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.
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
Austrian provided an update today as it relates to the introduction of Wifi aboard their Airbus fleet.
As part of a broader roll out, Austrian now has outfitted 10 narrow-body Airbus aircraft with Wifi capability and has ‘turned on’ the ability in 4 of these aircraft for a trial period with passengers. During the trial period, passengers will be able to access the service for no charge.
As the service becomes available on the remaining 6 aircraft, Austrian will introduce a 3-tiered cost structure based on the kind of service that the passenger selects:
FlyNet Messaging will enable passengers to access their e-mail, chat services such as WhatsApp, iMessage, and others. FlyNet messaging will cost €3 per flight.
FlyNet Surf will include FlyNet Messaging as well as the ability to surf the internet via the passenger’s smart device or laptop. FlyNet Surf will cost €7 per flight.
FlyNet Stream will include ‘Messaging’ and ‘Surf’ as well as the ability to video to their device. FlyNet Stream will cost €12 per flight.
Austrian has made it its policy to prevent these services from allowing voice-calls to be made while using FlyNet. A very good idea if you ask me.
Austrian expects the trial period to end in the in next few weeks for the 4 aircraft currently being used to test the connectivity. Once that trial is complete, Austrian will ‘turn on’ the FlyNet service aboard the other 6 Airbus aircraft later this quarter.
I suspect that further announcements will be made relatively soon regarding the expansion of the service to the rest of the ‘OS’ fleet.