A380Neo or -900 – Which would you bet on?

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore December 16, 2014 21:54

A380Neo or -900 – Which would you bet on?

When the A380 was launched and the cost of the program became clear you might recall that I wrote a string of editorials detailing the fact that this would go down as a massive loss for Airbus. It was clear then, as it is now, that the A380 would never get close to running in profit for Airbus. The airframe manufacturer is admitting as much these days. The story of the A380 when it comes to airlines though is very different. Except for the first run aircraft that had a fair few problems in store for the airlines which received them, on the main the aircraft has proved itself to be a huge success driving premium revenue and increasing load factors on just about every route it has been deployed on.

So now as Airbus bows to the inevitable and upgrades to an A380Neo under extreme pressure from Emirates (caused by Rolls Royce and its – wow look what we can do pitch – well done to them), we have to admit that in a low fuel cost environment the economics of the A380 and its four engines are looking good so a Neo version would be most impressive if it was rolling off of the lines by 2018. The launch of the A380 also forced a reaction from Boeing in the form of the 747-8I which has bombed to a point where production has to slowed to a crawl and will most likely cease before long. After looking at the cargo interest in the 747-8 because of the ability to raise the nose of the aircraft one wonders if Airbus should not go for a complete nose redesign for any new A380 so as to give the aircraft a serious future in the air cargo market, in the process giving the aircraft a secure life well beyond the first tier airlines, not to mention possible freighter orders from the outset. Airbus have in the here and now a chance to not only re-engine the A380 but also secure the aircraft as an option which many sitting on the fence in the here and now would be compelled to move for. The question is this: Does Airbus has the gumption to answer all of the A380 questions in full and create a winner? It has spent so very much on the aircraft to date that the only logical argument can be to spend a bit more to make the aircraft a real winner. We will have to wait and see what 2015 brings. But let us hope it is a bit less A380Neo short termism thinking and a bit more A380-900.

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore December 16, 2014 21:54