back to article Airbus warns it could quit A380 production

Airbus has reported its most prolific year to date in terms of deliveries, but also warned that it needs a new buyer of its flagship A380 if it is to continue production. Speaking at its annual “Orders and Deliveries” event yesterday, the plane-maker said it delivered 718 passenger craft last year, four more than its previous …

  1. PhilipN Silver badge

    "no choice but to shut down the program"

    Poor choice of words which gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

      Or allowing Airbus to play the "No, that's our final offer. Accept it or we walk away from any further production" move.

      The question of course is wheather or not Emirates believe they really would do that.

      I kind of think they might.

      1. tahafarooq

        Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

        Emirates can always play the "give us what we want or we shift everything to Boeing" card. The fact that Emirates Airline is the only one interested in the A380, proves that Airbus doesn't know how to sell its flagship product.

        1. Steve Todd

          Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

          No, they can’t. Firstly Boeing have discontinued the 747 and now don’t make anything remotely close to the capacity of the A380. Secondly retraining their pilots and maintenance staff to whatever they replace them with would be hugely expensive.

          Adding to that, Emirates is not the only customer, it’s just the largest.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

            747-8 remains in production in both passenger and freighter forms at the current time - which a cursory check would have shown you....

            1. anothercynic Silver badge

              Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

              The 747-8 in passenger configuration is down to 5 examples in the pipeline, and the only real options on the table are the VIP versions (i.e. Air Force One's two examples plus some... ahem... Middle Eastern customers). The freight version on the other hand *is* still available and there's a good backlog.

              1. imanidiot Silver badge

                Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

                There is basically no demand for passenger 747's. Boeing will be happy to build you a batch if you order more than 5 or so at at time, or pay through the nose for a custom "private jet" version, but almost all of what is in the order book is freighter versions.

                I think Airbus just gambled and lost. There is little to no demand for A380 sized airliners and demand will never pick up. A350/Boeing 777 class twins are large enough and much more economic to operate for most airlines who struggle to even fill those.

                1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                  Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

                  "There is little to no demand for A380 sized airliners and demand will never pick up."

                  There are specific niches for them, especially as most major airlines have retired 747s over the last 5 years. bear in mind that the market for large transports is so low that only ~1600 747s have ever been built (compare with a combined backlog of more than 12,000 aircraft on the 737+A320 lines)

                  Fuel prices have been amazingly low for the last decade and are showing signs of coming back up. I was expecting oil to snap through $200/barrel when the price wars finally stopped - that hasn't happened but it's likely to, at which point economy minded fliers will gravitate to the hub+spoke model and forgo the time savings.

                  1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                    Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

                    "Fuel prices have been amazingly low for the last decade and are showing signs of coming back up. I was expecting oil to snap through $200/barrel when the price wars finally stopped"

                    That's because the price wars haven't really stopped, only paused as suppliers are keeping themselves in check. And don't forget the work into synthetic fuel production (being conducted by the US Navy, who always have a fuel issue).

                    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                      Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

                      "don't forget the work into synthetic fuel production"

                      I'm not. It's unlikely to end up costing less than $300/barrel simply because if it's not done with algae then it's competing with food production (eg, jatophra) and there's not enough space in the agricultural market for that to be more than niche production.

                      In the long term we're going to need a nuclear economy - preferably molten salt for safety (20 years to commercialise) until fusion is ready (I think 100-150 years to commercialise, realistically) - and if you have molten salt nuclear tech then you have the heat to run a haber process to crack water to H2 and enough energy to tack on carbon atoms for easy handling whilst you're at it (ie, carbon neutral kerosene).

                      Carbon emissions are already well past the 2C tipping point and we're on track for 4C - the real danger isn't sea level rises though. People can move. Ocean acidification blowing the food chains apart and/or an anoxic event dropping global atmospheric oxygen levels down to 12-15% is the real thing to worry about. Our hungry brains can't handle low oxygen levels and our cardiopulmonary system tends to clog up if exposed to prolonged low oxygen levels, as the primary human body response is to increase haemoglobin levels by thickening the blood - which makes it much harder to pump around.

                      When you look at it that way, the chinese government's crash program of investigating every alternative to carbon and building a shedload of PWR/CANDU nukes in the meantime makes sense - whatever they find that works will need to be made available to developing countries at low cost as they can more than make up the any reductions the developed countries may make. Human nature means that when the shit hits the fan it will already be too late to make reductions vs going cold turkey. If/when LFTRs are ready they can eat the PWR waste.

                      It'd be even better and things would proceed faster if everyone put aside their differences and concentrated on getting LFTR/MSRs out the door asap. Whilst they have some downsides they're not as big a set of downsides as PWR nuclear power and we can't afford to sit around procrastinating.

            2. Johnr

              Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

              Airbus made a BIG mistake

              Boeing looked at the market when Airbus was designing the A-380 and said ...NAH

              We don't think that the market is going this way . We'll stick with the 747 that people will buy it up as the price drops. People want Non stop twin aisles not great fat ugly buses.

              I had the misfortune to fly an Air France A380 from Paris to Miami . Friggin horror show even with the "premium" coach . A glorified cattle car guaranteed to cripple you within 4 hrs of the 10hr flight . The ingress and egress was akin to the aforementioned cattle car not to mention the three carousels of luggage to deal with the 500 hapless souls and their 2 bags per

              1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

                Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

                Boeing looked at the market when Airbus was designing the A-380 and said ...NAH

                My understanding is that it wasn't because the concept was flawed; it was that the market wasn't big enough for a second option.

                1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                  Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

                  " it was that the market wasn't big enough for a second option."

                  Which is exactly the reason that the L1011 and DC10/11 failed and took the manufacturers with them.

                  The difference is that the A380 is a halo craft of a range being sold and the farm isn't being bet on it. Airbus can afford to keep it as a low volume item as its presence sells the smaller birds.

