The A380 has been making news over the past few months, but not in a positive manner.
Rumors have been swirling around Toulouse that the A380 program is on life support, and only being kept alive by a faint chance that a single airline can save it from the scrap pile. To rekindle said rumors, Airbus once again stated on Monday (January 15) that the A380 program is at risk unless substantial orders come in. Airbus’ Chief Operating Officer, John Leahy, spelled it out very succinctly: “If we cannot work out a deal with Emirates, I think there is no choice but to shut down the program”.
Emirates and their decision whether or not to order additional A380s will either allow the program to limp along for a few more years or begin it’s immediate descent into obscurity. Expectations had been for Emirates to place a substantial order in 2017, but that never happened, thus the A380 program is now in perilous peril (for you Holy Grail fans out there). Either way, the A380 program seems doomed, whether now or in a few years.
Emirates had the chance to step up during air shows in 2017 when large orders are typically announced. It’s good publicity for both Emriates and Airbus to make such splashy announcements. However with no A380 announcements at any airshows, it doesn’t take a genius to read between the lines that either 1) Emirates is tired of the A380 and is looking towards a 2-engine replacement in the 777x, or 2) Emirates is squeezing Airbus into some ridiculously attractive discounts since Emirates is the one that has all leverage at this point.
Either is plausible, but I think option 1 might be what is playing out here.
If memory serves, Airbus had predicted a healthy market for over 1,100 A380s to fill the sky but since the types inception in 2005 only a few over 200 have ever been delivered. 95 are still in queue for being built, with most of those going to Emirates and a few to leasing agent Amedeo. Not good when the existence of the entire A380 line hinges on one carrier.
In a shocker of an announcement this evening, Airbus and Bombardier announced that Bombardier’s C-Series will be built in Airbus’ Alabama facility.
In a partnership dubbed ‘C-Series Aircraft Limited Partnership’, a second final assembly line for the C-Series operated by Airbus will compliment the existing production taking place in Quebec. Airbus will also market the aircraft on behalf of Bombardier.
In their comments, Airbus stated that it is a perfect combination of their global reach and Bombardier’s cutting edge technology for short and medium haul aircraft. Airbus will have a 50.1% stake in the operation, with Bombardier’s share being approximately 31 percent and Investissement Quebec getting the other 19%.
This comes at an interesting time for Bombardier whose US-based customers (primarily Delta) were facing stiff 300% tariffs for any Bombardier aircraft that they would purchase as a result of a Boeing complaint filed with Washington DC claiming unfair subsidies for Bombardier from the Canadian government.
With this announcement, it appears that everyone including President Trump and his position as it relates to NAFTA along with Bombardier and Airbus will be able to claim victory from their respective perspectives.
Bombardier and Airbus both denied that politics had anything to do with this, but I find that hard to believe especially when you consider the timing of this announcement and how quickly the partnership was assembled.
Lufthansa is set to take delivery of their second A350 this Friday, February 24.
D-AIXB is set to arrive in Munich at 11:00a at which point it will be turned over to Lufthansa Technik who will install the Premium Economy cabin as well as take care of a few minor LH customizations.
D-AIXA takes to the skies from Munich
Once that work is complete, the aircraft will be available for more crew certification flights over the next 3 weeks before entering revenue service. According to LH’s schedule, that means that D-AIXB will fly to Boston on March 14.
This marks the second of Lufthansa’s initial 10 A350s that will be stationed in Munich. Ultimately 25 A350s will join the fleet and will be stationed between Frankfurt and Munich.
Plane Spotting the A350
Lufthansa Unveils a New Economy Cabin With The A350
Lufthansa announces A350 Launch Date To Boston
Earlier today, amid poor conditions at Munich, Lufthansa’s first A350 (D-AIXA) finally touched down at her new home base to begin what should be a long and successful career.
As I mentioned in earlier posts, D-AIXA will begin a concentrated schedule starting tomorrow that will take her around Germany to allow pilots to gain certification to fly the A350. After this 7-10 day marathon, LH Technik will complete the installation of parts of the interior and other items before being released into service. The first event is scheduled for February 2 where the A350 will enjoy a ‘Roll In’ reception in Munich that I’ll be attending. Then on February 9, D-AIXA will fly a special roundtrip between Munich and Hamburg and then on February 10 she’ll begin regularly scheduled service between Munich and Delhi.
Lufthansa captured nearly every minute today of the A350 as it flew from Toulouse to Munich. Below you’ll find a series of photos and videos that LH had posted throughout the day celebrating the new milestone for the airline. All photos and videos are courtesy of Lufthansa.
This morning in Toulouse, ahead of the delivery flight:
Video showing Take Off on the A350’s Inflight Entertainment System:
Cruising towards Munich:
Video showing arrival in Munich through the eyes of the Aircraft’s cameras:
Ground perspective of the A350’s arrival in Munich:
Cockpit Video showing the A350 taxiing in Munich:
Welcome committee at Munich:
One last shot before being taken to the hangar for the evening….
In a short while now, Lufthansa’s first A350 will take off from the runway at Airbus’ complex in Toulouse and head for Munich where she is due to arrive at approximately about 2 hours later. This delivery flight will mark the long awaited beginning of the A350 fleet that will initially be based in Munich.
The ‘keys’ to the plane were officially handed over to Lufthansa on Monday after completing the paperwork that transferred ownership of the airplane from Airbus to Lufthansa.
Lufthansa is currently live streaming the event, and you can watch it here while it is taking place (If there is no feed, that means that they have stopped broadcasting). You can also check their Facebook Portal for additional video as they make it available.
German Avgeeks In For a Treat!
For those of you living near major airports around Germany, you’ll have a chance to see the airplane in person as she will do a wide series of take offs and landings at airports around the country. This is done in order to give cockpit crew ample time to gain certification for flying the aircraft. You can find that the initial training flight schedule here.
D-AIXA going through test flights in Toulouse. Photo courtesy of Airbus.
After delivery, LH Technik will take time to install the aircraft’s cabin interior in Munich ahead of it’s debut on the route between Munich and Delhi on February 10.
Before entering ‘revenue service’, LH will show off ‘D-AIXA’ at an invitation only ‘Roll In’ event in Munich that I will be attending on February 2. From there, Lufthansa will have the A350 fly a special pair of flights from Munich to Hamburg and back on February 9 right before it departs for Delhi on the 10th.