back to article First A380 flown in anger to be broken up for parts

On October 25th, 2007 Singapore Airlines flight SQ380 departed Changi Airport bound for Sydney, Australia, marking the first commercial flight of the Airbus A380. But the plane that made that flight won’t ever take to the air again and will instead be broken up for parts. The A380, airframe number MSN003, wasn’t Singapore …

  1. Waseem Alkurdi

    This underlines one more thing

    Nobody, it seems, likes fat, jet-fuel-sucking aircraft. Both the 747 and the A380 are next to dead.

    It really only works in tight usage scenarios (Emirates with its customer demand for long-haul lines).

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: This underlines one more thing

      I think it's more the case that smaller craft are now able to go as far as the larger jets, so they're cheaper for the airline. Regular Joe Bloggs, I would suggest, wouldn't mind flying on the big jets if the prices were comparable to the smaller craft.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This underlines one more thing

      I'm sure I read that 747's are being converted for freight use

      1. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: This underlines one more thing

        It's what they were designed for.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This underlines one more thing

      It's the hub-and-spoke model shown all its limits when it came to longer flights - too much time wasted at uncomfortable intermediate airports, baggage issues, delays, etc. etc. When available, point-to-point flights are faster and more comfortable - and now the right planes are available.

      1. A K Stiles

        Re: This underlines one more thing

        And yet the UK government seem to be headed towards yet more London-centric investment by adding a third runway to the already somewhat congested Heathrow Airport.

        Someone may have their forecasts wrong or maybe it will all come out smelling of roses for everyone. Time will tell.

        From my experience (Emirates), I'd rather fly A380 than B777 for anything 7+ hours. I can sleep in cattle class on the Airbus, no chance on the Boeing. YMMV

        1. Frederic Bloggs

          Re: This underlines one more thing

          And, certainly the last time I was able to make a direct comparison (again Emirates), the A380 was faster than the B777 as well as more comfortable.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This underlines one more thing

            > the A380 was faster than the B777

            Both cruise at mach 0.85. (564 mph vs 562 mph) according to Wikipedia.

            Is there an Airbus Reality Distortion Field that I'm not aware of?

          2. HarryBl

            Re: This underlines one more thing

            And much quieter

          3. Updraft102 Silver badge

            Re: This underlines one more thing

            More comfortable in what way?

            If it has anything to do with the seating, legroom, etc., that's the airline's doing, not the plane itself. As far as the speed, the 777 is listed as cruising at mach 0.84, while the A380 is listed at 0.85, so no real difference there.

        2. Multivac

          Re: This underlines one more thing

          United used to fly out of Birmingham, 50 minute drive from home, park up next to the airport and walk into the terminal, it saved about 2 hours on the journey compared to Heathrow. But United cancelled the service because of a lack of customers, I guess people were looking for connecting flights into Europe which Birmingham didn't have or they genuinely wanted a stop over in London. It sucks for the rest of us but that's the way it is.

          1. goldcd

            Re: This underlines one more thing

            Also used to fly to New York out of Bristol.

            Was awesome - flights were only a few hundred in scum-class, and you always got an empty seat next to you.

            No idea why they dropped the route...

            1. Mark 85 Silver badge

              Re: This underlines one more thing

              Also used to fly to New York out of Bristol.

              Was awesome - flights were only a few hundred in scum-class, and you always got an empty seat next to you.

              No idea why they dropped the route...

              The answer is in your post... empty seats = less profit.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: This underlines one more thing

                @Mark85

                Do we also have to Joke Alert! every joke now? Really?

              2. Gezza

                Re: This underlines one more thing

                What amuses me most is that the expression I want to use here to point out that you’ve completely missed the joke is ‘that flew right over your head’. Ah, the things that make you chuckle.

            2. Telboy

              Re: This underlines one more thing

              Was awesome - flights were only a few hundred in scum-class, and you always got an empty seat next to you.

              I think you'll find the empty seats to be the cause of the cancellation

            3. Telboy

              Re: This underlines one more thing

              I think the empty seats could have had something to do with cancellation

          2. John Styles

            Re: This underlines one more thing

            Stop over in Birmingham... quick trip to Sparkbrook for a balti surely? How could that compare with London?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Quick trip to Southall for a curry, maybe?

              Used to pop there quite regularly for lunch when I worked next to Heathrow at Stockley Park..

            2. Insane Reindeer
              Happy

              Re: This underlines one more thing

              "Stop over in Birmingham... quick trip to Sparkbrook for a balti surely? How could that compare with London?"

              Quite simply the funniest comment I have read on here in a very long time!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This underlines one more thing

          @A K Stiles

          "From my experience (Emirates), I'd rather fly A380 than B777 for anything 7+ hours. I can sleep in cattle class on the Airbus, no chance on the Boeing. YMMV"

          Having flown on Singapore Airlines from Heathrow to Singapore with children, in an A380 and also in some wide bodied Boeing or other, I'd take the A380 any day. (Cattle class, by the way.)

          1. John Crisp

            Re: This underlines one more thing

            I recently did the 16 1/2 hours Dubai - Auckland on a Emirates 380 cattle class and would prefer that any day myself.