              2. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

                "I had the misfortune to fly an Air France A380 from Paris to Miami . "

                You mean you had the misfortune to fly Air France. BTDTGTTS - they're awful no matter which aircraft they may plonk you on.

            3. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

              "747-8 remains in production"

              But I think you'll find it difficult to place an order for any more to be added to the queue unless you buy a bunch of them and don't mind waiting 6 years.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

          Emirates need Airbus to continue production to ensure availability of replacement aircraft when their fleet ages. They just don't need that production capacity right now.

      2. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

        Emirates has already asked Airbus to look at re-engining the A380 (i.e. new engines, better fuel economy and fuel efficiency), but Airbus ruled it out for the current moment because it's not too bad yet. It has been clear that a 'A380neo' is *not* off the table (i.e. if EngineAlliance and Rolls Royce are improving their engines significantly, they'll be interested in doing it.

        Airbus has also gotten into the refurbishment business, and the first Singapore A380s have gone in for a refresher.

        The A380 is not dead *yet*, but like the B747, it's on life support... ;-)

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

          " the first Singapore A380s have gone in for a refresher."

          Bear in mind that the first few A380s off the assembly line were overweight due to the wiring hassles. They're more likely to end up as freighters than to return to revenue passenger service (which should result in them being a bit lighter)

        2. Lars Silver badge

          Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

          "Emirates has already asked Airbus to look at re-engining the A380".

          Airbus doesn't produce engines but use RR and the American brands all doing their best to improve them.

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: Poor choice of words..gives Emirates the opportunity to squeeze the hell out of Airbus.

            'I had the misfortune to fly an Air France A380 from Paris to Miami .'

            The last five words in that sentence are superfluous.

    2. Lars Silver badge
      Go

      Re: "no choice but to shut down the program"

      If you look at airbus.com you find this about the A380.

      Total orders 317, total deliveries 222. aircraft in operation 222. Apparently not quite dead yet, but a niche market looking at the numbers no doubt..

      Also:

      "As of 31 December, Airbus’ overall backlog of jetliners remaining to be delivered stood at 7,265 aircraft – a new industry record."

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    380b?

    Datsun had a 180b

    Maybe they just need a few more buyer options...

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: 380b?

      The Datsun 180b didn't requite you to remodel your garage, it therefore has an advantage over the A380... The A380 is far better looking than the Datsun though,

    2. Holtsmark

      Re: 380b?

      What they need is an A380 NEO.

      The New Engine Option led to savings in fuel consumption that made the extra outlay for the A380 uneconomical.

      Getting ultra high bypass engines (maybe with geared fans) onto the A380 as well as the other aerodynamic refinements that made the NEO such a hit would make the A380 competitive again. The question is: Will it be sufficiently competitive to pay back the investment?

      I am convinced that they are crunching numbers in Toulouse and Hamburg.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: 380b?

        What they need is an A380 NEO.

        Lost in the report is the culprit: 78 A350 WXBs

        This is what is eating the 380's lunch. Unless 380 is improved, the 350 will devour its bigger sibling (especially once the "ridiculously long range" 350 option BA and friends are negotiating for starts shipping).

        1. Michael Jennings

          Re: 380b?

          Just as the 777 in its various versions has pretty much devoured the 747s lunch. Four engined aircraft -

          even very big ones - aren't the way to go at this point.

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: 380b?

          "This is what is eating the 380's lunch. Unless 380 is improved, the 350 will devour its bigger sibling (especially once the "ridiculously long range" 350 option BA and friends are negotiating for starts shipping)."

          Correct me if I'm wrong, but perhaps one of the biggest issues dogging the 380 is that you need special accommodations for it, not just in the runways but at the terminals, whereas B777's and A350's were built to fit within the B747 profile and therefore can fly in placed already built to accommodate 747's and so on without much additional outlay?

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: 380b?

        Nothing really wrong with Trent.

        Already pretty fuel eficient and I bet they are working on improvements.

        Do not need new airframe for a new version of existing engine.

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: 380b?

      Datsun had a 180b

      Ahh, Datsun. Whatever happened to them? Borged/renamed?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 380b?

        Datsun still exists. It's a Nissan brand.

      2. choleric

        Re: 380b?

        Datsun -> Nissan. Basically. Branding for different international markets makes the story a bit more complicated.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 380b?

          It was Datsun in the US - up through the 70's I believe - then rebranded as Nissan. I always wondered why they would rebrand a successful, favorably regarded name.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: 380b?

            Nissan rebadged the Datsuns for the same reason that Mitsubishi rebadged themselves from Colt in some markets - worldwide consistency in marketing.

            In both cases the "brands" that were being used were originally car model names that non-japanese distributors decided to use as brands for various reasons.

            Personally I preferred the Datsun Insult.

            1. Muscleguy Silver badge

              Re: 380b?

              They were Datsuns in Australia and New Zealand too.

            2. Lars Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: 380b?

              "Nissan rebadged the Datsuns for the same reason that Mitsubishi rebadged themselves from Colt in some markets - worldwide consistency in marketing.".

              It was Datsun in Finland too, the first European country to import them (1962) also the first Toyotas came to Finland. I had a 1967 Toyota I bought as second hand, The joke then was "when will you get a real Yota".

              For the name change, why not use the Wiki. (trying and trying to teach you commentards).

              "Datsun is an automobile brand owned by Nissan. Datsun's original production run began in 1931. From 1958 to 1986, only vehicles exported by Nissan were identified as Datsun. By 1986 Nissan had phased out the Datsun name, but re-launched it in June 2013 as the brand for low-cost vehicles manufactured for emerging markets..........".

