Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Airbus announce the A380neo

Airbus have announced that they are going to upgrade the A380, the largest passenger aircraft ever built. The upgraded A380neo will feature new engines (from a single supplier, likely RR) and a wing redesign. The decision may be surprising as the A380 has not been the best selling model and will face competition from Boeing's new 777-9X, which is not that much smaller in terms of seat capacity and is a twin!

Furthermore there are only 13 operators of the type, and of these 165 aircraft in service, Emirates has a whopping 64 of them (with 76 on order!). So it appears as though the success of the A380, and the A380neo, depends heavily on one airline. The A380 programme is only just breaking even, without Emirates, it surely would have been a commercial disaster.

Now Airbus claim that the A380 was brought to the market too early, and that there will be an increasing demand for larger aircraft in the future. This is seen to some extent at Heathrow, which sees the most A380 operators, largely because extra flights are out of the question and more seats are needed, the answer is larger aircraft. Some have said that the neo version is too soon, only 10 years after the original, however by the time the first neo flies it will have been something like 15 years and the oldest A380's will be nearing retirement age. It will be interesting to see who orders the A380neo though!

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