            That was straight after 8 hours Madrid-Dubai on a 380 with only a couple of hours in Dubai.

            Got off feeling fresher than I've ever done going down there.

            Same thing in reverse a few weeks later.

          2. Chz

            Re: This underlines one more thing

            I'd take a Singapore Airlines *anything* over any other airline's offering. I don't really care about the aircraft itself, I'm confident that if Singapore is flying it the experience will be less traumatic than on any other service.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This underlines one more thing

            cattle class - you lucky bastard; I only get to use goat class.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This underlines one more thing

          of course and it can be serviced by HS2 that massive investment to get people from the midlands to London quicker, oh hang on a min wasn't it to encourage business to leave London, I'm confused now......

          1. John Styles

            Re: This underlines one more thing

            The government and 52% of the population have come up with a much better way to encourage business to leave London. Not to Birmingham, though.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This underlines one more thing

            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-31814933 - sadly the HS2 Heathrow spur was dropped a few years back. Still think outside of London airports could have done with the investment - Heathrow and it's immediate surrounding area is a sh*thole of an airport - noisy and over-priced food on the inside and miserable passengers (especially when the fog stops all the flights)

            Back on topic - the A380 is a good plane with a limited use case. The smaller aircraft serve the airlines better in the current pre-post Brexit environments for flights out.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: This underlines one more thing

              Still think outside of London airports could have done with the investment

              What, like the Manchester Airport second runway? Or the Birmingham runway extension that can now take the A380s nobody wants to fly there?

              the A380 is a good plane with a limited use case. The smaller aircraft serve the airlines better in the current pre-post Brexit environments for flights out.

              WTF has Brexit got to do with Singapore retiring some of their A380s? The issue is that the A380 (and B747) weren't economic in the era of the wide bodied long range twin motor. With half the number of powertrain parts the twin motors will be considerably more reliable. With their smaller capacity they're less at risk of flying half empty, or topped up with passengers on £5 tickets. There's a tiny number of applications where flying a small army in one aircraft make sense, but not enough for most airlines to justify the complexity and cost of an A380, and that's got jack 5hit to do with Brexit (or the bust up with Iran, or the Love-in with Nork, or any other political event).

              1. anothercynic Silver badge

                Re: This underlines one more thing

                The issue is that the A380 (and B747) weren't economic in the era of the wide bodied long range twin motor.

                Incorrect. Singapore Airlines has just taken delivery of new A380 bodies to replace the ones that went off-lease. The reason why MSN003 and their contemporaries are being retired is because they are fat. They are the first of their kind... some things hadn't been ironed out yet. Later bodies were better, the processes had smoothed out, weight was shaved off. Why should someone like SQ fly with jets that are older, more tired, need more TLC when new jets are literally there for use.

                And the A380 *is* economic. It is always full between LHR and SIN and FRA and SIN. You cannot for the life of you get reward tickets in business or first. Emirates makes the A380 run pretty full every single flight. It's the 17 hour flights that need smaller jets that can do longer distances. The new SQ flight between SIN and EWR (Newark) will be *all* Premium Economy and Business. There won't be economy on that flight.

          3. War Puppy

            Re: This underlines one more thing

            It's ok, England's Brexit is making businesses leave one way or another anyway.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "From my experience (Emirates), I'd rather fly A380 than B777"

          That's just depend on how the owner configures the airplane. I've flown on Emirates 777 and they were far more comfortable than other similar planes. Etihad configurations for example were less.

          My last flight to Washington with an Air France Airbus was quite uncomfortable.

          1. lglethal Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: "From my experience (Emirates), I'd rather fly A380 than B777"

            "My last flight to Washington with an Air France Airbus was quite uncomfortable."

            There was your mistake - flying Air France. it doesnt matter which aircraft it is, they are all routinely awful...

          2. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

            Re: "From my experience (Emirates), I'd rather fly A380 than B777"

            I flew Emirates A380 and 777 back to back:

            Gatwick--A380-->Dubai--777-->Delhi

            and

            Kolkatta--777-->Dubai--A380-->Heathrow

            That was in late 2016, cattle class for all four legs. There was no equality in terms of comfort and facilities between the two aircraft. The A380 felt modern, with excellent seating and seat-back systems while the 777 experience felt like the previous generation it is.

          3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Re: "From my experience (Emirates), I'd rather fly A380 than B777"

            My last flight to Washington with an Air France Airbus was quite uncomfortable.

            IMHO, flying anywhere by Air France is quite uncomfortable. KLM is descending to AF levels now.

            As for CDG... [redacted][redacted] and [redacted]

            The only saving grace is that I can often change trains there.

          4. commonsense

            Re: "From my experience (Emirates), I'd rather fly A380 than B777"

            Agree. I flew Singapore to Heathrow on business class on the 777, and it's terrible. The "leg hole cubby" area is not straight ahead of the seat, so you sleep or lounge at an angle, whereas on the Emirates business class 777, it's straight ahead and more cleverly configured.

            But I also agree with the other points. The A380 is smoother, quieter and therefore more comfortable, all other things considered.

