The A380 is a "game-changing" aircraft in both good and challenging times
The A380 is attracting increased route load factors and higher market share in today’s challenging economic conditions, and will position its airline operators to accommodate future traffic growth and develop major routes as the worldwide economy recovers.
This was the message of John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer – Customers, at the 2009 Dubai Airshow, where he provided an A380 outlook as the 21st century flagship expands its presence with international customers.
The 19 A380s in airline service today have carried some three million passengers and performed more than 8,600 revenue flights – accumulating over 82,000 revenue flight hours. Current operators are Dubai-based Emirates, Qantas in Australia and Singapore Airlines.
“These airlines are seeing that the A380 is a ‘game-changing’ aircraft as it boosts both direct and connecting traffic, increases market share and improves load factors,” he explained. “In addition, it is pulling premium traffic from flights operated with competing aircraft, which is valuable anytime, and is particularly important in today’s down market.”
Looking to the future, Leahy sees the A380 playing a key role in providing the additional capacity required as global traffic volume continues to increase.
“Every 15 years since the dawn of the jet age, the number of revenue passenger kilometres has doubled. We are hitting limits on capacity, and larger aircraft must be available,” he said. “The airline industry will need larger and more efficient aircraft. The A380 is the answer: moving more people more comfortably, burning less fuel, and creating less noise and emissions.”
Emirates’ home base of Dubai is expected to be ranked fourth in terms of operations for very large aircraft in the A380 category by 2028. This airline is flying five of its 58 A380s currently on order, and is demonstrating quick-turnaround ground processing during revenue flights.
“The turnarounds with Emirates – including the gate arrival, passenger loading and unloading, cabin cleaning, catering, aircraft refuelling and pushback – is being done in less time than a 747, which carries 100-150 fewer passengers than an A380,” Leahy said. “This is because the A380 is designed for the 21st century, with an emphasis on quick and efficient ground handling.”