Is there a major revival of interest in the A380 ?

Back to Forum
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 35 total)

  • cwoodward
    Participant

    Airbus is on record last year as saying that they expected the A380 to be flying for at least two more decades and that they will be continuing support for at least the next 20 years.

    With the aircraft being of little use as a freighter this indicates passenger services with major airlines for the next 20 years.
    Certainly an increasing number of the aircraft are in the air again and many of these have had or are undergoing very expensive refits indicating that are serious about flying the aircraft well into the future.

    Seemingly airlines can once again fill their A380’s and with the initial attractiveness of the aircraft being premeditated that if full the costs per seat becomes very attractive the future for the A380 is again looking rather brighter.

    Many believed that the pandemic spelt the end for the superjumbos, but the A380 has been making a comeback, with a now good number being pulled out of retirement.

    To date 17 or 18 of the 251 manufactured from 2007 to 2021 are gone and several others are in such a very poor state that they will probably never take to the sky’s again. This leaves some 225 viable A380s.

    With 8 airlines of the 14 that took delivery of the A380 again flying them on scheduled routes how likely is it that others will revive there fleets ?

    It is looking as though several mostly Asian airlines notably Thai and Malaysian may have made costly mistakes by leaving their A380 fleets to rot or scrapping them. It is mildly distressing to see the Thai fleet seemingly just rotting along with B747s next to the main taxiway at Bangkok.

    There are bargains to be had and I am wondering what is the likelihood of these second hand aircraft being purchased by other airlines now that the future is looking brighter for these superjumbo sized aircraft ? Who I wonder are the likely buyers?

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    CrazyCanuck
    Participant

    Lets not for forget that Global Airlines, may just (maybe), take to the air witha fleet of 4 and show that there is life (and plenty) of that in the A380….


    BackOfThePlane
    Participant

    One would have thought, especially with the ongoing delays to the 777-9, that BA would be the most likely airline to dip into the A380 second hand market.

    With Heathrow as a base, and a strong US business, they are one of the few airlines that could make a go of increased A380 capacity, especially with the new Club Suite and recently announced new First Class suite.

    Question is, where would they fly to (with the A380) that they don’t now?

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    cwoodward
    Participant

    It is typical of Thai for them to leave 6 perfectly good A380s to rot when they are an airline which could make very good use of them for both mid and long haul.

    Cathay have numerous short and long haul flights where they fly 3 to 8 times daily which could well use the aircraft but it wont happen for the same reasons and ethos that they did not originally ordered the aircraft. In the extremely unlikely event that they make a move it would I believe be for a minimum of 6 aircraft – Swire have always liked a bargain.

    New players – Taiwan’s China Airlines could be a possibility as I believe could Air India and maybe Ethiopian.
    Others here know much better about European and US based airlines airlines than do I but there must be possibilities there also.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Timely thread cwoodward.

    I say that because a tweet/X from aviation expert @MZulqarnainBut1 yesterday indicated that Etihad was considering reactivating three more A380s.

    Now the above-named is close to the goings on at Etihad and this tweet makes sense in as much as Etihad (EY) will be deploying the A380 to New York next month in addition to LHR (currently the sole destination for EY’s A380s).

    Of course much will depend on demand and so on but these three A380s would be used on routes, say, to SE Asia and Australia.

    Tweet says”Etihad is considering reactivating three more A380s bringing the total fleet to seven.

    “If all goes to plan it will see these A380s returning in December 2024, March 2025 and May 2025”


    BackOfThePlane
    Participant

    I also see that Global Airlines are currently tweeting about their A380 doing it’s stuff out in the Mojave desert.


    LetsFlyNow
    Participant

    For airlines like Air France the A380 is definitely not coming back given the terrible state they were in and refurbishing them would be very costly. AF still had theirs in angled business class seats in a 2-3-2 config.

    Lufthansa on the other hand will most probably bring back even the 6 in had sold back to Airbus (if some rumours from last year are to be believed). They’ve been filling the planes and even announced that they’ll be getting new business class seats – but not Allegris.

    Yes BA was also rumoured to be buying the ex-LH A380s at some point but that didn’t come to be. The question is whether someone will pick the China Southern planes which seem to be in good condition given how fast Global airlines has been getting them in the air.
    I’d think that QR might actually keep their flying abit longer, and Etihad is more likely to bring them all back.

    So yea, i think the A380 will keep flying till the end of the next decade at the very least.


    sparkyflier
    Participant

    cwoodward – good discussion you have started. And re the potential new operators of second hand A380s I think AI could be the most plausible. I think the A380 really needs airlines who have a First Class product (to use some space for a start) and AI could fly LHR and FRA routes for example from Delhi, and release their 777s and 350s on to other routes. The products installed could be real differentiators Vs BA and VS for example.

    The chances are not high but out of what you said – AI/ET/CI I could see AI mainly also due to Tata and SQ investment and expertise.


    LetsFlyNow
    Participant

    At today’s presentation of their financial reports, Lufthansa confirmed that the A380 will be retrofitted with new business class seats in 2025. Interesting that the older aircrafts that will be retrofitted will be B747-8 and the A380.
    Though it’s understandable with the A380 as it’ll be getting a ‘generic’ product that’s already on the market.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    As I noted on another thread I would have thought ANA would be operating its three A380s for years to come.

    These A380s were amongst the final few to be manufactured and remain really new (they were grounded during the pandemic).

    They have a premium configuration and I think they would do better than operate Tokyo NRT-Honolulu.

    Thinking it over I suspect it’s because HND does not, currently, allow A380 operations and HND is a main domestic hub for ANA.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Chutzpahflyer
    Participant

    Odd that no-one here has mentioned the passenger experience. i.e the 380 and the A350 give the best passenger experience of any long-haul metal. I know that doesn’t count for much with the airlines’ bean counters, but given a choice I always choose one of those over anything else.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    On this particular thread I agree Chutzpahflyer but previous threads over the years have noted that fact with the A380.


    BackOfThePlane
    Participant

    @Chutzpahflyer – I think that ‘passenger experience’ is determined by a number of factors and, as witnessed on this very forum, not everyone judges passenger experience using the same metrics.

    That said – and I am an economy traveller passenger in case it wasn’t clear – I love the feeling of space, quiet cabin and relatively smooth wide of the A380. And, yes, my second favourite aircraft is the A350.

    4 users thanked author for this post.

    sparkyflier
    Participant

    Chutzpahflyer – agree with you re passenger comfort and as Alex has said been mentioned multiple times on this forum over the years.

    I have done some trip reports over the years and have commented how the A350 (and A330) are in my view way more preferable versus the 787 for example. My recent report discussed the Finnair A350 which really is a lovely aircraft, in J and Y and IMO superior to 787 or 777 when Y is at 10 across.

    And an airline offering A380 does have a competitive advantage to me even if the hard product is not the latest design or does not have the latest entertainment system etc.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    nevereconomy
    Participant

    And of course passengers love big planes (as the popularity of the 747 showed) First class on a well thought out A380 i every bit as good as the 747 front cabin!
    With the high volume US routes (and some others) BA has, and the tight slot situation at Heathrow, BA would be crazy not to install the new cabins and take full advantage.
    It is a lovely plane and has the 4 engines of which I am so fond – you can never have too many….

    1 user thanked author for this post.
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 35 total)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
The cover of the Business Traveller April 2024 edition
The cover of the Business Traveller April 2024 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below
Polls