            1. Radio Wales
              Unhappy

              Re: "From my experience (Emirates), I'd rather fly A380 than B777"

              > The "leg hole cubby" area is not straight ahead of the seat, so you sleep or lounge at an angle,<

              Yes I have noticed that passenger occupation space is often an overlooked detail in aircraft design.

              I wonder why that is?

          5. J. Cook Silver badge
            Go

            Re: "From my experience (Emirates), I'd rather fly A380 than B777"

            "That's just depend on how the owner configures the airplane. I've flown on Emirates 777 and they were far more comfortable than other similar planes. Etihad configurations for example were less."

            THIS. US Carriers are free to add or remove legroom from the cattle class as they see fit, which is why a 737 on United is so very much tighter on legroom than, say, Southwest. (Southwest (at least when I was flying them) didn't have any seperate classes of seating, so it was all cattle car, but it was set so Tall b&$tards like myself could actually have a modicum of comfort without having bruised knees at the end of the flight from the snotty two year old in the seat in front playing 'bounce the plane'.)

          6. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: "From my experience (Emirates), I'd rather fly A380 than B777"

            "My last flight to Washington with an Air France Airbus was quite uncomfortable.".

            Somebody spoke French on that flight?.

        6. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "seem to be headed towards yet more London-centric investment"

          That depends on how a country is "configured". Britain and France, for example, have everything mostly concentrated nearby London and Paris.

          Others, like Germany, have more "top" cities and highly populated areas (Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin), Spain has Madrid and Barcelona, Italy Rome and Milan (plus highly touristic destinations like Venice or Florence), the US several ones.

          Whenever I fly I try to minimize stops. Whatever airline offers me a point-to-point flight is welcome.

        7. Stu Mac

          Re: This underlines one more thing

          Adding a 3rd runway to Heathrow doesn't stop Gatwick doing the same or a multitude of others.

    4. Holtsmark

      Re: This underlines one more thing

      To my understanding, two things put the brakes on the A380: ETOPS and NEO.

      New ETOPS rules (Engine Turns Or Passengers Swim), originating (who would have guessed) from the USA led to a lot of new competition that the A380 had not been designed to deal with. NEO led to savings making these competitors being cost competitive. On top of it, there are not enough airports with the infrastructure required to handle the A380 efficiently.

      An A380 NEO might change the picture.

      1. Fatman Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: This underlines one more thing

        <quote>(Engine Turns Or Passengers Swim)</quote>

        I gave you an upvote, just for that!!

      2. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        Re: This underlines one more thing

        "New ETOPS rules, originating (who would have guessed) from the USA led to a lot of new competition that the A380 had not been designed to deal with."

        ETOPS was on the drawing board since the 767. Increases in ETOPS range were inevitable, plugging the 'holes' that twin engine aircraft couldn't operate through. Airbus had plenty of time to see that coming. Likewise, engine capabilities have improved as time goes by. Fuel consumption and reliability numbers are things that a competent designer could easily extrapolate.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: This underlines one more thing

          "Airbus had plenty of time to see that coming. "

          Maybe so, but meanwhile they have, according to the Wiki:

          "As of May 2018, Airbus had received 331 firm orders and delivered 226 aircraft; Emirates is the biggest A380 customer with 162 ordered of which 103 have been delivered".

          And I assume RR is not too unhappy about it either.

        2. christooo

          Re: This underlines one more thing

          ETOPS and EROPS came out early 90,s. Was for doubting Thomases , get better engineers!

      3. dmacleo

        Re: This underlines one more thing

        IATA/IACO (International Air Transport Association and International Civil Aviation Organization) were supposedly to have a lot of input to ETOPS driving the FAA regs.

      4. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: This underlines one more thing

        The A380neo is likely to happen. Emirates is betting on it. But I think Rolls has their hands full sorting out the production issues they're experiencing with the Trent 1000 on the B787-9 that's causing airlines like Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand and some others a *lot* of pain right now (hence Virgin Atlantic reviving some of their A340-200 and A340-500's), and I have yet to see Engine Alliance say they're investigating improving the engine package for a 'NEO'. There are some bits in the non-engine hardware that will be improved (like sharklets, more supercritical and laminar flow stuff on the wings...)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A380 is great, so silent inside! Scrap those noise old B747 and B777!!

      The A380 is the best plane for passengers. It's so silent inside, it's spacy lot's of space inside for big lavatories (not those tiny Boeing lavatories of "modern" B777 and B747-800). The A380 is so big, even big turbulences don't matter that much. And the start and landing doesn't shake you through at all.

      I kind of like B747, especially the B747-400 series with it old-school big interior design. The B747-800 is shit, so noisy and little space for less lavatories.

      The worst plane is the B777. Yes, it's the first plane completely designed with computer CAD. Nice for 1994. But they forgot about the passengers. Noisy, everything is so narrow and low. A small narrow but very long can. Don't fly with this crap, especially not 10+ hours!! Or you will start hate Boeing designers and the airline that still uses this old shitty plane.

      1. Dabbb Bronze badge

        Re: A380 is great, so silent inside! Scrap those noise old B747 and B777!!

        "The worst plane is the B777"

        You can still find some 9-across 777 in operation and they are great even in Y, but you would have to pay me to get onto 10-across. Same as 787, if you fly on 8-across, as it was designed, it's a great plane, but there's only one airline that flies them in that config while others chose to go for SardineLiner 9-across configurations. Sadly customers do not seem to care about their experience and always choose cheaper one, which happens to be with more denser seating.