              Japanese cars came as a shock for car makers around the world, cheep, reliable no fuss cars. It took some time for European producers to recover. The Brits never did although I suppose there was other deep reasons too.

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: 380b?

                "Datsun's original production run began in 1931. "

                The marketing story back in the 70s and 80s was that the original Nissan car was called the DAT (initials of the founders) and the next model was the "Son of DAT", aka Datson and they chose Datsun as looking stylistically better as well as alluding to the land of the rising sun. (which is also where the Sunny name is supposedly derived from)

                https://www.nissan-global.com/EN/HERITAGE/short_story/en_p05-01.html

      3. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: 380b?

        "Ahh, Datsun. Whatever happened to them? Borged/renamed?"

        Try https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datsun

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: 380b?

          " but re-launched it in June 2013 as the brand for low-cost vehicles manufactured for emerging markets.........."."

          Datsun is back? fantastic!

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: 380b?

            'Correct me if I'm wrong, but perhaps one of the biggest issues dogging the 380 is that you need special accommodations for it, not just in the runways but at the terminals, whereas B777's and A350's were built to fit within the B747 profile and therefore can fly in placed already built to accommodate 747's and so on without much additional outlay?'

            Although oddly the latest B777 is going to have folding wingtips to fit in the existing footprint. I think with the A380 the main issue is the jetways to get passengers on and off. It's footprint isn't much more than a B747 but if you want to get people on and off before they die of old age you need upper and lower jetways which nothing else needs.

  3. Ben1892
    Coat

    single-engine A350 ...

    That's going a bit far with the fuel economy isn't it ?

    Yeah I know what you meant, I'm putting it on and already halfway out the door

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: single-engine A350 ...

      The person who needs their coat is the author. I know the Reg can't afford proof readers, or sub-editors, but that puts the onus on the hack to try and make it intelligible. I had to infer that some bloke called "Leahy" is probably AIrbus's COO because it isn't clear.

    2. Holtsmark

      Re: single-engine A350 ...

      The professional term is ETOPS:

      Engine Turns Or Passengers Swim

      1. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: single-engine A350 ...

        And the A350 has the highest ETOPS certification of *any* aircraft *ever*: 6 hours, 10 minutes (ETOPS-370). That's how good RR has made the Trent XWB (*I am not affiliated with Rolls Royce Aircraft Engines of Derby).

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: single-engine A350 ...

          So if Canada were to close a bunch of northern airstrips it only keeps open as emergency diverts - then only the A350 would be able to make a lot of Eu-USA flights and Boeings would have to do a long expensive southern route.

          Boeing has just screwed Canada over with a 50% duty on Bombardier and Airbus has just take Bombardier under its wing...

    3. kcblo

      Re: single-engine A350 ...

      It will never able to obtain an airworthy certificate to fly.

  4. Real Ale is Best
    Happy

    I've really liked the few times I've been on A380. They are quiet and spacious (at least in Economy on Emirates, Singapore and Malaysia), and have been the nicest flights I have been on.

    It's a shame the economics don't work for the airlines.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I agree. I love them. I'm lucky enough to have only flown in business and first on them (not because that's where I usually sit, comrades) on Qatar and Malaysia. They are lovely and quiet, especially upstairs. The Qatar ones are spotless, with a separate bar if you're in the posh cabins. Malaysia's are in poor condition as they can't make the sums work. KL isn't a big destination and there is a lot of competition for those wanting to change planes in that part of the world. They only fly the A380 to Heathrow and often struggle to fill them - the price I got first class for when I used it last year was not a huge amount more than economy on some airlines. Even this isn't going to last long, as they're replacing them with the A350 on this route and are reconfiguring some of their A380s to all-economy with tightly-packed seats, to be used for the Hajj and not much else.

      The big downside with them, and a lot of the newer planes is the fact that they are so quiet. Without the droning of the engines like you get on the 747 for example, you hear everything so it's harder to sleep.

      They do make sense for a lot of routes, particularly those where you are going to have to change planes in the middle of nowhere, like the Middle East. But for most airlines if it's the choice of two A350s or two B787s per day on a route or one A380 they will prefer the former as it provides more choice and the potential for shorter connections. Airlines don't want people sitting around airports either.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Without the droning of the engines

        I like hearing the engine noise. It's a reassurance that the flightline isn't about to go subterranean..

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "Malaysia's are in poor condition as they can't make the sums work"

        That has little to do with the aircraft and a lot to do with the airiline. MAS was struggling and in deep shit for long enough that MH370 (and a bunch of earlier critical safety incidents) happened _because_ of it, not the other way around.

        1. Goldmember

          "... MH370 (and a bunch of earlier critical safety incidents) happened _because_ of it, not the other way around."

          Huh?

          So you've figured out the answer to the biggest aviation mystery in decades? Please do share it with the rest of us.

          Because no-one else alive has a clue what happened to it, aside from finding a few broken pieces and having a very rough idea of which section of the Indian Ocean it's possibly lying in.

          1. anothercynic Silver badge

            @Goldmember

            What Alan is saying is that because Malaysian gained an even worse reputation over MH370 and MH17, and passengers stayed away in droves. The A380 was supposed to give MH capacity and a good prestige aircraft that would be able to drive passenger traffic through Kuala Lumpur, and after the two aircraft incidents, this didn't happen and the jets are costing MH a fortune.

            That said, MH is deploying the A380 between Sydney and KL for the summer, as well as the LHR route (where it will remain throughout).

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            MAS was a dispirited airline in deep financial shit, which had had a bunch of serious incidents in the maintenance shops, including a fire caused by a discarded cigarette in a no smoking area that destroyed a lot of paper records.

            In the weeks leading up to MH370 there were a bunch of serious safety incidents on various flights. Basically their safety was compromised for months and things finally bit them.

