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Emirates urging Airbus to offer A380neo

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posted on Jun, 2 2014 @ 10:49 AM
Emirates is urging Airbus to reengine the A380. They see Rolls Royce as the only engine supplier interested, but say that they think they can get a 10-12% improvement in efficiency of the aircraft. Emirates refused to put the 11 abreast seating that Airbus said would offer an improvement in efficiency, saying that it would create an "uncomfortable middle seat" if they did that, so Airbus is looking at other ways to make it more efficient.

Emirates holds a commitment for a total of 140 aircraft, after ordering 50 more. One of the problems they say they have is that when you have over 500 passengers, there is so much luggage that they run out of cargo room. That's especially noticeable on flights to the US. But they say that six years in, the aircraft is hugely popular with passengers.

Emirates President Tim Clark believes that Rolls-Royce is the most likely provider of a new powerplant for a potential reengined Airbus A380. “I’m not sure GE or Pratt have an appetite,” Clark told journalists on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) annual general meeting in Doha, Qatar. From his talks with Rolls-Royce and Airbus, Clark is concluding that Rolls-Royce is nearest to believing sufficient orders for an A380neo could materialize to make the business case work.

Emirates has been the main force behind the drive to reengine the aircraft. Clark believes a combination of engine and aerodynamic improvements plus more seats in the cabin could lead to a 10-12% improvement in economic efficiency of the aircraft. Talks are ongoing and no decision has been taken to launch the aircraft.


The A380 is an interesting study. The people that have them seem to love them, and they make good money on them, but it's never going to be nearly as popular as was originally stated, or hoped. I can see them doing an neo version though to try to entice other customers, and to keep their current ones happy. Emirates has also been talking for years about getting a more powerful engine for the 777 due to weight restrictions in the hot temperatures that they fly out of. They have quickly become a driving force in the industry in the last few years, and both Boeing and Airbus listen to them closely.
edit on 6/2/2014 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 5 2014 @ 07:26 AM
Yes Im not surprised Zaph,

And its well timed, at least in terms of kicking the manufacturers to shorten their development cycles. There is more to this though than just a new engine. Part of any efficiency gain is to rework the wing which has always been hampered by the 80m box rule. Airbus freely admitted years ago that in an ideal world the current A-380 wing span should be at least 6m longer for the plan form they have used, so folding tips (now that Boeing is talking about really using them on the 777X) would make sense. They already went some way towards fixing some issues about 2-3 years back by changing the wing twist rate a degree or two from about airframe #55 onwards, but it just isn't enough. Rolls has hinted at some game changing engine development technologies for a while now, and it will need it. Some have been calling for either the 11 abreast seating plan or the -900 stretch, my money is on the stretch. As pointed out by others, 11 abreast seating particularly in a high density layout runs into problems with baggage. Even if you can fit everyone's luggage on board, it leaves no room for cargo, and cargo equals premium dollars. This is particularly important in a market that has an oversupply of capacity, and therefore thin margins. Why cram more bodies on board when you can make more money per cubic meter off underfloor cargo? A stretch however gives room for both. What's more any aerodynamic changes that are applied to the -800 fuselage will see a commensurate rise in range and that opens up new city pairings. Additionally Airbus has yet to activate the capacity of the A-380's centre wing box area tank capacity. If all these measures are put in place we could see an A-380-800 NEO with more than 10% efficiency gains, and that means a take-off weight around or in excess of 600 tonnes, already the highest IGW versions coming off the line have reached 575 tonnes. It could reach in to the 18-20% range, and that makes holy grail routes like SYD-LHR non stop possible.

As for the relative happiness of its operators, those that are sane (not my employer) are happy enough with them so long as the loads are good (Does that not apply to all airliners?). Regardless of the fact that it has 4 engines instead of 2, when fully loaded an A-380 is a money maker. I don't believe that individual airframes will have the longevity of say the 747 but so what? We live in a design obsolescence society where machines have a set life. The upside of such a philosophy is that better machines can come along quicker, and that can only be a good thing.


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