        1. alexmcm

          Re: A380 is great, so silent inside! Scrap those noise old B747 and B777!!

          "Sadly customers do not seem to care about their experience and always choose cheaper one, which happens to be with more denser seating."

          It is not like we have a choice! Once you have chosen your start and destination, and the dates to travel, you are lucky if you have more than 2 airline choices. After rejecting the 'I'd never fly with them' airlines, you are usually left with 1 or 2, and they don't even tell you which plane make/type/config you will be flying on.

          The first time I know what plane I'm flying on is usually when I go to book my seat online.

      2. christooo

        Re: A380 is great, so silent inside! Scrap those noise old B747 and B777!!

        Blame seating difficulties on the airline not the manufacturer, so therefore saying a 380 is more comfortable/better than a 777 is nonsense. In fact the 777 is the best maintainance friendly a/craft being designed with the help of ramp engineers for a change instead of desk bound designers. Dont know anything about the 380 but would imagine that in line with the 747, both being large aircraft there is plenty of room everywhere for both passengers and engineers.

    6. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: This underlines one more thing

      "It really only works in tight usage scenarios (Emirates with its customer demand for long-haul lines)."

      Emirates and friends make money from freight. There's more money in that than in passengers (which is why they don't fully stuff them upstairs, it makes more room in the hold.)

      A380s have considerably longer range at MTOW than 777s do, whilst carrying more than twice the cargo mass. The logistics of that frequently mean that it works out cheaper overall (ground crew, passenger facilities and refuelling at an intermediate stop) even if the overall fuel burn is higher.

      This all changes with Next Gen aircraft of course but it's always been like that - and the proliferation of smaller airliners flying point to point is predicated on aviation fuel remaining cheap, which it won't. Remember there was a price war most of the last decade in an attempt to put frackers and other tight oil producers out of business and costs are now snapping back to where they should be.

  2. Bubba Von Braun

    Also like early 787, these early production A380's are a little over weight, with fixes and patches to correct issues post production. The wing cracks comes to mind as one of these early fixes.

    Long haul congested hub to hub were always its best value argument, market just moved against them. No hub congestion when you avoid it altogether.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "these early production A380's are a little over weight"

      Exactly this. It's entirely expected that the first 6 out the door would retire early thanks to their extensive rewiring jobs and additional tweakage. They're more than just a little overweight.

      Airbus made a grave mistake freezing and then cancelling A380F rollout in favour of getting the passenger versions fixed. The freighters could have been flying and generating income for a couple of years earlier than the passenger version, but instead all the freighter customers jumped ship and went elsewhere.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They're more than just a little overweight.

        I'd also guess that the lease costs, resale value assumptions, and in-service reliability were an issue.

        But there's nothing unusual about this - it is pretty normal for "mid-life" aircraft to be worth more for their engines and transferrable high value parts than as a complete unit, with the airframe being broken up for scrap when the engines and mechanicals have gone.

      2. anothercynic Silver badge

        Except...

        ... They found that even if the A380F had gone ahead, its freight-lifting capability compared to the B747F (-400F, -8F) was still not as economic. Upper passenger deck would've had to be strengthened a lot to deal with more pallets. I may be wrong, but that's what I was told was one of the issues, along with the smaller amount of LD containers that could be loaded. :-/

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So at the maintenance interval they are going to replace parts from a plane of the same age and about the same usage? How does that work? Doesn't sound particularly safe to me.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      If something is well maintained then it can be reused. It happens at the moment in aviation anyway.

      Things like engines, flight computers etc can be used second hand. Things like jack screws which control flight surfaces wouldn't be replaced with second hand parts. If one of those fail in flight it can be far more catastrophic than a second hand engine catching fire.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Do they had a jackscrew? I thought it was only T tail planes, Alaska 261 comes to mind for me.

        1. Packet

          Afaik, jack screws to control the elevator/horizontal stabilizer are common in big ass aircraft (like the 747)

          Learned that bit from an episode of Mayday which covered the 747 crash in Afghanistan due to one of the armoured humvees sliding back and hindering it etc

    2. Tomato42 Silver badge

      second hand parts are problematic if their provenance and usage amount is unknown; no such thing in aviation

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "second hand parts are problematic if their provenance and usage amount is unknown; no such thing in aviation"

        you would be surprised, next time you see an EASA hot air balloon ask to look in the logbook. we have idea how many hours the components have, just the fabric - and many parts are bought and sold without a form 1...

    3. Tam Lin

      No aviation parts go directly from used to another plane. Everything needs to be refurbished, updated and/or recertified by an approved vendor.

      That said, there is a very competitive broker market in currently unusable parts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        if the aircraft is operational, surely you can just strip the parts , write a component Form1 and then sell - no need for anyone else to recertify. Or am I missing something.

        so don't have my part66 yet..

    4. Deckard_C

      Parts will be removed from the aircraft to be overhauled or repaired, but you don't want the aircraft sitting around not earning waiting for the parts to be overhauled or repaired so you need a pool of parts which have already been overhauled and repaired ready to put back on. Cheaper than brand new when you only need a overhauled part.