            As for that flight - even if the flight recorders are recovered it's entirely possible the exact cause may never be discerned. Noone had anticipated an incident which could disable the crew and leave the aircraft flying for 6-8 hours afterwards, even after the Air Hellas flight showed it can happen.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          >That has little to do with the aircraft and a lot to do with the airiline.

          etc.

          They haven't refreshed them because they are planning to reconfigure/retire them.

  5. jaywin

    It seems to me that part of the problem is they so heavily targeted Emirates to buy the aircraft, that other carriers have been forced into choosing a different strategy than simple capacity to try and compete.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      The middle eastern airlines are ideally placed to use A380s out of a gulf-based central location.

      Other airlines, not so much.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not true, Singapore Airlines is also well placed to use them as is any airline operating a busy route between, say, a major European capital city and New York for example. If you can operate 5 flights instead of 6 per day that leaves a slot open for something else. What the Gulf countries had were new developing airports which meant accommodating the buggers wasn't so difficult. Fitting the big bastard into Heathrow, Changi, or a host of other established and busy airports was comparatively more difficult/costly.

  6. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Shame

    The Airbus is a much better plane compared to the Boeing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shame

      Depends on the plane. The A340 was never that popular. Some people love 747s.

      1. GrumpyKiwi

        Re: Shame

        Definitely depends upon the plane. I do regular trans-Tasman flights to Australia and back. The flights on A320's are miserable experiences (the thing rattles and shakes and bounces from the moment the engines start until the moment they stop at - hopefully - the other end), while those on the 777 and 787's are very pleasant.

        1. Mark 65

          Re: Shame

          Same airline and age of aircraft?

          1. GrumpyKiwi

            Re: Shame

            The 777's are about the same age and yes same airline (Air New Zealand). 787's are obviously considerably newer.

            I should add that I've had perfectly good flights on A300's and have never had the opportunity to fly the A380 but people who I know who have done so rave about it. So I'm not slagging all Airbus aircraft, just the A320's that ANZ run which are a nasty POS that if ever given the choice I avoid.

        2. Tannin

          Re: Shame

          Guess what: there is more space on a 40seater bus than there is on the average motorcycle too. Who'd a thunk it?

          You are comparing a small airliner to a pair of large ones. If you want to compare, you need to compare (e.g.) A320 v 737; 787 vs A350.

    2. kcblo

      Re: Shame

      To your contrary, Boeing has much quieter engine cowlings and more energy efficient wingtips which Airbus does not have.

  7. Snapper

    Capacity

    The main problem with the A380 is the fact that it has to full or nearly full to fly profitably, so the airline has to have the requirement to find that number of people who all want to travel at the same time to the same destination.

    Throw in the need for bigger lounges, infrastructure at the boarding gates and maintenance hangers, and the fact that an airline now has a very good choice of smaller but more economically efficient aircraft that can be used on more routes (see above), and it would be a brave purchasing Director who committed his company to the A380.

    Flown in it a couple of times, and the height of the body makes the walls of the cabin seem far less 'tube' like and more spacious, very comfortable and quiet. OTOH the 747 felt like an ergonomic slum in comparison.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Capacity

      "Flown in it a couple of times, and the height of the body makes the walls of the cabin seem far less 'tube' like and more spacious,"

      I remember the first time I flew on a 747 thinking how un-tube-like it seemed ... then a couple of years later I got on another transatlantic flight and thought the walls looked a bit more curved than a I rememebred, looked down at the safety info card and .... aaargh ... I was on a DC-10!

    2. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: Capacity

      'OTOH the 747 felt like an ergonomic slum in comparison.'

      Having flown on BA 747s many times I would argue that the word ergonomic' is sorely misplaced, unless you mean 'dark blue, creaky, cracky, cramped hellhole'

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Capacity

        BA 747s many times I would argue that the word ergonomic' is sorely misplaced, unless you mean 'dark blue, creaky, cracky, cramped hellhole'

        That's true of all BA flights (or was before I used to avoid them)

        The nice thing about being the World's only airline is that you really don't have to make any effort at customer service, new or clean aircraft etc. It's not like business people are going to fly on some bunch of middle eastern or SE Asian carriers are they ?

        1. Mark 65

          Re: Capacity

          I always found BA to be great short-haul (weekend city breaks to the continent) but utter shithouse for long-haul.

          We used to use them over Easy Jet and Ryan Air as:

          The cost at the time was not much more.

          Greater choice of flight times.

          They gave you decent food.

          The plane landed at the destination you were after not 100 mi outside in the country somewhere.

          If there was an issue with delays etc you lost much less time as a result due to the airline's capacity to put you onto another flight and by them being a more important client of the airport.

          Things may have changed since then though (2010).

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: Capacity

            Things may have changed since then though (2010).

            They have. BA short haul is in a downward path that has now passed Easyjet and is heading for Ryanair territory. No food, extra baggage charges, limited routes. They're just another low-cost carrier.

            Their transatlantic long-haul is still better than some, far ahead of United & Air France, for example, but was behind KLM. I haven't flown KLM transatlantic much since they merged with Air France, not sure how they're doing now, though. Amsterdam wasn't a bad place to change planes.

            For the flights I take, BA still has better schedules, which is one reason I still use them. It wouldn't take much to make me swap, and their appallingly-uncomfortable new economy seats might be the last straw. One hour out of Heathrow in an A380 and my backside was already numb due to the 1cm thick "cushion" over the rigid plastic. The fixed headrests are too wide to support your head, and too narrow to leave room for a pillow. Major fail there, no matter how nice the A380 might be in terms of space and noise.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Capacity

      Flown in it a couple of times, and the height of the body makes the walls of the cabin seem far less 'tube' like and more spacious, very comfortable and quiet. OTOH the 747 felt like an ergonomic slum in comparison.

