The end of the lorry of the sky (A380)Back to Forum
Please forgive my ignorance but I wonder if somebody could enlighten me. If the four-engined aircraft, such as A340, A380 and B747, are inherently uneconomical,compared to the long range two-engined aircraft coming into use, I would like to know by how much and in what areas.
1-fuel burn: Even if the take-offs and landings might well need four engines I am sure that the greater part of the flight at cruising speed might well be done on two engines? Thus the fuel saving could be substantial. Thus can these planes have a longer life?
2-With the ever development of the engine type used on the said aircraft, does it not reach a stage where the efficiency of the aircraft engine increases by lowering the fuel burn – this has been the case in the past.
3-Is there not a sweet point where the economics of the two-engined long-haul aircraft converge with the advantages of a four-engined aircraft? i.e. with the greater capacity of the A380 and B747 (tangible) and the often expressed(herein and elsewhere) passenger preferences for the bigger aircraft (intangible).
4-Can the plethora of so called surplus four-engined aircraft be converted to other uses, or are they more economic to build new from the ground up? We have heard about conversions to freight, but what about air-tankers for the air-forces, air-sea rescue, fire fighting, air-force transport, military surveillance (after all Nimrod was a development from the Comet 4).
5-even wingless I can see these airbodies being useful by being converted into a type of caravan or some type of living quarters for refugees or just emergency housing.
Ok, it is a question of economics (price) and paymaster(who?) for things to be achieved. However, more out-of-the-box thinking is needed to put these birds to better use after their lives expire. Let engineers and economists provide governments and company ceos with alternatives to let them make changeovers, unnecessary or cheaper.23 Sep 2021
Reported today that Korean Airlines will be phasing out its A380s within the next five years.
The same fate may happen to the six A380s of Asiana once the merger (with KAL) goes through.
Quoted by Aviation Week the CEO Walter Cho said “we expect travel to biefly surge after Covid and for that they might be useful.”1 Oct 2021