It seems like the A380 might be a fail. After all, only about 2 US airports can handle it and its so big that pilots need special training to fly it. Its just not economical.

It’s too early to tell if it’s a failure so at least one other choice should have been given: Too early to tell.

If an airport’s gate can handle a 747-400 then it can handle the A380. It may not be as efficient if only one or two jetways are available but it can be done.

Airports in the USA that have either completed or will soon complete A380 specific construction include EWR, LAX, SFO, ORD, MIA, IAH, and DFW. Because UPS and FedEx ordered the A380F, I’m pretty sure that SDF and MEM are A380 ready. (Both airlines have canceled their orders and Airbus has canceled the A380F program.)

ATL has said they will not do any A380 specific construction. However, they will still be able to accommodate the aircraft, although not as efficiently.

The A380 is designed for long distance flights that have heavy traffic such as the Far East to both Europe and the USA (especially the west coast).

The 747 started out slowly and had lots of problems but look at it now. It’s been in production for about 40 years.

I have to agree with this. LAS can also accommodate the A380, but isn’t doing anything specifically about it.

Another thing to consider is that the OP is only taking into account operations to/from the US. It’s a rather poor judgment call on that when you take into account the service being done on the Kangaroo route to the UK from Oceania or the Middle East.

I think that if those who bought the plane have a good idea of how it will generate revenue for their airline, it definitely doesn’t fall under any failure category.


The fact that the A380 is being used at Airports that do not feature in Airbus’ top 20 expected airports must be a sign that there is a decent market out there for the plane.

For example Emirates started using the A380 daily to Manchester Airport in the UK from 1 September 2010 and has been getting very high load factors. This could soon become twice daily as a result.

The A380 may have started off slow, but then so did the 747. Everyone said the same thing about the 747 when that was launched and 40 years later is considered a success. The A380 is playing the long game. It may take a while for sales to mount up but they will.

From 2015 Airbus expects to break even on every new A380 through the door, which means the losses they accrued up until that point will be stemmed. Airbus have already sped up production and are getting to grips with the complicated, customised interiors that airlines have ordered.

It may be looking like a failure now, but once the recession is truly behind us and airlines begin growing in earnest again we’ll definitely see a difference.

But a familiar and predictable attitude on this site. :unamused:

Some people simply need to get out more.

Wasn’t there a news report this summer about Airbus being in trouble with the A380 financially. If I recall correctly, they had to choose whether to shut down production, or continue and eat the costs. In the end it was cheaper to keep making them for some reason.

With the cancellation of the A380F, I think Airbus is in trouble with the design, as almost half of the pre-orders were for freighters. In the passenger segment, most routes have been downsizing from 747 to 767-777 because of empty seats. I think the A380 has a very limited niche, and in the long run may not pan out.

The A380F hasn’t been cancelled only postponed. The A380F will eventually come to market. Airbus wanted to concentrate on the -800 model and resolve the issues they had before taking on any more commitment. The wings for the -800 are already sized for the A380F so there won’t be much work to be done to bring the freighter into service.

There are only empty seats at the moment because we’re still feeling the effects of the recession. Once we’re past it properly things will inevitably pick up. Airports and airlines are already seeing a boost to passenger numbers.

Earth’s population and as a consequence the number of people wanting to fly is increasing all the time. Slot restricted airports like Heathrow will demand aircraft like the A380 to increase capacity without increasing the number of slots. BAA owner and operator of Heathrow predicts that eventually 10% of all movements will be by A380 aircraft.

To my knowledge, Airbus has never considered scrapping the A380 programme. They have already said that from 2015 they’ll be breaking even on each new aircraft through the door so it won’t be long before they’re turning a profit, which will reduce the accrued losses up to that point.

Airbus is very confident that the A380 programme will be a success - it’ll just take time.

I believe the statement was they would break even or turn a profit on each new frame from 2015, not for the program as a whole. For the entire program to break even they need to deliver 500+ by ~2025 (which appears unlikely).