      Fly First Class in the nose of a 747 and there is nothing in front of you like say a galley or toilets or even other people if you get the front seats. Therefore it is a much more peaceful and quieter cabin as a result. I've also done First Class on the A380 and there were far more people walking down the aisle from the front because the flight deck, the forward stairs and the toilets were all beyond the cabin.

  8. unwarranted triumphalism

    Beggars belief

    That this cowboy outfit is demanding yet more taxpayer subsidy for its fraudulent 'aircraft'. They can't even fit the wings the right way round at the factory most of the time.

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Beggars belief

      What exactly is your purpose here? You've achieved a gold badge for venting spleen, apparently, because I can't find anything in your comment history other than invective and absurd generalisations.

      If you haven't got anything interesting to say, don't say anything at all.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Coat

        You've achieved a gold badge for venting spleen,

        Actually it's a Bronze badge.

        They'll have to try much harder if they want a Gold one.

        Whereas mine is.

        1. 's water music Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: You've achieved a gold badge for venting spleen,

          Actually it's a Bronze badge.

          They'll have to try much harder if they want a Gold one.

          Yup, they give out Bronze 'uns to any cunt these days.

          UT's real crime is not being that amusing

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Yup, they give out Bronze 'uns to any cunt these days.

            Thank you. We all live for the recognition.

    2. Mayday Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Beggars belief

      Crikey!

      55 Downvotes and no upvotes (at the time of this response).

      That has to be the best I've ever seen.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Beggars belief

        There's been a few (many of which have seemed to have vanished) that could pull higher numbers of downvotes. Sometimes, the race to the bottom can be very humorous to watch.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rune reading again ...

    I think long-haul is going to be squeezed as never before in the medium future, so maybe huge airliners aren't the thing.

    You can't have years and years of austerity, and not expect it to affect *everything*

    There will be an uptick as millenials get the message they will never own a house, and splurge cash on ephemeral pleasures. But we're in the Autumn already.

    Short-haul intra-continental would have been a better bet (so more local, smaller airports). But the UK has queered it's own pitch on that one by refusing to confirm how travel into and out of the EU will work post 2019.

    The industry would have done an awful lot better if it had come up with a replacement for Concorde when it was clear it's days were over. Because they could have absolutely fleeced the oligarchy - and maybe subsidised us peasants.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Rune reading again ...

      If long-haul is going to be squeezed then the A380 starts to make more sense. You can reconfigure them to squeeze more people in than any other plane: "pilgrim class" as a friend of mine suggested.

      But the squeeze on long-haul hasn't really started yet: it's still all about flights of 2-3 hours.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Rune reading again ...

        And if China takes off and you need A380 passenger numbers on short trips that would be 737 in Eu/USA then you need an A380 in "asian economy" seating layout (don't ask if you are more than 5' 4")

        Unfortunately it looks like they have decided that high speed rail is a better/quicker/cheaper/more efficient way of moving 1000 people 3-500km - bunch of commies

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rune reading again ...

          high speed rail is a better/quicker/cheaper/more efficient way of moving 1000 people 3-500km - bunch of commies

          A typical high speed train can carry 1,000-1,200 people in relative comfort, uses sod all fuel compared to an airliner, and can if required run at around 5 minute intervals. Given the absurd logistical and security pantomime at most airports that demand you get there hours before your flight, AND rarely start or finish anywhere near the passengers' final destination, rail is the logical choice.

          If it is a long distance through journey, the rail passengers will be three hundred miles towards their destination just in the check in time for air. Obviously new rail works best where the government can put a ruler on the map and say "build it there" regardless of local peasants and existing property or business interests. Whereas the UK's HS2 will be an object lesson in how not to build high speed rail.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Rune reading again ...

            A typical high speed train can carry 1,000-1,200 people in relative comfort, uses sod all fuel compared to an airliner, and can if required run at around 5 minute intervals.

            Sure, but it's not possible for all potential journeys within China. An A380 service between Peking and the Pearl River Delta could still make sense.

            And, of course, the A380 is built for Africa to Mecca trips…

            I think the point is really that the economics of the airline market have changed a lot since the A380 was originally designed and planned. No doubt they will change again.

            The irony is that it was the work on the A380 that kick-started a lot of the technologies that have made subsequent planes possible.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Rune reading again ...

              "An A380 service between Peking and the Pearl River Delta could still make sense."

              Assuming that China doesn't deploy hyperloop on/under/outrigging the existing HS lines for the longer-haul routes.

              1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                Re: Rune reading again ...

                Assuming that China doesn't deploy hyperloop on/under/outrigging the existing HS lines for the longer-haul routes.

                What? In any case, it doesn't really matter: choose another route in that very large and heavily populated country, at some point it's diminishing returns.

              2. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: Rune reading again ...

                "Assuming that China doesn't deploy hyperloop on/under/outrigging the existing HS lines for the longer-haul routes."

                IINM, there already IS a rail route between Beijing and Shenzen (which is in the PRD), with plans for an HSR route to use that route and continue on to Hong Kong. And since the PRD is a port area (Shenzen is a port city), there's an existing need for freight transport which favors rail.

                1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                  Re: Rune reading again ...

                  China's HSR network is hellaciously impressive, but people forget that China is physically as large as the USA lower 48 states.

                  There's a need for _even faster_ transport when even HSR can take 8-10 hours to get from end to end and China's taking the long view on this (which is that groundbased transportation uses less energy than aircraft and can be electrically powered from nuclear plants) - if there's sufficient traffic to justify building that groundbased ultra-fast-rail then they'll do it.

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Rune reading again ...

            "HS2 will be an object lesson in how not to build high speed rail."

            Starting with the absurd decision not to built it out from Manchester & Birmingham simultaneously. By the time they got near the Chilterns the planning bunfight would be settled and it could be linked into london whilst the northern legs would have been running for several years.

