Earlier this year Airbus announced the end of the A380 program. Despite the aircraft not breaking even, Airbus considers the A380 as a success due to its impact on the A350. Airbus’ new CEO made the comments at a Toulouse press conference yesterday.
The Airbus A380 is widely regarded as a marvel of aviation engineering around the globe. Due to its impressive size, it is capable of carrying hundreds of passengers between two points, however, its size would eventually prove to be the aircraft’s eventual downfall. As such, the Airbus A380 project never broke even, despite its potential.
A game changer?
The Airbus A380 was designed as a real gamechanger. With its two complete passenger decks, the aircraft was to transform passenger travel, and to some extent it did. In fact, the aircraft was well suited to some high-density long haul routes such as London to Los Angeles. The main USP of the aircraft was, however, one of its biggest problems.
Take Norwegian Air as an example. Due to the grounding of Boeing 787 aircraft, they found themselves in a position where they had to hire HiFly’s A380. They initially flew their usual schedule with the aircraft, but soon found out that New York did not have space along with the other A380s it had at that time.
The A380’s giant size dictates that it needs a special infrastructure. Indeed, London Gatwick, which plays host to Emirates’ A380 has just one gate which the aircraft can use off of Taxiway Q. The aircraft isn’t able to taxi to any other gate. Indeed, when Airbus executives attempted to sell the A380 in India, they were met with infrastructure concerns.
A380 a success
At a press briefing in Toulouse, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury told reporters he believed the Airbus A380 was a success. However, according to Leeham News, the reason is not what you might expect.
They report that the aircraft was a success as “the A380 led the path to the successful development and production of the successful A350 and the transformation of Airbus into what it is today.” Indeed, the A380’s introduction was fairly unsettled with an 18-month delay caused by faulty wiring. Meanwhile, the A350’s introduction went without a hitch.
Interestingly, Leeham also reports on a question of finances asked by Reuters Aerospace News. Airbus received launch aid from Germany to the tune of $600m. However, this has not been paid back. The Reuters reported questioned why, if the project had been considered a success. Reports indicate that Airbus did not answer the question. Airbus will continue to support the A380 as long as it flies.
Do you consider the Airbus A380 to be a success or a flop? Let us know in the comments!