End of the superjumbo: Airbus is giving up on the A380

Doug Masters

Well-Known Member
Once Airbus decided it wasn't going to do a new engine option for Emirates its days were limited. The A380s low cost per seat mile was one of the few advantages it had left and made sense on some select routes that could reliably fill seats. Unfortunately the newer plastic twins (787 & 350) have costs and range on par with the A380. No point in flying 600 seats on a route when you can put 300 for the same cost per seat. Expect some to stick around for operations into heavily slot controlled airports and the rest to be phased out fairly quickly. The entire program was a money sink for Airbus but #worthit for le prestigé.
 

Alchemy

Partner, Ally, Friend
I will say the Emirates 380's are damned nice rides. The business class cabin with the bar is incredibly spacious, huge video screens, flight attendants waiting on you hand and foot. The jet is extremely quiet, even on takeoff and landing. I've been lucky enough to ride on the QANTAS and Lufthansa versions as well, they are "meh" compared to the way Emirates outfits theirs. I've flown with several pilots at my current employer who were prior EK380, sad that they can't retain their flight deck talent. I just spent 5 days in DXB for a work trip, seemed like a reasonable place in February. We used to spend a lot of time there at my previous gig.

I would like to someday ride in a 747-8i to compare, but the 747-400 pax models, outside of the VIP configured ones we used to fly IAH-LAD with, just isn't even close to the A380 in terms of creature comfort sadly. It's a fine freighter though.
 

Screaming_Emu

Dogsheep
I will say the Emirates 380's are damned nice rides. The business class cabin with the bar is incredibly spacious, huge video screens, flight attendants waiting on you hand and foot. The jet is extremely quiet, even on takeoff and landing. I've been lucky enough to ride on the QANTAS and Lufthansa versions as well, they are "meh" compared to the way Emirates outfits theirs. I've flown with several pilots at my current employer who were prior EK380, sad that they can't retain their flight deck talent. I just spent 5 days in DXB for a work trip, seemed like a reasonable place in February. We used to spend a lot of time there at my previous gig.

I would like to someday ride in a 747-8i to compare, but the 747-400 pax models, outside of the VIP configured ones we used to fly IAH-LAD with, just isn't even close to the A380 in terms of creature comfort sadly. It's a fine freighter though.
I rode on a Korean 748i and it was a great ride. Super quiet. Shows how they saved on sound insulation on the freighters.
 

inigo88

Composite-lover
No A380F because although it has 60% more volume space than a 747-400F, it only has 28% more weight capability. Basically a lot of the plane would be empty on normal cargo ops.
Is that Gross weight or ZFW (useful load if you will)? Low landing weight can be a big issue to. I know nothing of the numbers on the A380, but not making a freighter was the dumbest thing they could have done.
Those numbers are based on spreading the load because of structural floor weight limitations for one, so forget about loading heavy machinery , and forget about over sized loads, as the nose doesn't open up.... because of the upper deck, you also will have size limitations (vertical). For cargo loaded on the upper level, I imagine one would have to have a special loading facility or loading equipment because of the height. So you can load it with mucho small parcels and that's about it, hence no A380F. The secondary market will be very restricted to only a handful of perhaps Tour operators, and the Hadj.
Sad ending, but we should be able to fly it at least for the next 15 to 20 years.
Technically An-225 wasn't setup for cargo either until the shuttle support framework was removed and solid titanium floors were fitted.
Like @BigZ says just because something isn’t offered as a freighter immediately doesn’t mean it’s impossible in the future. Airbus may see the writing on the wall and decide to invest some engineering in making the structure more conducive to cargo ops to continue selling airplanes.

Personally I wonder if there’s an economic incentive to cutting out the upper deck floor and making a large cabin volume (but not necessarily high weight) cargo aircraft a la the Super Guppy or the Dreamlifter... but I’m not sure if the market is there or if existing airplanes already fill that niche.
 

melax

Well-Known Member
What on earth are you talking about ?? You think you can just "cut" the upper deck floor and voila !
It is just not feasible, unless of course you want to design a new airplane, and spend 10 + years & probably 10 + Billions Euros.
Do you realize that Airbus was loosing money for every frame manufactured ? This program has just been a HUGE money pit.
(I do like the movie tho :cool:).
There will never be a viable A380F period.
The 747 will survive a little longer in it's niche business and will in time be replaced by the 777 new cargo versions and perhaps will see a mod allowing long oversized loads, either nose or tail opening...
 

inigo88

Composite-lover
What on earth are you talking about ?? You think you can just "cut" the upper deck floor and voila !
Of course it’s not that simple. That floor provides bending stiffness and torsional ridigity to the fuselage, and is part of the aircraft’s primary structure. But given enough engineering resources, money and time alternative load paths could be designed and implemented. The fact that no A380F exists isn’t because it’s “impossible”, it simply means that Airbus did the cost benefit analysis and determined the economic incentive was not great enough.

You do know this started as a passenger plane right?

47108
 

jtrain609

I'm a carnal, organic anagram.
What on earth are you talking about ?? You think you can just "cut" the upper deck floor and voila !
It is just not feasible, unless of course you want to design a new airplane, and spend 10 + years & probably 10 + Billions Euros.
Do you realize that Airbus was loosing money for every frame manufactured ? This program has just been a HUGE money pit.
(I do like the movie tho :cool:).
There will never be a viable A380F period.
The 747 will survive a little longer in it's niche business and will in time be replaced by the 777 new cargo versions and perhaps will see a mod allowing long oversized loads, either nose or tail opening...
You're right, that guy isn't an aeronautical engineer. He's just some hack on the internet, probably never even passed differential equations.

Also, the Beluga will never fly because it would be impossible to modify an A300 so extremely to do exactly what was described in this thread.

 

inigo88

Composite-lover
And I started reading JC as a high school kid when everyone was arguing over whether to go to JetU or Gojets and something called “teen forum”.

All this hate for the A380 and they’re gonna let the Beluga and the Super Guppy slip through the cracks! :D

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z987k

Well-Known Member
Ugh...I know that people smarter than me designed the dream lifter, but I still get the willies when I fly that thing because I'm not entirely sold on a hinging tail. Irrational fear I know, but it's just....weird.
It's not the first swing tail.
There's one that burns jet a and 100ll.
 
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