            Quality British Planning. Quality British Design, Quality British Service. You have to wonder if the people responsible for this shit spent time in Biritish Leyland manglement before graduating to fucking up railway system deployments.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Rune reading again ...

              I'm guessing High Speed 2 will be high speed in name only. There'll be strikes, leaves, wrong type of something etc etc. It's in its blood.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: Rune reading again ...

                It was just a typo, was meant to be called High Speed/2

  10. ntevanza

    Slot machine

    Given the value of slots in the main hubs, it wasn't unreasonable for Airbus to bet that bigger craft would help airlines. Airbus may also have bet on slot allocation reform, where airlines would be made actually to rent slots, and bid for them properly, instead of squatting. If this happens one day, then the A380 may end up being the right plane at the wrong time.

    1. MerkinMannequin

      Re: Slot machine

      The problem with slot limits is that it is far better to upsize smaller planes which account for >95% of traffic movements. So the 737-700 has upsized to 737-800 etc, and A320 to A321. This is where you get the most ability to increase traffic and throughput, not in a few mega jumbos built for the wrong model anyhow

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Slot machine

        Wong, as it happens. A couple of months ago there was a fascinating discussion on Pprune in which someone knowledgeable pointed out that slots are a scarce resource, and rather than trying to increase their number, or use bigger planes to move more passengers with the same number of slots, in constrained airports that they dominate, airlines (specifically BA) are DOWNSIZING rather than upsizing their aircraft, and raising fares.

        Smaller planes = cheaper to operate, lower landing fees, less capacity; plus same or higher fares = greater profit. Generate scarcity and milk it. BA can do this at Heathrow because they own more than half of the slots, and this explains why Willie Walsh refuses to chip in for Heathrow's expansion. He doesn't want it. A capacity- and slot-constrained Heathrow suits him just fine.

        So, THIS is where Airbus went wrong. They thought airlines would want to move more people through slot-constrained airports. No; airlines actually want to exploit scarcity, and downsizing aircraft helps them achieve this. They want to move LESS people more profitably. There's a reason why BA fly A319s when most of their competitors fly A320s or 321s, and this is it.

  11. stephanh Silver badge

    speaking as an airline customer

    I was never a fan of the "hub and spokes" strategy since it means more stop-overs.

    I'd rather have a smaller plane which goes where I actually want to go.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: speaking as an airline customer

      Are you willing to pay the MUCH larger ticket prices, though? Go back to the 50's where air travel was a luxury? Airliners have high fixed costs per flight which is why larger capacities make sense: to provide the economies of scale you need.

      1. Snarf Junky

        Re: speaking as an airline customer

        Considering a couple of drinks can cost you $50 while you wait for your next flight in one of the bars in Dubai it's probably worth paying the higher ticket price to go direct.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: speaking as an airline customer

          Or just sit back, read a book and survive a couple of hours without booze....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: speaking as an airline customer

        "Go back to the 50's where air travel was a luxury?" Oh yes, please. I miss the actual meals served on china with real silverware. The legroom and seats as wide as the human body.

        But mainly I resent the loss of time. My last "direct" flight from Nashville, TN to Fort Myers, FL took me to Baltimore. I think that more than doubled the actual distance. One from St Louis, MO to Portland, OR took me to San Diego, CA (on the Mexican border, far southwestern corner of the country) before heading up to Portland in the far northwest.

        Or maybe I just shouldn't let my wife book the flights.

        1. 2Nick3

          Re: speaking as an airline customer

          If the airlines gave you the actual miles flown instead of the direct-line distance it wouldn't be so bad.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: speaking as an airline customer

            You can still get meals served on china with silverware. You just need to be in the right cabin.

  12. David Roberts Silver badge
    Pint

    Another happy traveller

    A few years back we flew to the Antipodes and booked at medium short notice. It was looking quite expensive, especially Premium Economy (which, as far as I can tell is old style (1980s) Business Class).

    Fortunately we saw an offer for Malaysian business class which wasn't much more. A380 to KL then A320 to Sydney. The A380 was a dream, with fully reclining seats and masses of space. The A320 was OK but the seats only partially reclined so it was much harder to get to sleep. The overall experience, including the business class lounges at Heathrow and KL, was so civilised that I dread flying long haul economy.

    Malaysian was a bit run down, though. KL should be their flagship but the facilities were poorly maintained and showing signs of age. Still beats the hell out of coach class.

    So the A380 is the way air travel should be. Shame that the sardine packers are likely to win long term.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another happy traveller

      Malaysia are refurbishing their lounges at KL which should be an improvement. I was there last year and used both sides of the lounge (business and first). Chalk and cheese: the business side was scabby, with pretty terrible showers. The first side was an ocean of calm in comparison.

      1. RPF

        Re: Another happy traveller

        Malaysian also lost 2 airliners in one year (2016).......from a pretty small fleet.

        No amount of lounge refurbishment should make you forget that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Another happy traveller

          Neither of which were their fault.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Another happy traveller

            If you're referring to being shot down over a conflict zone that every other airline had taken care to route their planes around then I'm sure we'd all be grateful to understand your reasoning of how that was not their fault.

            1. Tannin

              Re: Another happy traveller

              Every other airline apart from about half of all airlines operating in the general area, you mean. MAS was flying the exact same route as, for example, Lufthansa. Not to mention many, many others. Please try to get your facts right before spouting nonsense.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Another happy traveller

                "General area" is overly broad. The nearest aircraft was 33km away and the flight had deviated 6.7km off of the approved flight path.

                The adjacent Russian airspace was closed below 16km (Buk limit) before the crash and the Ukrainian airspace below 9.8km - their preference likely to keep it open so they continued to receive overflight fees. The airline's preference is likely to be the most direct and fuel conserving route.