    5. anothercynic Silver badge

      Perfectly safe. Every part is checked and verified exhaustively. Planes that are written off (after a crash) are often parted out. If the engines are still good (which these are), they're shifted on to another plane (Dr Peters is leasing the RR plants on their bodies back to Airbus/Singapore). Landing gear will be good, as will the usual movable gear like flaps, spoilers, flaperons... the APU will also still be in excellent condition. The interiors will have been gutted by Singapore already, taking what they can (and what's theirs anyway).

      This recycling job will be good news for the airliner recyclers, because they get to document and figure out how to recycle an A380 as best as possible.

  4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Cramped?

    a mid-sized twin-aisle jet that makes the A321LR look cramped and cheap.

    So Ryanair likely to rely on A321LRs then - with a few extra rows of seats squeezed in for luck? And do they do an A321SRO version (Standing Room Only)?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Cramped?

      Ryanair have an exclusively Boeing fleet and unlikely to change as they are going for 737 MAX 200.

      1. christooo

        Re: Cramped?

        He runs an excellent airline by having almost new aircraft all the time. 2 year guarantee , then get rid and make a profit and buy new again. Clever.

    2. flilotuk

      Re: Cramped?

      "So Ryanair likely to rely on A321LRs then - with a few extra rows of seats squeezed in for luck? And do they do an A321SRO version (Standing Room Only)?"

      Airbus have categorically stated they will never sell aircraft to Ryanair, after O'Leary's comment about "raping" Boeing re: their 737s. The potential loss of revenue from not selling to Ryanair is vastly outweighed by not having to deal with the nasty little leprechaun.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I still cannot understand why Airbus cancelled the A380 Freighter variant. Especially after the amount of work they put into that version. Yes, it was running late and they wanted the prestige from the passenger market, but not to revisit it after the passenger variant was out and flying is something I really dont get. The air cargo market is increasing massively and it does not call for smaller lighter planes. it calls for big behomths like the A380.

    Well I guess until Tom Enders is out the door, Airbus wont be spending any money on developing new aircraft (developing aircraft is expensive and that might hurt his stock options). By then no doubt Boeing will have clawed back the advantage...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Biggest isn't always the most efficient, the article hits at fuel economy and I don't think it make much use of carbon fibre...though could be wrong.

      Better to kill a loss making product and put the R&D into future products e.g. the A350.

    2. Vinyl-Junkie

      Re: I still cannot understand why Airbus cancelled the A380 Freighter variant.

      According to what I read it was down to weight to volume; you could reach MTOW with average density loading before the cargo space was more than 2/3rds full. So unless you had a market for something carrying lots of low density items it was unlikely to be viable.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      canceled because there's only a limited demand for air freighting flowers from Kenya .

      In short, the extra capacity is unusable for anything of weighty substance.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ilike the 380

    I have flown a few times in the 380 and prefer it to other aircraft. The straight walls in the lower deck give the impression of more room and it is quiet. Still no fatal accidents or hull loss incidents.

    The first time I flew it I was waiting in Darwin airport for a connecting flight to Singapore to get on an Emirates 380, when the news about QF 32 was splashed across the TV.

    1. AndyS

      Re: Ilike the 380

      > Still no fatal accidents or hull loss incidents

      Not for lack of trying though. Qantas Flight 32 - damn. Wouldn't have liked to be on that one.

      Kidding aside, it's got a very good record, and is a very comfortable plane to fly on.

    2. ravenviz Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Ilike the 380

      news about QF 32 was splashed across the TV

      Reminds me of Airplane (1980) where the in flight movie is showing a fiery aeroplane crash scenario

  7. Alastair MacDiarmid

    "Owner can’t find anyone to fly the thing profitably" Incorrect. They just think they can make more money by selling the parts, as nobody has done that yet there is a market for parts, and BA who are in the market for more 380's for example, are cheap bastards, something obvious to anyone who's flown on the recently.

    And pointing out the obvious, unless airports keep getting bigger and bigger there is an absolute limit to the point to point flights with smaller aircraft currently in vogue.

    Yep, I hate transferring in airports and I'd much rather fly point to point, but honestly for long haul? Give me a 380 over toothpaste tube bug smasher any day. Emirates gets my business because of the big aircraft, decent baggage allowance, and big seats. No contest.

    1. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Noticed that with BA

      Short haul flights and trying to sell me sandwiches and drinks... like Ryan air only 4 times the price, with uglier staff and because they wont use the back door slower boarding and leaving.

      Whatever people think of ryanair their only big mistakes are (a) Stansted... an awful airport, the worst in the world without doubt and (b) starting to use big international airports like Frankfurt with its huge queues and huge terminals, huge bills, long distances to get to the gate etc etc etc instead of the nice little ex military places where you rock up, pay sod all for parking your car, walk into the terminal, take 2 minutes in security and straight on the plane.

