Why is Airbus not successful with the A380?

There are a few reasons that have nothing to do with the plane.

Airbus has been working on the idea of developing a competing product for the 747 since 1988.

They also wanted to be able to offer aircraft for every category of 100 passengers up to 400 or more.

Many designs were studied, the airlines were interviewed. (e.g. Lufthansa, Qantas, British Airways, Emirates, etc.)

Most airlines wanted the largest possible aircraft because the main airports were pushing the limits of capacity.

For example, Heathrow, Los Angeles cannot be enlarged at will.

Therefore, the aim of the A380 was to operate a hub to hub system and thus relieve traffic by fewer aircraft, but with more seats.

A plane with many seats also promises lower costs per passenger.

As a result, Airbus developed an aircraft that was much larger than the 747.

With 500-800 seats, it promised unmatched efficiency for airlines.

(named CASM Cost Available Seat Mile)

This efficiency has also reached the A380 and has the lowest CASM of all current commercial aircraft.(The planned A380 -900 would have been unbeatable even for the next decades as far as CASM is concerned)

The A380-900 was even considered in the design of the 800, so with little modification the A380 can be converted to 900 version.

The wings are already prepared for the 900 version.

Only the additional weight affected fuel efficiency.

Maintenance and fuel costs on the A380 are also higher than for a normal aircraft.

But with from about 67% occupancy you can operate the aircraft profitably.

Airbus’s original plan was to recover development costs with 300 pre-orders and 100 reorders.

It also seemed at first that the plan was going to work.

The plan was first for a passenger version and then for the development of the cargo version.

Because UPS and Fedex were enthusiastic about an A380 cargo version and wanted to buy about 30 aircraft.

During the construction of the first prototype F-WOWW, it was discovered that the cables were not long enough.

It was quickly found that the fault was in the development.

Germany relied on CATIA 4, while the rest of Europe worked on CATIA 5 software.The conversion resulted in an error that miscalculated the length of the cables.

Since the A380 is the most complex aircraft, it was a mammoth task for 530km of cables to redesign the entire electrical system and rewire the aircraft.

This resulted in a delay of years, and Airbus had to pay billions of dollars in compensation to the airlines due to a delay in delivery,

Eventually, Airbus decided to cancel the cargo variant.As a result, there were fewer buyers.

This increased the cost of development to a total of EUR 15-17 billion.

To recover this sum, Airbus has to sell more than 700 aircraft.

During the development of the A380, ETOPS was not so widespread.

ETOPS allows aircraft to fly long distances over water with only two engines.

As a result, two jet jets became popular with airlines, allowing flights to operate smaller airports instead of just from hub to hub.

There are examples where this works, e.g. Zurich is served by Singapore Airlines instead of 2 x 777-300ER per day with an A380.

But the airlines mainly buy twin-engine aircraft, which have much less maintenance costs and can be used more flexibly.

You can’t make an aircraft of any size, the A380 is already difficult for a single manufacturer to handle.

Boeing would almost have gone bust because of the 747.

Technically, the A380 is a miracle at all.Many new technologies have been integrated into the aircraft over 400 patents have emerged from it.

The A350 and A400M have benefited greatly from this.

Contrary to public opinion, the A380 is very economical in fuel consumption for a 4-jet aircraft.

Thanks to the A380, the fuel consumption per passenger could be reduced to less than 4 liters to 100/km for the first time.

One thing is clear, however, that the A380 was not built to satisfy any European pride.

Because more than 10 billion euros and the future of the company is not bet out of pride.

Leave a Reply