Many believe that, because the A380 program has been cut, the aeroplane will suddenly disappear from the skies. This couldn’t be further from the truth, however, as was confirmed several times during the delivery of ANA’s first A380.
It came as no surprise when Airbus announced the end of the A380 program back in February. The superjumbo never really took off, with a total of 251 net orders when the program was ceased. As such, the aircraft never actually turned a profit for Airbus.
Support for years to come
Japan’s All Nippon Airways received their first A380 on Wednesday. The occasion marked the last time a carrier would receive their first new A380 aircraft. Indeed, while some have already begun retiring their aircraft, ANA president Shinya Katanozaka joked that the aircraft would be in the skies for ten thousand years.
While the aircraft is unlikely to still be flying in ten thousand years, it will be flying as long as carriers want to keep operating it. In fact, Airbus told at a press conference: “A380s will fly for many years to come and we will, of course, continue to fully support the operators”. This includes support for parts, in addition to repairs should a carrier so wish.
So how will Airbus support customers?
Airbus claims to be continuously improving the A380. As such, the operational reliability of the craft is now above 99%, a figure which the company aims to maintain. Additionally, through a new product called Skywise, 2,000 parameters are constantly being watched on each A380. As such, when something goes wrong, Airbus often knows about it before the airline, allowing them to offer tailored advice.
Finally, Airbus is optimising the aircraft when it comes to maintenance. While the first A380s required base maintenance every two years, this now takes place every three years. As well as this, a six-year check now takes less time than it used to.
Looking to the future
Airbus is aware that some carriers are finished with operating the A380. As such, rather than the aircraft being sent to scrap, they intend to encourage the second-hand A380 market. Airbus told Simple Flying that this means sitting down with potential customers and working out how the A380 would fit into their operations. They mentioned HiFly as an example, stating that with Airbus’ help, the carrier completed their quickest roll out to service.
Airbus will also offer tailored support packages for any prospective buyers. While this can mean providing spare parts on demand, it could extend to complete maintenance.
How long do you think the A380 will remain in the skies? Will Airbus keep supporting the second-hand A380 market? Let us know in the comments down below!