Deliveries remain incredibly slow, at 1, 12, 10, and 14 per year vs a ramp up plan (after all the delays) of ?, 13, 25, 45 per year (I’m not sure what the 2007 delivery plan was supposed to be after all delays).

A380F only sold 27 frames before the orders were all canceled or converted and A380F never amounted to more than 30% of the order book.

WHo ordered them besides UPS (10) and FedEx (10). Was Emirites the one with the other 7 or were they divided up among a few airlines?

The first announced order was Emirates for 5 pax and 2 freighter, giving the freighter 30% of the orderbook. It was downhill from there.

The OP has posted many questions like this – provocative, based on shallow understanding, I hope aiming to learn from the responses – and probably a youngster. If the OP is under 17, as I think, all of that would be understandable and forgivable, plus it’d be hard for him/her to “get out more”. In general, though, you’re right – most of us should get out more.

That’s what I said. From 2015 Airbus expects to break even on every new A380 out the door. From that point onwards they’ll not be making a loss so any profit they can make will then go towards paying off the loses they accrued up to 2015.

I’d prefer to get in more, but enough about me.

Well, almost. For my money, the A380’s not a “fail” until one hits the ground at the conclusion of an unplanned, uncontrolled manoeuvre.

Would you describe Concorde as a failure?
Had the US airlines supported it at the time I feel transatlantic travel would be a very different animal today.
Oh! I see no US Majors orders for the A380!

Mark Davies

Yes and no.
The Concorde was a failure economically. It was a success when it came to prestige. Had fuel prices not risen so much then we would still be seeing it flying.

Several American carriers did place options on the Concorde. One even purchased the aircraft.

The only change was in the registrations and ownership of the aircraft. When in the US the “G” or “F” was covered up with white tape when the aircraft was *Sold *to Braniff, so a Concorde registered as G-N81AC would become N81AC when flown in US. Because the FAA would not allow the non-US aircraft a US certificate of airworthiness, the aircraft ownership was transferred to Braniff Airways for the Washington-Dallas segment of the route. As well as changing flight crews the US approved documentation and procedures had to be present on the flight deck, with the UK/French documentation being stored in the forward toilet!


Boeing designed and got to mock-up stage on the American SST - the 2707. It was much bigger aircraft (about 250-300 seats). Had Boeing not relied on the federal government for money but risked the store on making the 2707 like it did with the 707 then we would probably be seeing supersonic airline flights today.

Did you know the reason why the 747 has the bulge in front? It’s because when it was made it was meant only to be a stop-gap aircraft between the narrow body jets of the period and the supersonic jets. The idea was that once airlines started taking deliveries of the SST the 747’s would be converted to freighters. Didn’t quite work out that way.

2 American carriers - UPS and FedEx - ordered the A380F but the orders were canceled.

The 747 design simply evolved from the CX-HLS (C-5) contender design, which was won by Lockheed:

It was originally designed as a freighter, and the bulge was so the nose could open and lift up to allow loading in the front. When Boeing lost the bid, they converted the design to an airliner.

Although the technology developed for the C-5A was used in the 747, the 747 is not a redesign of Boeing’s C-5A bid.

Originally, the 747 was to have 2 full length decks. Concerns over passenger evacuation and limited freight carrying capability resulted in a single deck aircraft with the cockpit moved to a shortened upper deck. This would allow for a freight door to be placed in the nose.

It was widely believed that the 747 would be superseded by supersonic aircraft so Boeing designed the 747 so that it could easily be adapted to carry containerized freight and the aircraft could remain in production if there was a downturn in a passenger version.

Juan Trippe, Pan American’s president, was the catalyst behind the 747. In the mid 1960’s he told Boeing that he wanted an aircraft that could carry at least twice as many passengers as the 707 or DC-8.

That’s not correct.

Concorde was not an economic failure, it made money once ticket prices were raised to match what the market (the people actually flying on the plane) though the trip was worth.

What killed Concorde were the crash outside Paris, and the 9/11 attacks when the flights were set to resume after modifications that been made to help reduce the chance of a repeat of the fuel tank puncture.

Were the ticket prices raised high enough to cover the government subsidies?