A380 Produktionsstopp

The end for the A380. 5 reasons.

Esther Nestle
16.02.2019
3 pictures
4 minutes

Once celebrated king of the skies

As the king of the skies, the A380 was supposed to revolutionize aviation. Accordingly, much euphoria accompanied the giant in its early days. New York, Tokyo, London, Dubai – Airbus took its A380 to the world’s biggest aviation hubs to ensure that passenger numbers would continue to increase.

At first, the plan seemed to work. Passengers were thrilled, and to this day people rave about a unique sense of flight, of calmness felt in the air, even in turbulent weather. People recall the high level of comfort and the generous seats. Passengers loved the A380 double-decker, but nevertheless, the multi-billion-dollar prestige project was stopped. The first Airbus euphoria landed with a bump on the hard ground of facts.

The heyday has long been history

Fatal miscalculation

There were five main reasons that led the King of the Skies to fall:

  1. Aviation has moved in a different direction than expected by Airbus. It’s not all about flying from hub to hub. It’s not all about London to New York, Tokyo to Dubai. Business travellers, in particular, prefer direct flights to second-tier airports and are more inclined to buy more expensive tickets to save time.
  2. Smaller machines such as the A350 or the Boeing 787 are technically as good as their big brother at safely completing long-distance flights. Working in compliance with all modern safety standards, the smaller planes are noticeably more profitable than the kerosene-hungry A380 giant, see point 5.
  3. The A380 cannot land at all airports. Sadly, the Titan, whose wings could easily take 100 parked cars, is simply oversized.
  4. Consequently, there are no downstream airlines and no secondary markets on which the oversized giant could be bought. The fact is, there is no demand for used A380 machines as there is for other aircraft. Although an A380 could easily make 20,000 starts and landings, it will disappear from the scene much faster than other (large-capacity) aircraft, whose lives are still far from being exhausted thanks to a flourishing secondary market.
  5. At 73 meters in length, 24 meters in height and 560 tons take-off weight, the A380 is extremely long, wide and heavy. Correspondingly, the hungry giant swallows lots of kerosene. By comparison, the new-generation widebody aircraft (most notably the Boeing 787 and A350) are up to 15 percent cheaper per seat per kilometre.

So why should airlines still take the tedious A380 into their fleets? There is no reason, at least no rational reason.

The time of the large four-engine aircraft such as Boeing 747 and A380 is simply over, because the smaller aircraft – Boeing 777 and now also Airbus A350 – are so much better.

Aviation expert Heinrich Grossbongardt in an interview with ZDF.

For many aviation fans, however, yesterday was a sad day. But the fascination remains. And it will still take a few years for the last A380 to disappear from the air forever. That’s enough time to fly around the world with the King of the Skies, and perhaps for the last time revel in the extra space and enjoy the extra comfort. The fate of the A380 is sealed. But the last curtain has not yet fallen.

by Esther Nestle

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