      Ryanair, if you are listening, the yanks want out of Mildenhall - buy that and forget Stansted, go back to Frankfurt Hahn, relist your Friday evening flights back from the UK to europe so us commuters can use you again,

      1. ravenviz Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Noticed that with BA

        No pleasing some people

      2. christooo

        Re: Noticed that with BA

        Should think Mildenhall, despite being in the middle of nowhere belongs to the MOD.( Ministry of Defence)

        Would be of use to TNT or one of those freighter crowds as theres plenty storage space in those airfields..

  8. NorthernCoder
    Trollface

    Marketspeak bingo

    "In light of this development, the concept that has now been finalised is an excellent achievement with a total revenue forecast of around 80 million USD per aircraft.”

    Damn, if they had just thrown in a "synergy" or perhaps "leverage", I would have had bingo straight away!

    1. ravenviz Silver badge

      Re: Marketspeak bingo

      Nah, they missed ROI

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the early days of aviation there were many small airports round the UK. Gradually they competed to become major regional airports else they were deemed obsolete. A few like Meir extended their lives by serving adjacent aircraft factories during the war.

    The majority of such sites are probably now housing estates. Stobart have diversified into trying to turn minor airfields into point-to-point regional airports eg Carlisle Lake District Airport - the opening of which has been delayed owing to problems recruiting/training adequate numbers of qualified staff.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Cornwall Airport always seems to give the impression that it might die as the traffic is very volatile. For a long time they had flights to Dublin with no codeshare, which wasn't good as it meant that you'd have to chance it or go to Heathrow for a connecting flight.

      Sadly the RAF choppers have moved out -->

  10. Thoguht Silver badge

    A380 leasing as an investment

    Food for thought here for people investing in A380 leasing via the Doric Nimrod trusts or similar. The spiel once was that by the time the current leases are up, there will probably be a thriving marked in used A380's and so the residual value can be easily realised, but that is looking less and less likely as time goes on.

    1. Deckard_C

      Re: A380 leasing as an investment

      What the piece failed to mention was there 4 A380s at the end of their lease, 2 are to be parted out and 2 have been placed with another airline. So not as bad as it first sounds, but still a challange.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I's the overal experience....

    Flying has just become too unpleasent an experience, 2+hr checking, huge queues, cramped seats.... I used to fly all the time, but in the last 10 years hardly at all, it's just a horrible begining and end to a holiday.

    1. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Re: I's the overal experience....

      Stansted couple of weeks ago, the 'fast track' queue for security first thing Monday morning (as in 6am) was back to the doors of the terminal building. Over an hour

      Frankfurt yesterday morning queues over an hour except for the 'time limited' lane restricted to a few flights with boarding in the next half hour which had a half hour queue (yes, would have missed the flight but for 3 things... running, gate fairly near security and it takes time to board... I was one of the last)

      Stockholm Friday evening queues for the security all the way back down the departure hall and an hour queue.

      I wonder do they really think we believe there is really a terrorist threat? IF they did they would sort these queues out, its ALL airports (some worse than others but all have the problem) and it is simply due to not having the equipment and/or staff to cope with the numbers. IF I were a terrorist I would simply turn up and queue. Somewhere in the queue (and for Stansted this would be improved by the hard metal barriers bolted to the floor and the walls they have built) I would blow up the suitcase and rucksack I would have, apparently reasonably, with me... a mixture of explosive and nails and the carnage would be stunning.

      We do NOT need a 3rd runway at Heathrow, what we need is to spread the flight load over lots of airports all over the country, connect them all with a decent high speed rail and then we can divert when weather is bad, avoid even more of a car park on the M25, lower security times by spreading the load, generally improve.... but thats not going to happen, we will end up with some smart terrorist targeting one of the major airports and then there will be a flap and we will all have to suffer intrusive checks before we get to the airport

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I's the overal experience....

        I couldn't agree more that adding a third runway to Heathrow is madness. Where will all the extra flights go when the runways are closed due to inclement weather or an "operational issue"? Bah!

        The security scenario you describe is akin to Dalaman airport in Turkey. You rock up and everything is X-Ray scanned at the front entrance before you check in. After check in you go through security and more x-ray checks. After that there were further hand searches before being allow to the departure gate to check for contraband - lithium-ion batteries / power packs / tablet PCs etc.. etc.. Three checks for one flight!

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: I's the overal experience....

        "we will end up with some smart terrorist targeting one of the major airports "

        It's already happened in Glasgow and Moscow.

        The dickheads in power don't give a shit. Security theatre is simply an excuse to wield control.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I's the overal experience....

        There are far better of ways inflicting terror. It has always puzzled me but a chap in a white van, clip board and hiviz could cause more damage in regards fatalities and anarchy.

        Water treatment plant sites are published on water companies websites. Fibre is easy enough to find. Power storage and distribution is also easy enough to find.

        It is stupidly amazing just how much critical infrastructure is an easy target. It's shocking.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: I's the overal experience....

          "a chap in a white van, clip board and hiviz could cause more damage in regards fatalities and anarchy."

          Terrorism is about making a showy point. You're absolutely right that a subtle approach can cause far more damage, but the intention of a terrorist is to draw as much attention as possible to the cause he or she is promoting.

