the graveyard with barely mid life hours.

https://www.ausbt.com.au/qantas-ceo-dials-back-project-sunrise-expectations
Seems Project sunrise is now between A350-1000 and B777-8X but no longer a requirement for +300 seats.

Will be interesting who wins this race.
  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
The boss of Qatar has come out and said there is no used-A380 market, even Singapore scrapped 2 of theirs because nobody wants the Abysmal Airbus..

We don’t see any secondary market opportunity. There are ex-Singapore Airlines A380 jets that nobody wants, and this year, there will be aircraft available to the second-hand market from Emirates

Source
The Boss of Qatar Airways




EDIT1+2: Fixed the quote syntax...Apparently it doesn't like capital letters in the tags!
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
The boss of Qatar has come out and said there is no used-A380 market, even Singapore scrapped 2 of theirs because nobody wants the Abysmal Airbus..

We don’t see any secondary market opportunity. There are ex-Singapore Airlines A380 jets that nobody wants, and this year, there will be aircraft available to the second-hand market from Emirates

Source
The Boss of Qatar Airways
KRviator
Thanks, an interesting read with interesting links.

It would appear the A380 demise is going to be fast, the opposite to what was first speculated. Likely by 2025, most of them will be grounded with only 100 or so being made post 2015.

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