I think we can now unofficially declare the A380 dead. UPS announced today that they have canceled their order for 10 freighter versions of the A380.
Since Fedex already canceled their order and Emirates converted their orders into ones for the passenger version, that leaves no takers for the A380 Freighter anymore. I would imagine Airbus will just walk away from this so they can concentrate on the passenger version, but then again it wouldn’t surprise me to see them keep chugging along with the program to save face. (I hope not.)
IF (and that’s a big capitalized IF) Airbus can get it together with the A380 then I think UPS and FedEx might come back for them later. The aircraft can out-haul anything Boeing can offer and Boeing is not planning on addressing that issue as of right now. But it remains a niche market, neither FedEx or UPS need that many of them, neither does any one else. Of course I don’t think the A380 will ever be anything but a bit player in a niche market. I’ve said it before, the A380 will be this era’s Concorde.
One other thing, Airbus has confirmed that they have pulled all resources off the A380 freighter to concentrate on the A380 pax. UPS cited this as one of the reason they are going to pull the plug on their order.
There was one other A380-800F order, from ILFC, that was converted to passenger aircraft sometime ago.
The prospects for anyone ever ordering the freigher are zero. It was attractive to UPS and Fedex only because of its ability to serve certain ultra long haul, very time sensitive markets because it was the only aircraft that could do this. Once the 777-200LRF was announced, and the A380 delayed, the A380-800F wasn’t the only game in town, and in the particular markets UPS and FEDEX were interested in, the 200LRF has much lower operating costs.
Remember that the package freight guys like UPS, DHL and FEDEX get a large mutliple of the per Kilogram bulk cargo rate. That was the only way the A380F made any sense. You’ll note that none of the heavy duty freight players like NCA, Korean, Atlas, Luxair or Luftansa Cargo ever placed orders for the A380F. If you are a traditional bulk cargo hauler, there is no way to make money with the A380.
Does anyone have a rating system for freight companies. It’s a hard one and depends AV lot on price. Eg we find FedEx extraordinarily good but expensive and TNT extraordinarily bad but cheap. Somewhere in the middle is what we want. Ideas?