          Their attacks aren't usually thought through all that well in any case. The 7/7 bombers managed to disrupt at least 5 million people, shut down public transport and got everyone moving on foot, but had they used a single car bomb as well, the entire city would have been in complete panic. It was the scenario that was running through my mind whilst (unsucessfully) telling the gf to stay put and get the hell off the streets. I'm quite sure it's the disaster scenario that was running through the minds of the police and security services as well.

  12. Toilet Duk

    Flew from UK to Hong Kong recently, much preferred the Boeing 777 UK to Dubai to the A380 Dubai to HK. It just seemed more comfortable, roomy, quieter and easier to sleep in.

  13. ChrisC

    "Boeing will soon just-about-match its capacity with the 777x"

    I'm not sure it will, if you're comparing like for like at least. From what I've read, the proposed capacity increases for the 777 are in a small part down to the fuselage stretch, but in a large part down to the assumption that cattle class will be configured in 3-4-3 form rather than the 3-3-3 typically seen on current 777s. And if you're an A380 operator with similarly little regard for the comfort levels of your cattle class passengers, then a reconfigured 380 will "comfortably" exceed the capacity of even the most densely packed 777...

    So it's all well and good Boeing and its fans promoting these larger 777 variants as "jumbo killers", but as long as this claim is based solely on the number of passengers being carried without any reference to the relative levels of comfort said passengers will be provided with, then it's a rather dubious claim to be making. In its current forms, I actually really like the 777 as a longhaul airliner, but I can't say I'd be quite so enthusiastic about getting onboard one that featured a higher density seating plan unless it was for just a short hop of up to 2-3 hours at most (or unless I was flying something other than cattle class).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I have been in an 777 with 3-4-3 configuration. It's hell. So narrow, so long, so low. So little room everywhere. The restrooms are on the outside with a blank window (nice) but so small and so low - only smaller asian people fit in those small restrooms. The 777 is also quite loud and aged badly.

      The A380 is very modern and no annoying noise. And so much space even in cattle class. Only US-fanboys would say the 777 is better than the A380.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      " if you're an A380 operator with similarly little regard for the comfort levels of your cattle class passengers, then a reconfigured 380 will "comfortably" exceed the capacity of even the most densely packed 777..."

      There's one factor discouraging that for an A380 operator: Freight capacity.

      At full passenger load the A380 only has space for 7 freight pallets below decks thanks to their luggage (vs ~30 on a 777), but can carry twice the cargo mass of that same 777, for ~2000 more miles.

      Freight is more valuable than people, so it makes sense to reduce passenger density upstairs to free up pallet space below. The resulting extra cabin space is a good sales tool and you can even package some of it up as "halo" class - bump some lucky stiff into it each flight for good PR and make money hand over fist when someone is rich and silly enough to actually pay for it.

      Of course if you're an A380 operator that doesn't do much freight (BA, Air France) then using this aircraft is nonsensical and you need to run 75%+ loading to keep it profitable.

    3. Dabbb Bronze badge

      "but in a large part down to the assumption that cattle class will be configured in 3-4-3 form rather than the 3-3-3 typically seen on current 777s"

      3-4-3 is the most common seat configuration used on 777, 3-3-3 is a rarity. 777X won't change main tube diameter but will make it longer and will have composite wings with foldable up wing tips.

      1. ChrisC

        3-4-3 is the most common seat configuration used on 777, 3-3-3 is a rarity."

        Ah, I guess things now have changed for the worse here since I was last winging around the globe on triple sevens - it's now been a couple of years since my last such flight, but back then 3-3-3 still seemed to be the norm for the carriers I was using or potentially could have been using.

  14. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

    Only 2007?

    We had an office in Bavaria and around 2005/6, I recall looking up and seeing an A380 for the first time, doing circuits and bumps at the nearby airport, Oberpfaffenhofen. St Douglas Adams immediately sprang to mind, as the huge A380 hung there the way bricks don't.

  15. LucasNorth

    "Boeing will soon just-about-match its capacity with the 777x"

    This is nonsense, according to the Boeing website the 777x has a two seat configuration capacity of 375 whereas Emirates run the A380 with a two class capacity of 615. Nowhere near comparable.

    1. A. Coatsworth
      Thumb Up

      That phrase left me scratching my head. How can a single-decker plane match the capacity of a double decker?

      The only options would be doubling its length, which would be extremely funny to see; or doubling the passenger density, which is extremely worrying because it sounds like something the airlines would actually consider!

      Thanks for the clarification

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        BA have recently increased the capacity of loads of their 777s. In the back it used to be 3-3-3 across and now it's 3-4-3. Narrower seats, narrower aisles.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          RE: BA Seating

          They are not alone in that.

          That's why now that I'm retired, I will fly at the front of the plane on long-haul (4 hours plus). Had far too many 10hour sectors in Cattle class when working to make it attractive now.

    2. Number6

      This is nonsense, according to the Boeing website the 777x has a two seat configuration capacity of 375 whereas Emirates run the A380 with a two class capacity of 615. Nowhere near comparable.

      They are comparable if you figure it as passengers per engine. In fact, the 777x comes out better.

      1. ChrisC

        Number6, remember that in the article, the capacity comment was made in the specific context of landing slot availability:

        "Boeing will soon just-about-match its capacity with the 777x, challenging the A380’s selling point as the ideal plane for super-busy airports where landing slots are scarce."

        i.e. passengers per *airframe*, not per *engine*...

