Airbus Celebrates 10 Years of the A380 — With Disingenuous Claims

Airbus released a video on Friday celebrating 10 years of their A380 program.

The video was produced before Airbus announced a new higher-density economy configuration, or they conveniently ignore their own announcement when talking about economy class comfort.

Of course it’s a promotional video and they make some rather incredible claims.

The video suggests that the A380 is more efficient than the Boeing 787 because you’d “need 2 787s to carry as many passengers” and that would be more costly and burn more fuel.

That misses the point, of course: the question is whether a given route has as many passengers as an A380 can hold, where it’s economical to fly such a large aircraft. You need to fill an A380 for it to make sense. And that’s not something that works on most routes. The point of the 787 is to bypass hubs and fly passengers between cities where they want to go directly, and earn non-stop premium doing so.

They actually say that “The A380 will become essential in emerging markets like Africa and revolutionize mature ones like the United States.”

It’s one thing to surmise that hub-to-hub flying between heavily congested slot-controlled airports — London Heathrow to Tokyo-Narita, for instance — could make sense with an A380. There are plenty of passengers, and airlines can reduce their number of flights, making it possible to serve more destinations. (Passengers still prefer greater frequencies, of course, which means more choices for flight times, and that goes unmentioned in the video.) It’s another thing to suggest that the A380 will takeover the world and indeed no US airline has ordered a single Airbus A380.

Indeed, here’s why the Airbus A380 has been largely a failure and why they could bring the program to an end.

Still, as a passenger, I love the A380 or at least I love what some airlines have done with it like Emirates (showers!), Singapore (double beds in their middle section suites), and Qantas (the best way to fly between the US and Australia). Even as I don’t love all A380s (I’m talking to you, Air France).

(HT: World Airline News)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Yeah no US company have ordered any A380 so far cause they still flying their Old 767 , US company are never to be mentioned as reference when it comes to airlines, they are fit for third world.

  2. I’ve never flown in the belly of the porpoise, but upstairs I find it has an annoying side-to-side move that reminds me of Amtrak.

  3. It is interesting to observe that Emirates as the most successful and profitable international airline in this modern era, embraces the aircraft wholeheartedly.
    EK currently operate 5 A380s a day to LHR, and 2 to LGW. The remaining two LGW services will, no doubt, shortly become A380s. Then what? How does EK increase seat availability to LDN? And that to a lesser extent, and in time, will be the dilemma for a lot of other carriers.
    Likewise JFK. Next month EK will be operating 4 A380s a day to JFK, and a fifth service is mooted. Where are the US carriers on the Middle East routes? The plain (plane!) truth is they cannot compete for customer service in all facets of the operation. And now they want to again hide behind protectionism, as they have before, a la Chapter 11 protection.
    Love him or hate him, Tim Clark, knows his aviation. Maybe a bit more true competition, instead of criticism?? Richard Branson and Tim Clark’s modus operandi are poles apart. And maybe the legacy carriers (now few than before deregulation?) could adopt a more Virginal approach to their customers, and stop their bleating?
    I recently transited from an Emirates flight to a US carrier, and the contrast could not have been more stark.

  4. @Enjoy–That was just the co-pilot testing out the rudder for the first time. He likely has at least 2 hours in the plane, given LH is putting FO’s in the right seat with 600 hours

  5. Leaving Emirates aside, it seems that neither A380 nor B787 are clear winners, but rather the B777-300ER. Am I correct?

  6. The 777-300ER (and the 777 family broadly) .. huge winner.

    The 787 sure isn’t a big winner yet. It could become one. Or maybe whatever comes next built off the concept will be. The 787 certainly had teething problems, and with the price of fuel coming down they’re in less demand. But it still has a few years to get as much data behind it as the A380.

  7. I agree with Gary. I think the A380 may eventually be shuttered or modified in a way they can at least break even. The 380 may work for Emirates and some other Middle East carriers, but US carriers will not buy them, since they have not already and dont see benefit. As to the claims here about Middle East airlines and comparing to US based airlines-we move many more people here on the US carriers. What is not understood on may forums is that generally speaking Americans want the flat out cheapest fare possible. They may gripe about things, but want the cheapest product. They will not pay more for more legroom etc. How else can a crappy airline like Spirit be a huge moneymaker? Simple, prices are dirt cheap, or least appear that way before extra fees. US carriers have always favored Boeing. Pilots favor Boeing as well. “If it aint Boeing, I aint going.” Personally I hate ancient crappy aircraft. American finally got rid of all MD80s/88 to replace with 737 because the 737 was far more fuel efficient. And probably the maint will be less on the new 737s. The Boeing 777s and varations have been favored by routes that support them. American finally gets a few 787s. For coach passengers 787s are slightly nicer from what I have heard.

  8. Use your CC link revenue to buy some AF F tickets and you’ll change your tune regarding AF.

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