                In the month preceding the crash several aircraft were downed in the "general area" and both Russian new agencies and the "Donetsk People's Republic" claimed the insurgents were in possession of a Buk system.

                Given all of this - still not the airline's fault? Complacency at best, negligence at worst.

  13. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Why not a cargo version

    I'm surprised that there is not a A380 cargo version yet.

    This was the saving of the 747 line and there is always demand for aircraft which can take large items or huge bulk loads

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Why not a cargo version

      Because nothing - absolutely nothing - can beat ocean shipping for costs.

      Even a back of the envelope calculation suggests that carrying 10,000 widgets in 1 TEU container from the UK to LA (so the long way) is c. $2,500/10,000 = 25 cents per item. And I'd guess you could get 10,000 HDDs (for example) in a TEU, easily.

      Seriously, if you have something from China, the most expensive part of the journey will be from the depot to your house.

      1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

        Re: Why not a cargo version

        "Because nothing - absolutely nothing - can beat ocean shipping for costs."

        Cost is not the only factor. Often customers are willing to pay for speed of delivery, especially with JIT manufacturing.

        Also not everywhere is next to a ocean port. If you want to move a large item to say the central United States, you can ship it by sea, but will still require road transport which adds cost.

        I live next to a large air distribution center, which is busy and i often see 747 cargo aircraft and even large Russian built aircraft such as the impressive Antonov-225, so to suggest there is no market is rather short sighted

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Why not a cargo version

          . Often customers are willing to pay for speed of delivery, especially with JIT manufacturing.

          JIT means they are willing to pay for reliability.

          That's why Maersk's new container ships are half the speed of the last lot. So long as I can promise to the hour when the parts arrive then you don't care if it is in 10 days or 20 - it's just a longer conveyor. The extra cost of capital tied up in the parts is so low that the cost savings on fuel win.

          It's only for one offs or launch day spikes of a new iPhone that you need rapid delivery.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Why not a cargo version

          "Not everywhere is next to a ocean port. "

          Which is one of the reasons that China is heavily concentrating effort into a Silk rail system into Europe/Africa _without_ the pesky gauge changing at the russian borders.

          (The other is that without the delays from regauging, it's almost as fast as flying for 1/100 the cost)

      2. Sandtitz Silver badge

        Re: Why not a cargo version

        "Because nothing - absolutely nothing - can beat ocean shipping for costs."

        True.

        But somehow there still is a market for freight planes... According to Wiki, FedEx fleet has >650 planes, UPS has 240, DHL has 188 planes and so on.

        1. Graham Jordan

          Re: Why not a cargo version

          That's because a package weighs fuck all and needs delivering yesterday. If you want anything bigger than an A4 envelope and it's not in a rush you need a boat. Ring UPS and they'll even advise a ship for larger/slower items.

          I'll also point out that one of the major freight airports in the UK is East Midlands airport. It doesn't have the room for an A380.

          1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

            Re: Why not a cargo version

            "That's because a package weighs fuck all and needs delivering yesterday. If you want anything bigger than an A4 envelope and it's not in a rush you need a boat. Ring UPS and they'll even advise a ship for larger/slower items.

            I'll also point out that one of the major freight airports in the UK is East Midlands airport. It doesn't have the room for an A380".

            Economies of scale means that it makes sense to move large numbers of parcels in one go. The bigger the aircraft, the more you can send in one go. There are also other items such as gas turbines which makes sense to travel by air.

            There are about 160 747 Freighters in operation, so it there is a market

            East Midlands will happily support a Antonov-225 or a cargo 747, I know because i live down the road and often see them, so it will cater for a A-380 cargo version, but the bigger business are would be somewhere like the US or China, where infrastructure and distance from the sea makes air transport more attractive

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Why not a cargo version

              The US though has a robust rail network, and it's focus is freight. US freight companies know a thing or two about intermodal transport, so even in the heartland, an ocean voyage is followed by rail and only the last mile is done by truck.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Why not a cargo version

        "Because nothing - absolutely nothing - can beat ocean shipping for costs."

        It depends on the value of time.

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Why not a cargo version

      The cargo version exists, but the B747 has better economics. Apparently the belly/main floor cargo economics didn't work on the A380... Remember that on the B747, the upper deck remains for self-loading cargo, there were *no* freight bits up there. On the A380 you would have a whole upper deck that would remain empty (unless you strengthen the floor, which adds weight, which reduces the economics, which...)

      FedEx, UPS and DHL all were interested in a freight version of the A380, but then the B777 enhancements happened, the A380 was delayed multiple times, and the companies went for other planes (like the A330 and the older B747s that were being withdrawn).

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Why not a cargo version

        "On the A380 you would have a whole upper deck that would remain empty "

        Actually the freighter plans include stuff going up there, just not much of it and not the heavy items.

        The bigger problem is the lack of a nose door.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why not a cargo version

      Try actually loading an A380 freighter and you'll see the issue with the concept

  14. Norman Nescio Silver badge

    Slashdot comments

    There is some good reading amongst the comments on the Slashdot article* on the same news.

    https://tech.slashdot.org/story/18/01/15/2044214/airbus-a380-once-the-future-of-aviation-may-cease-production

    To sum up: the A380 is great for carrying large numbers of people between hub airports that have a constrained number of landing slots - so long as the airports have been upgraded to cope the A380s (runways able to take the load, gates able to process the passengers etc).

    Unfortunately, modern twin-engine aeroplanes have become more fuel efficient, so that it is easier to eschew hubs and fly directly to and from uncongested secondary airports. Emirates operate Dubai as a super-hub, and it makes sense for them to use A380s. Other airlines, in other geographies, use the direct-routing approach, which is not ideal for A380s. Japan, domestically, might be an exception, where the demand is sufficient to fly 747s short haul within the country.