    3. christooo

      you must have missed the Boeing offer of 2 for the price of one. or BOGOF. Buy one get one free.

  16. cs9

    Plenty of parts to go around

    Thanks to the 4 full engines, twice as many as a modern airliner needs.

  17. Number6

    The big reason no one wants it is because the first few A380s built are less fuel-efficient than later ones, as various tweaks and improvements have occurred.

    Think how many soft drink cans it'll make.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Think how many soft drink cans it'll make."

      They should scrap in the USA. Fly it in as an aircraft, effectively bypassing the idiotic import tariffs on aluminium.

      Canada will be mass producing extremely heavy trailers for transport trucks, made from 50t of the finest Canadian steel. One way trips into the USA, each carrying a sack.of potatoes.

  18. scheissefuergehirn

    The A380 is my favourite aircraft and also of the fellow passengers that I have spoken to. It has more room (in cattle class) than any other aircraft that I've flown in and is quieter too. I've flown in quite a few 777s in 3-3-3 configured seating and it isn't that generous so I really wouldn't want to fly in a 3-4-3 version.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Model is broken

    Hub and spoke is broken, because it's designed incorrectly. Think of how a typical computer network functions with edge and core routers. Now compare that to the airport model: all the "core" components are also your biggest "edge" components.

    In an ideal world we'd have a few massive "core" airports that have no* security gates, no* baggage carousels, no taxi stands, etc. They would be located remotely from large cities in order to have plenty of runways and plenty of clear land around them (no noise abatement restrictions). These would have plenty of short hop flights (or possibly regional rail) to smaller airports located in population centers.

    It's an idealized scenario that probably cannot be realized (especially in a competitive airline market)

    * (or extremely minimal)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Model is broken

      That's what they tried to do with Mirabel. To be fair, there were other factors which led to its demise, but the biggest was Dorval's convenience.

    2. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: Model is broken

      Hub and spoke is broken because of monopolistic practices more than anything else. The computing analogy fails because my packets don't make a sweet deal with the local router to bump yours off the system (With the end of net neutrality, this may change.)

  20. A Known Coward

    With a lot of flying to/from India, US and Australia in the past few years, as well as shorter haul flights within Europe, India and the US. I have to say that hands down, the A380 is the most comfortable commercial aircraft.

    Emirates A380s top the list, with Etihad and Quantas vying for second place, but I've not flown the A380 with Singapore, British Airways or Air France yet.

    As usual, the aircraft which puts passenger comfort at the forefront is the one that airlines don't want to use ...

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Quote:

      As usual, the aircraft which puts passenger comfort at the forefront is the one that airlines don't want to use ...

      The aircraft the airlines want to use are governed by the equation of passenger miles per gallon of jetfuel + landing charges/number of passengers.

      So if its 10 quid cheaper to stuff 300 people into a pair of 777s rather than 600 in a 380 , they will.

      After all.. airlines are run by accountants and they NEVER fly cattle class....

  21. Kev99 Bronze badge

    And no matter what planes Boeing & Airbus bring out, the seating and aisles will be designed for Billy Barty.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Flown in anger?

    Pardon my denseness, but what on earth does the phrase "flown in anger" mean in the headline? Is it some sort of British idiom?

    1. Horridbloke
      Mushroom

      Re: Flown in anger?

      Yes, "used in anger" means used for its intended real-world purpose (as opposed to being tested, trialled or involved in other sissiness).

  23. alexmcm

    That has put me right off flying

    Having just read all the comments on this thread, and then reading up about ETOPS and NEO, sweet jesus, I never realised the risk I was taking flying long haul.

    So if I fly a ETOPS-180 certified plane from Sydney to LA, and it's engine bursts into flame over the pacific, then that's ok, it's only 3 hours to go to LA. So I get to sit and watch a a flaming engine for 3 hours until it lands. Can you imagine those 3 hours? Will the fuel explode? Will the engine rip into the it? It's all ok, it is ETOPS-180 certified. Oh look! Here comes the drinks trolley.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We secretly replaced your old worn parts with even older worn parts...

    “The main reason … is that many airlines currently using the A380-800 will have a high demand for individual replacement components due to upcoming maintenance intervals,”

    :/ it's typically good form to replace those old worn parts with non-worn NEW parts during maintenance, not even older worn parts.

    "Hi, we had to replace your tires on your 2010 Ford. However, instead of replacing them with new tires, we opted to replace them with some tires we found on a 1995 model in a scrap yard."

  25. Pomgolian
    Happy

    Emirates

    Having just made two trips from NZ to the UK in the last month, flying Emirates via Dubai on an A380-800 I found it a really comfortable trip. I'm 6'6" with long legs, and there was plenty of leg room in cattle class. In flight entertainment is great, too. I'd be sad to see the A380 go. I've flown other airlines including Air NZ and nothing came close to the A380. Virgin Atlantic had perhaps the most pathetic amount of leg room ever -I guess Virgin is simply a tighter fit...

  26. grant_cok

    Flown in Anger?

    What does the term "flown in anger" mean here? I thought that applied to planes on military sortie..

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