3 Links I Love: A380 for Risk Takers, Fixing LAX Gridlock, Birds at Garbage in Lebanon

A380, LAX - Los Angeles, Links I Love

This week’s featured link:
A380, from flagship to LCC mass transportLeeham News and Comment
Here’s an interview with the head of leasing firm Amedeo that specializes in, gulp, A380s. Even though none of the 20 A380s it has ordered have found a home yet, this guy seems optimistic. In short, airlines have used the A380 wrong and only now are figuring it out. Of course, his examples of ANA and Malaysia aren’t very good ones. It’s believe that ANA picked up 3 A380s as part of an agreement with Airbus when it took over Skymark, not because it wanted the airplanes. And Malaysia just can’t find a way to get rid of them so it has had to become very creative. Methinks he’s a little too optimistic here, though you might expect that from someone with 20 A380s to place.

Two for the road:
Traffic-Improvement Program at LAX Begins TodayLos Angeles World Airports
You know traffic is gridlocked at LAX when the airport actually feels compelled to act. It used to be that courtesy shuttles would circle both on the upper departures and lower arrivals levels. But with traffic at a stand-still, that’s not happening anymore. Now, hotel shuttles will only go on the lower level while airport parking shuttles will only go on the upper level. Has anyone been through the airport since the switch? There’s no doubt courtesy shuttles gum up the roadways, but I’ll be curious to see if there’s actually been a noticeable impact from this change.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Therein lies the problem at Lebanon’s international airportLos Angeles Times
And you thought your airport had problems. Brilliant move in Beirut when they put an open garbage pit near the airport. You know where this is going… birds.

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13 comments on “3 Links I Love: A380 for Risk Takers, Fixing LAX Gridlock, Birds at Garbage in Lebanon

  1. “We no longer focus on the conservative, we focus on those that are used to take risks, the LCCs.”

    Read: “Hopefully we find someone who doesn’t know any better or doesn’t care.”

    People lose sight of this given the global industry’s relative health, but it’s still incredibly easy to lose money in aviation. Most dead airlines busted because they could have stood to be more conservative with their capital spending, not less. It’s illustrative that the current long haul LCC model centers around either the 787 or medium range widebodies with low ownership costs like the 330 and 767.

    I do feel kind of bad for the A380. It’s an impressive plane and assuming the underlying trends hold in traffic growth and congestion, it could have a viable niche in the next few decades. But being ahead of one’s time is kind of like a tactful way of saying that they’re wrong right now.

  2. The A380 will never have the success the 747 has had, and I can’t see it ever being used as successfully as the 747.

  3. What will it take to make the A380 interesting for long haul cargo between cargo hubs? Any idea if the numbers will ever make sense for someone to run all-cargo A380s through, say, ANC or Hong Kong?

    1. Kilroy – The A380 just wasn’t built as a good freight carrier. I believe it has a lot of extra dead weight that just makes it unattractive to hauling. That’s why both FedEx and UPS walked away from the freighter version and it was canceled outright. (We have another sometimes-commenter who knows the deal very well, so maybe he’ll see this and chime in.)

      1. Yikes, good to know. That will put a lot of pressure on the lease/resale market for the plane, with no cargo conversion option to fall back on.

        Hope there are enough people traveling to Mecca for the Hajj to soak up some extra planes.

  4. Also… When will Beirut start offering bird-hunting expeditions at their local landfill? Might as well kill two birds with one shot (pun intentional), and given tourists the opportunity to help out with the bird problem at the local dump. If there really are some sensitive species being killed in the name of aviation safety, I’m sure that would just make the Beirut bird hunts appeal even more to the big trophy hunters, who probably can’t (legally) take some of the species elsewhere.

    I’m actually pretty serious with this question/idea. Make this a tourism thing and get some additional revenue off of it.

  5. All one has to do is read the Wikipedia page about the A380 to learn that Airbus built that plane on ego alone. Emirates is successful because of a bar? Please, that was tried back in the 1970’s with the first widebody aircraft. Packing 700+ seats on one for cheap seats…again, been done (with less seats) on widebody aircraft for years. Nope, economics are economics are the A380 will likely go down as a white elephant. My only argument would be is the 777 is really what sealed its fate, not the 787 or the A330.

    1. I think you’re exactly right. The Y heavy jumbo has real limitations as those airlines that did it with the 747 before have learned. In order for an A380 to work as a “Holiday Jet” there has to be consistent strong demand for 700 plus passengers at least 4 days a week year-round, a single time slot that makes natural sense and it needs to be unlikely that another airline can come in with a smaller jet and economically take business. For example, LA to HNL would seem to make sense as an A380 route given the demand and its leisure nature. While the departure/arrival time demands aren’t as rigid as most business routes, passengers from LA often want to leave at different times of the day…with as many passengers wanting to leave first thing as those who want an after-work flight and then those who want mid-day flights to arrive in Hawaii around supper time. If UA or HA used this jet, they would each be able to run just two flights to match current demand. While they would have, in theory, a great CASM advantage, AS, DL, AA could all run a few flights around them and turn the flight into a loss-making turd pretty easily–and you can take it to the bank that DL and AA would love nothing more than help their competitor lose money on a route that should be a profit center.

      the only routes that I can think of that might be contenders are the French Overseas destinations, PAP, FDF and RUN. Lots of demand from PAR, only really makes sense as an overnight return back to ORY, and competition is limited to a few French airlines. And wouldn’t you know it that AF has a dozen A380s that aren’t super useful in their current network. Maybe they are the candidates for this. Otherwise I just don’t see it.

  6. If there’s really any market for a high-density A380, you’d think that there would be some market now for high-density 777s. Does anybody use single-class 777s? On what routes?

  7. The 747 was a significant success because it essentially cut the ASM cost in half for long haul operations. That made a pretty compelling case for the aircraft. If you are lucky, the A380 has an ASM that is 15% lower than the 747, but is probably higher than the ASM cost for a typical 777-300ER. That is the long and the short of the A380 problem. So the A380 is now utilized mostly in situations where the carrier needs more passenger capacity, but cannot get the additional slots( or faces limits on services for other reasons) at the airport. Most A380 routes other than those operated by EK have a seriously slot contained airport at one end or the other of the mission.

  8. As someone whose home airport is a long way from much of the rest of the world, we love the EK A380s in Auckland. We are the only airport on the Emirates flight network, apart from Dubai, where there are four EK A380s on the ground at the same time on a daily basis – EK406/407; EK 418/419; EK434/435; EK448/449. I would have thought that for some of the severely slot-restricted airports, an A380 at higher density makes sense, as it does for Hajj flights. The A380s are so much more comfortable than other aircraft for long-haul flights from New Zealand, especially when airlines such as Air NZ have crammed in 9 across on their 789s and 10 across on their 77Ws.

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