    The end result is, although passengers like the A380 (quiet and spacious compared to smaller aeroplanes), the economics are against it, except on a number of specialised routes which are not enough to sustain production.

    Twin engine jets can now achieve ETOPS rating of 370 minutes - which is more than enough to fly the Pacific.

    From a technical and passenger point of view, the A380 is a tour-de-force. Unfortunately, from an airline economics point of view, it doesn't look so great, which is a pity. (I carefully didn't say tour-de-farce, although I was tempted. Bugger.)

    *I feel slightly guilty linking away from El Reg, but on the other hand, you can find good nuggets of information in surprising places where the journalists of this esteemed organ may not have looked. The PPRuNe thread I found didn't really educate me much.

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Slashdot comments

      I remember when Slashdot was a good site, but it's been a long time. Last time I checked it was still all Russian trolls and "What's the best Linux GUI for making webpages" on Ask Slashdot.

  15. lee harvey osmond

    Who is ‘Leahy’?

    Who is this Leahy person named without introduction part-way through the article?

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Who is ‘Leahy’?

      http://lmgtfy.com/?q=airbus+leahy

      Yes, even Paris knows that one!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who is ‘Leahy’?

      I am Leahy.

  16. Hans 1 Silver badge
    WTF?

    But Leahy also contradicted himself, citing global traffic growth as making larger planes a necessity for airports at major destinations like London, Frankfurt, Paris, Los Angeles and New York that will experience more passenger demand but can’t increase capacity.

    No, he did not contradict himself, he claimed demand for larger planes should pick up, due to capacity problems mentioned above, HOWEVER, sales do not materialize. Absolutely ZERO contradiction ... IOW, airlines are dumb fucks for not ordering more larger aircraft which would alleviate capacity problems at larger airports.

  17. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Demand will pick up once the new airport in Berlin is finished.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Coat

      > ...once the new airport in Berlin is finished.

      So, shortly after the heat death of the universe?

      1. Holtsmark

        I doubt Berlin will pick up that much traffic.

        Frankfurt is much more centrally located in Germany, allowing for decent travel by ICE to numerous cities surrounding it.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Frankfurt is much more centrally located in Germany

          I hear the new plan is to move Berlin to next to Frankfurt airport - it was quicker and cheaper

  18. mwnci

    A380 - Betamax of Aviation.

  19. steelpillow Silver badge

    Spaceplane carrier

    If you top-sliced the A380 fuselage and gave it a twin-tail, it would make a cheap and practical carrier mothership for a spaceplane. Remember the Shuttle piggybacking off the 747?

    1. Holtsmark

      Re: Spaceplane carrier

      And WHY exactly do you wish to carry a spaceplane?

      1. James O'Shea Silver badge

        Re: Spaceplane carrier

        To take a Tesla to Mars, of course.

      2. steelpillow Silver badge

        Re: Spaceplane carrier

        "And WHY exactly do you wish to carry a spaceplane?"

        No idea, why don't you ask Richard Branson why the f**k he commissioned White Knights One and Two? It obviously wasn't to launch SpaceShips One and Two.

        1. Holtsmark

          Re: Spaceplane carrier

          "No idea, why don't you ask Richard Branson why the f**k he commissioned White Knights One and Two? It obviously wasn't to launch SpaceShips One and Two"

          ...And strangely enough they desided to drop the rocket/spaceplane DOWN at launch, rather than carry it on top and hope it will not touch something important before it starts to climb.

          PiggyBack spaceplanes are a way to TRANSPORT a spaceplane from one site to another, not for launching (SR 71 /D21 excluded for good reasons).

          So WHY do you wish to carry a spaceplane on top of an A380 again?

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Spaceplane carrier

            "SR 71 /D21 excluded for good reasons"

            Actually that should be included as a good example of why piggyback launches are a bad idea.

            Mind you the seaplanes which used the concept in the 1930s worked ok.

  20. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Because they had to

    I wonder how much of the A380 was because Airbus had no competitor to the 747 ?

    If a national airline wanted long haul trans atlantic/pacific it had to buy 747s (before etops 370). So you had to let the Boeing salesman in the door, at that point he could offer you a much better deal if you also wanted to buy 737s and 777 for your other routes. And look at all the savings on maintenance and training by only operating Boeing.

    It's like HP or IBM having to buy up auxiliary systems vendors because if they can't offer the full package the customer has to go to your competitor

  21. IGnatius T Foobar
    Gimp

    Boeing

    No problem ... Boeing aircraft are better anyway.

  22. dmacleo

    really its an infrastructure issue. the 380 has higher weight on wheels issues (ie thicker tarmac) and needs bigger gates.

    it was a concept that was worth trying but...it didn't pan out.

    still a beautiful a/c though

    but it just didn't fit the needs as hoped.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A lot of people think they're the ugliest planes around. I'm not one of them; I think it has a certain grace. I live on one of Heathrow's flight paths and I'm still impressed when one flies over. It's impressive that they can get into the sky (forgetting the An-225 for a moment).

      They're bloody noisy though because they fly so low. Heading from London to the Middle East you're somewhere over Turkey before you reach altitude. Or at least it seems like that.

  23. Lars Silver badge
    Go

    They got their order after all

    Emirates Offers A380 a Lifeline, Signing $16 Billion Deal With Airbus JAN. 18, 2018

    The Dubai-based airline Emirates threw a lifeline on Thursday to the A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft, putting in a $16 billion order for up to 36 of the planes to be delivered starting from 2020. The agreement, which includes a firm commitment to buy 20 aircraft and an option for 16 more, comes just days after Airbus said it would end production of the A380 if it did not receive more orders.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/business/airbus-a380-emirates.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-0&action=click&contentCollection=Europe&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article

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